ARMM06-Colonisation and Cultural Transformation: The Archaeology of Crusading

Module Provider: Archaeology
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Aleks Pluskowski


Summary module description:
This module reviews the archaeological approaches to the crusading movement and the related processes of colonisation, religious conversion and inter-cultural exchange at the fringes of medieval Christian Europe – covering the years AD1095-1492. It is taught in seminars and is examined through an assessed essay and seminar performance..

This module aims to provide students with an in-depth understanding of the contribution of archaeology towards understanding the impact of the crusading movement on societies in the Middle East, Baltic and Iberia. Emphasis is placed on issues of colonisation, cultural transformation and multi-cultural interaction, as well as on the relationship between archaeological, written and artistic sources.

Assessable learning outcomes:
Students will have a systematic understanding of the different types of evidence (archaeological, historical and art-historical) available for the period, and be able to assess and evaluate one against the other. They will be able to use primary data for the critical evaluation of interpretations, and for the comparison and assessment of the various positions in current scholarly debates. They will also be able to extend via independent self-study their understanding of, and originality of approach to, the issues discussed in class, and to identify topics suitable for essays and dissertations.

Assessable outcomes:
- By the end of the module it is expected that the student will be able:
- to provide a critical assessment of the main issues and events
- to critically evaluate the character and quality of archaeological data associated with the crusades in the Holy Land, Baltic and Iberia
- to locate, extract and assemble data and information with minimal guidance
- to develop independent interpretations of material through self-directed research
- to provide a critical reading of course material, and to debate their conclusions in class discussions
- to synthesise wide-ranging material and articulate an argument effectively, in an assessed essay, and orally in seminar presentations.

Additional outcomes:
This module promotes an awareness of inter-disciplinarity in medieval studies. Seminar presentations, critical reviews and the development of an individual essay topic encourage independent learning, as well as communication skills, personal responsibility, and teamwork in discussion groups.

Outline content:
The crusading movement, which took off at the end of the eleventh century with the conquest of Jerusalem and the establishment of a Christian kingdom in the Middle East, came to dominate European society throughout the Middle Ages. This module will evaluate the archaeological traces of how crusading institutions and colonising groups transplanted their society into the areas they occupied, and how this related to crusading ideals. Three major regions will be compared: the Middle East where crusader states were established from AD 1099-1291; the eastern Baltic where the Teutonic Order carved out its own independent state over the course of the thirteenth century in Prussia and Livonia, accompanied by aggressive military campaigns, mass colonisation and religious conversion, which lasted into the fifteenth century, and Iberia, where the Reconquista – or ‘reconquest’ of lands under Muslim control concluded with the fall of Granada and the unification of Spain in 1492.

Within this comparative survey, various aspects of the archaeology of the crusading movement will be explored, such as the structures and material culture of the military orders – the Templars, Hospitallers and Teutonic Knights (both at the frontiers of Europe and within the Christian homelands) – the problems associated with identifying religious affiliation and conversion in the archaeological record and the diverse traces of inter-cultural interaction ranging from artefacts to architecture.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The module will be taught through seminars at which students will be expected to contribute by presenting the results of set reading. Lectures will be used to introduce complex topics and individual tutorials provided to discuss essays. Mid-way through the course there will be a fieldtrip to sites of the military orders in London (Clerkenwell and the Temple) as well as a session in the British Museum focusing on Byzantine, Islamic and crusader-period artefacts. Opportunities to attend excavations on crusading sites will also be presented.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10
Seminars 10
External visits 10
Guided independent study 180
Total hours by term 210.00
Total hours for module 210.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 90
Oral assessment and presentation 10

Other information on summative assessment:

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:

Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information:

Length of examination:

Requirements for a pass:
The requirements for a pass is 50%.

Reassessment arrangements:
Resubmission of coursework by end of 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: 21 December 2016

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