AR2M8-Medieval Europe: power, religion and death

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: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Dr Gabor Thomas


Type of module:

Summary module description:

This single-term module gives students an overview of how archaeology has changed our understanding of European society over the course of the ‘Long Middle Ages’ (5th-16th centuries AD). It comprises 10 weekly sessions involving a combination of teacher-led content with student-led discussions, is assessed by an essay and site interpretation panel and has a field trip to Winchester - one of the richest medieval urban landscapes in southern England.  It will also include a formative assessment in the form of group poster presentations designed to support students in developing essay topics.  


This module aims to provide students with an informed understanding of the contribution that archaeological evidence, approaches and interpretation have made to an understanding of Europe over the ‘Long Middle Ages’, c. AD 500-1600. In addition to familiarising students with key transformations and developments embraced by this period, it will also encourage students to make thematic comparisons between different geographical, cultural and temporal contexts in Europe. 

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 ‘Long Middle Ages’ * to 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 early and later medieval archaeologists * identify and compare developments across Europe * organise their material and construct an effective arguments in writing, both in coursework essays and in an interpretation panel designed to convey complex archaeological information to a public audience.

Additional outcomes:

This module will enhance the oral communication skills of students through class discussions and group-work, as well as their ability to construct coherent arguments using multiple sources of evidence as a requirement of the assessed essay.  It will also enhance student’s team-working skills through their participation in class discussions and student-led contributions to the field visit to Winchester. The illustrated lectures and the field trip 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 archaeology of the early and later medieval periods. It focuses on key themes that shaped the ‘long Middle Ages’, defined chronologically as the 5th-16th centuries AD. The topics covered by the course for early medieval archaeology include migration, social identities, settlement transformations, commerce and resources and religious transformations. For the later medieval archaeology part the topics will include conquest and migration, lordship, religious heterogeneity and the life course, from birth to death. The distinctive contribution of archaeological evidence will be stressed, as well as the role of history and art history.

Global context:

This module explores the archaeology of the ‘Long Middle Ages’, focusing on major themes connecting the early and later medieval periods and drawing on examples from across Britain and Continental Europe.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Autumn term: ten illustrated lectures; ten student-led special topics and an all-day fieldtrip to Winchester.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10
Practicals classes and workshops 10
External visits 8
Guided independent study: 172
Total hours by term 200
Total hours for module 200

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

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Students will write one essay of c.2000 words selected from a list of topics, worth 50% and produce a site interpretation panel, worth 50%. These must be submitted in the Autumn Term on dates set by the Department.

Formative assessment methods:

Students will produce and present a poster as a group based on a topic linked to their chosen essay, with the aim of articulating the key issues.

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:

    Students who are eligible for re-assessment will have the right to re-assessment in coursework.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 15 May 2019


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