AR2M7-Europe transformed: people and power, AD1000-1600

Module Provider: Archaeology
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Aleks Pluskowski


Type of module:

Summary module description:

This single-term module gives students an overview of how archaeology has changed our understanding of European society in the formative period of the Later Middle Ages (AD1000-1600). It is taught in lectures with subsidiary seminars, is assessed by an essay and set exercise and includes a fieldtrip to London. 


This module aims to provide students with a detailed understanding of key aspects of the archaeological evidence for different regions of Europe, questioning whether it is possible to speak of a single medieval European society, sharing a culture largely defined by Christianity. This will be ultimately achievable through broad comparisons of societies in different regions of Europe. The module will also provide students with an awareness of themes and issues current across medieval European archaeology.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module it is expected that the student will be able to:

- identify and discuss the main issues and events of the period

- demonstrate an understanding of how archaeology engages with other disciplines to reconstruct the Middle Ages, and an awareness of the diversity of sources used by medieval archaeologists

- identify and compare developments across Europe

- organise their material and construct an effective argument in writing, both in coursework essays and examination answers. 


Additional outcomes:

This module also aims to develop oral communication skills, team-working and problem-solving in group seminars, and students will also have the opportunity for self-study. 

Outline content:

The disintegration of the Roman Empire resulted in the formation of new societies across Europe, which ultimately came to share a culture defined by the widespread acceptance of Latin Christianity. However, this broadly shared world-view masks the diversity which developed across European societies from the eleventh to sixteenth centuries, a result of the complex interaction between varied cultural and environmental contexts, and evident in the medieval archaeology of different regions of Europe. The most significant differences can be found between ‘Western’ / Northern and ‘Eastern’ / Southern Europe, where medieval archaeology has also developed along different trajectories. The module will not provide comprehensive coverage of Europe, but instead explore a range of themes focusing on regional similarities and contrasts. These will include natural resources, rural settlements, towns and trade, the aristocracy, churches, monasteries, funerary culture and approaches to burial. It will also consider ethnic and religious diversity within and at the fringes of Europe, particularly the material traces of medieval Jewish, Muslim and Eastern Christian groups. A fieldtrip to London will consider the morphology of the medieval city, its elite, religious and commercial centres and material culture associated with the eleventh to sixteenth centuries.


Global context:

This module explores the key concepts of later medieval archaeology across Europe, but will touch on cultural engagements beyond, with North Africa, the Middle East, Western Atlantic and Eurasia.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Lectures, two seminars to discuss particular topics/issues (both of which will be based on guided self-study) and a fieldtrip to London. You will receive feedback for your seminar contribution and your essay.  You will also be expected to devote a further 174 hours in guided study, for example 30 hours reading and note taking from key texts each week; 30 hours in reading and writing your essay; 14 hours in preparing your set exercise; 100 hours in background and reinforcement reading for lectures (e.g. 10 hours per topic, including the related historical background).

Introductory Reading

Carver, M. and Klapste, J. (eds) 2011. The Archaeology of Medieval Europe, Vol 2; Twelfth to Sixteenth Centuries AD.

Austin, D. and Alcock, L. (eds) 1990. From the Baltic to the Black Sea: Studies in Medieval Archaeology. 


Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 16
Seminars 4
External visits 6
Guided independent study 174
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 60
Set exercise 40

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Students will write one essay of c. 2000 words and a set exercise involving the preparation of a poster aimed at the public and comprising c. 1000 words and selected images. The coursework must be submitted in the Autumn Term on a date set by the Department.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (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.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:
    An overall mark of 40%

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Re-submission of coursework in August

    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: 4 September 2018


    Things to do now