The Ancient History curriculum enables students to study life in early civilisations based on the analysis and interpretation of physical and written remains. The ancient period, as defined in this curriculum, extends from the development of early human communities to the end of late antiquity AD 650, with a particular focus on the ancient societies of Europe, the Near East and Asia.

Ancient History stimulates students’ curiosity and imagination and enriches their appreciation of humanity and the value of the ancient past. It shows how the world and its people have changed, as well as the significant legacies that exist into the present. The study of ancient civilisations illustrates the development of some of the distinctive features of contemporary societies for example social organisation, systems of law, governance and religion. Ancient History is also concerned with the possible motivations, and actions of individuals and groups, and how they shaped the political, social and cultural landscapes of the ancient world.

The Ancient History curriculum begins with a study of the evidence for ancient sites, events, individuals and groups to develop skills in the analysis of different interpretations and representations. It includes a study of relevant issues related to the authentication, management and ethical treatment of sources of evidence for the ancient world. Students then investigate ancient societies with an in-depth study of specific features that further develops their historical skills. This is followed by a more integrated study of an ancient society focusing on continuity and change in power and authority and the role and impact of a significant individual on their time. The curriculum concludes with a detailed evaluation of the contribution of various sources to an understanding of a significant ancient historical period.

The Ancient History curriculum continues to develop the historical skills and understandings taught in the Foundation to Year 10 History curriculum. Students develop transferable skills associated with the process of historical inquiry. These include critical literacy skills for example interpreting, analysing and weighing evidence; the ability to synthesise evidence from a variety of sources; and developing reasoned and evidence-based arguments that challenge accepted theories. The Ancient History curriculum caters for the interests of students and teachers by providing choice as well as opportunity for breadth and depth of study across the four units.

Students are introduced to the complexities of reconstructing the past using often fragmentary evidence from a range of literary, documentary, architectural and archaeological sources, and the skills associated with the analysis and evaluation of historical sources. Students develop increasingly sophisticated historiographical skills and historical understanding, from their analysis of interpretations and representations of the ancient world to their close study of features and structures of ancient societies.


Ancient History aims to develop students’:

  • knowledge and understanding of the ancient past, including key individuals, institutions, structures and features of ancient societies
  • capacity to undertake historical inquiry, including skills in inquiry and research, interpretation using sources, evidence-based arguments, and communication
  • analytical and critical thinking using key historical concepts including, evidence, continuity and change, cause and effect, significance, empathy, perspectives, interpretations, representations and contestability
  • appreciation of the origins, impact and legacy of ideas, beliefs and values of the ancient world.