Senior Ancient History

Ancient History provides opportunities for students to study people, societies and civilisations of the past, from the development of the earliest human communities to the end of the Middle Ages. Students explore the interaction of societies, the impact of individuals and groups on ancient events and ways of life, and study the development of some features of modern society, such as social organisation, systems of law, governance and religion. Students analyse and interpret archaeological and written evidence. They develop increasingly sophisticated skills and understandings of historical issues and problems by interrogating the surviving evidence of ancient sites, societies, individuals and significant historical periods. They investigate the problematic nature of evidence, pose increasingly complex questions about the past and formulate reasoned responses. Students gain multi-disciplinary skills in analysing textual and visual sources, constructing arguments, challenging assumptions, and thinking both creatively and critically.



A course of study in Ancient History can establish a basis for further education and employment in the fields of archaeology, history, education, psychology, sociology, law, business, economics, politics, journalism, the media, health and social sciences, writing, academia and research. 
​By the conclusion of the course of study, students will:
  • comprehend terms, issues and concepts
  • devise historical questions and conduct research 
  • analyse evidence from historical sources to show understanding
  • Synthesise evidence from historical sources to form a historical argument
  • evaluate evidence from historical sources to make judgments
  • create responses that communicate meaning to suit purpose.


Unit 1
​Unit 2
​Unit 3
​Unit 4
Investigating the ancient world 
  • Digging up the past
  • Ancient societies — Slavery
  • Ancient societies — Art and architecture
  • Ancient societies — Weapons and warfare
  • Ancient societies — Technology and engineering
  • Ancient societies — The family
  • Ancient societies — Beliefs, rituals and funerary practices​
Personalities in their time

  • Hatshepsut
  • Akhenaten
  • Xerxes
  • Perikles
  • Alexander the Great
  • Hannibal Barca
  • Cleopatra
  • Agrippina the Younger
  • Nero
  • Boudica
  • Cao Cao
  • Saladin (An-Nasir Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub)
  • Richard the Lionheart
  • Alternative choice of personality​
Reconstructing the ancient world 
  • Thebes — East and West, 18th Dynasty Egypt
  • The Bronze Age Aegean
  • Assyria from Tiglath Pileser III to the fall of the Empire
  • Fifth Century Athens (BCE)
  • Philip II and Alexander III of Macedon
  • Early Imperial Rome
  • Pompeii and Herculaneum
  • Later Han Dynasty and the Three Kingdoms
  • The ‘Fall’ of the Western Roman Empire
  • The Medieval Crusades ​
People, power and authority

Schools choose one study of power from:

  • Ancient Egypt — New Kingdom Imperialism
  • Ancient Greece — the Persian Wars
  • Ancient Greece — the Peloponnesian War
  • Ancient Rome — the Punic Wars
  • Ancient Rome — Civil War and the breakdown of the Republic

​QCAA will nominate one topic that will be the basis for an external examination from: ​

  • ​Thutmose III
  • Rameses II
  • Themistokles
  • Alkibiades
  • Scipio Africanus
  • Caesar
  • Augustus


Schools devise assessments in Units 1 and 2 to suit their local context. In Units 3 and 4, students complete four summative assessments. The results from each of the assessments are added together to provide a subject score out of 100. Students will also receive an overall subject result (A–E).

Summative assessments​

​Unit 3
​Unit 4
Summative internal assessment 1 (IA1): • Examination — essay in response to historical sources
 Summative internal assessment 3 (IA3): • Investigation — historical essay based on research
Summative internal assessment 2 (IA2): • Investigation — independent source investigation
Summative external assessment (EA): • Examination — short responses to historical sources​