Archaeology of Sicily: Land of Gods and Heroes


Coveted and contested for millennia by both settlers and foreign powers, the island of Sicily is a rich and eclectic treasure trove of cultural heritage.

This exciting course takes us through over 40,000 years of Sicilian culture, unfolding in the fertile volcanic landscape wrought by the omnipotent fury of Mount Etna.

From fascinating glimpses of prehistoric peoples to the awe-inspiring architecture of the Classical and Norman periods, we explore the archaeological allure of this Mediterranean jewel.

Descend into underground cities of the dead, study the ruins of Greek temples and Roman theatres, and marvel at the glittering opulence of historical kings as we explore the archaeology of Sicily – Alexis de Tocqueville’s “land of gods and heroes”.


Leopard mosaci from Palermo

Course Details

Next start date:

Open enrolment – start any time.

Course duration:

Five weeks of guided tuition.

Level of study:

Level 3 Certificate.

Student time commitment:

Recommended 2 to 5 hours per week (flexible).

Learner support:

Learners are fully supported by the tutor throughout the course.



Learning outcomes

Upon completion of the course, participants should be able to:

  • Describe the broad sequence of human occupation and settlement in Sicily;
  • Identify characteristic features of archaeological sites, structures and artefacts from prehistoric and historical periods;
  • Interpret and evaluate archaeological evidence, and discuss what it can tell us about past societies in Sicily and their relationship with the wider region;
  • Discuss a range of themes, concepts and theories in Mediterranean archaeology.

Syllabus overview

In this course we explore the following topics:

Module 1: Prehistoric Sicily: peoples and cultures.

Module 2: The archaeology of Phoenician settlers.

Module 3: The Greeks in Sicily: a civilization and its legacy.

Module 4: Sicilia: a Roman province.

Module 5: Norman splendour in the Kingdom of Sicily.

Tutor profile

Dr. Mark Anderson is Head of the Akkadium School of Anthropology and Archaeology. He is a Teaching Fellow at Imperial College London, and a tutor in archaeology and anthropology at the Oxford University Department for Continuing Education.

Mark is a Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute, a Member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He is the author of Marothodi: The Historical Archaeology of an African Capital.

Mark Anderson

Additional information

Academic prerequisites

This learning opportunity is open to anyone, and no prior knowledge or experience of archaeology or Sicilian history is required. The only prerequisite is a curiosity about Sicily's rich cultural heritage, and a willingness to engage and contribute to course discussions.


Upon successful completion of this course, participants will receive an Akkadium College Level 3 Certificate in Archaeology of Sicily, and an academic transcript with details of completed modules and learner achievements.

Technical requirements

The course is delivered completely online in a virtual learning environment (VLE), so you will need access to an internet-connected computer or mobile device, and basic computing skills. Our team will be on hand to give you both academic and technical support as needed.

Other information

Please note that places on Certificate courses are limited to harness the educational value of small-group learning. However, most courses run multiple times throughout the year. If your preferred course is fully booked, please ask us about the next available opening.