ARMTML-The Medieval Landscape

Module Provider: Archaeology
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded: ARMML The Medieval Landscape
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Prof Grenville Astill


Summary module description:
This module aims to provide students with a critical knowledge of the range of techniques used to study how people shaped and responded to their environment during the Middle Ages

Through close examination of diverse case studies, students will be able to integrate these techniques within a robust theoretical framework, as well as consider the contribution of written sources to understanding past environments.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that the student will be able:
•to appraise the effectiveness of multi- and inter-disciplinary approaches and to demonstrate a critical awareness of the diversity of sources used by archaeologists in the study of the medieval landscape;
•to provide a critical assessment of the main techniques that are used in the study of the medieval landscape;
•to critically evaluate the character and quality of environmental data recovered from varying contexts;
•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 Middle Ages were a time of significant environmental transformation. With the development of European societies following the disintegration of the Roman Empire, the uses of landscapes and natural resources were reconfigured as communities created new ecological niches to meet their practical and ideological requirements. Urbanisation and colonisation, supported by increasingly extensive provisioning was facilitated into the 12th century by a climatic optimum – the Medieval Warm Period. The study of how people responded to and manipulated their local environments during this formative period has dramatically advanced in recent decades. This module will consider historical and archaeological approaches to medieval landscapes (3 sessions), followed by palaeobotanical perspectives on provisioning, vegetation change and climate (1 session); zooarchaeological perspectives on trends in farming, hunting, fishing and the conceptualisation of animals as material culture (1 session); isotopic studies and nutrition (1 session); geoarchaeological studies of resource use (1 session); and two European case studies.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Illustrated introductory and linking lectures, with a series of seminar presentations based on reading assignments, accompanied by individual tutorials to discuss essays. A study visit will examine multiple aspects of human impact on medieval landscapes. You will also be expected to devote a further 80 hours in guided study, for example 15 hours reading and note taking from key texts each week; 20 hours in reading and writing your essay; 45 hours in background and reinforcement reading for seminars.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10
Tutorials 10
Guided independent study 80
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

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

Other information on summative assessment:
One written essay (90%)
One oral presentation (10%)

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:

Length of examination:

Requirements for a pass:
A mark of 50% overall

Reassessment arrangements:
Resubmission of coursework by 1st September, but it cannot carry forward more than a pass mark.

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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