AR1RM2-From Rome to the Reformation: an introduction to historic archaeology

Module Provider: Archaeology
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring / Summer term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Aleks Pluskowski


Summary module description:
This module surveys the impact archaeology has had on our knowledge of the Roman and medieval worlds. It is taught by well-illustrated lectures, seminars and has a field trip.

This module aims to provide students with a basic understanding of how archaeological research has shaped our knowledge of the development of Roman and medieval societies in Europe.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that the student will be able: *to describe an outline chronology for the period, and name key sites and dates *to indicate an understanding of how archaeological methods are used to reconstruct stages in the development of the Roman and medieval worlds *to identify and outline the major issues of debate *to recognise the importance of the relationship between archaeology and related disciplines in reconstructing Roman and medieval societies *to assemble and synthesise archaeological evidence and interpretations in structured writing.

Additional outcomes:
This module aims to enhance the oral communication skills of students, as well as their awareness of problem-solving through written work and in seminars, and their participation in team-working through seminars and field visits. The well-illustrated lectures and the field trips are designed to increase powers of observation and develop a visual memory.

Outline content:
The module is arranged in two parts to give an overview of the Roman and medieval worlds. By pursuing some common and contrasting themes it is also designed to encourage students to compare the development of the two complex societies. The main focus for the first part will be to explain the rise, and explore the character, of the Roman empire. An introductory section will review the quality and range of sources of evidence, examine how the empire has been studied in the past, and how an overtly archaeological approach can contribute to long-standing debates but also throw completely new light on Roman society. Explaining the origins of Rome and the expansion of its empire forms a second part before the infrastructure of the empire is considered - a world of cities supported by an intensively exploited countryside linked by extensive transport and trading systems. A review of the internal crises and the external problems of the Late Roman Empire provides the transition to the medieval world and the 'Dark Ages'. The main features of early medieval societies will be examined and will offer a contrast to Roman society: tribal, 'heroic' societies with non-urban, small-scale economies with different burial customs and ideologies. The emergence of a Christian civilisation is examined and the revival of the 'Holy Roman Empire' under Charlemagne at a time when parts of Europe were facing major threats from Islam, Avars, Magyars and the Vikings. The Vikings' origins, their society, their exploration and colonisation of northern Europe, the New World and the Middle East are examined in more detail. From c. 1000AD a new form of political and social organisation - states and feudalism - develops throughout Europe, and a greater variety of evidence becomes available with which to study the medieval world. The re-emergence of an urban civilisation, sustained by an intensively exploited countryside, will be examined, as will the institution of the medieval church, and religion and belief. The distinctive contribution of archaeological evidence to these issues will be stressed.

Global context:
This module explores historic-period archaeology in an international context. In accordance, many of the case-studies examined on the module are drawn from continental Europe and, in the case of the Roman empire, Northern Africa and the Near East.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Spring Term: Fifteen illustrated lectures; one essay return seminar; two tutorials; one all-day field trip. Summer Term: four one-hour lectures and one revision session.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 17 2
Tutorials 2
Practicals classes and workshops 3
External visits 6
Guided independent study 146 24
Total hours by term 171.00 29.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Written assignment including essay 40
Set exercise 10

Other information on summative assessment:
Students will write one essay of c.2000 words, worth 40%, and complete one brief assignment, worth 10%. These must be submitted in the Spring Term on dates set by the Department.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    A 90 minute exam to be sat in the summer term (50% of the module mark)
    There will be an exam revision and preparation session in Week 2 of the summer term (see timetable for details). Mock exam questions for you to practise on will be made available on Blackboard at around the same time

    Requirements for a pass:
    An overall mark of 40%.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Students who are eligible for re-assessment will have the right to re-assessment in coursework and re-examination; the re-sit examinations are held in August / September.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 31 March 2017

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