ARMVME-From Village to Metropolis: Understanding the urban phenomenon of Ancient Rome

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 Andrew Souter


Type of module:

Summary module description:
This module will provide intensive study of the archaeology of ancient Rome and her immediate environs including Ostia and Portus. It examines the topography, development and function of the ancient city and analyses selected buildings and monuments in terms of their structural history and architectural characteristics whilst exploring their wider significance within the urban landscape.

To provide a comprehensive understanding of the history, topography and archaeology of ancient Rome whilst exploring the infrastructure, building techniques and visual culture of the city. By the end of this module students will have a thorough understanding of the key phases of Rome’s development and architectural innovations including the evolution of a diverse range of building types, their construction methods and materials.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module students should be able to: • Critically evaluate and understand the complexities of urban development in Rome whilst assessing the impact made during certain political regimes and key historical phases. • understand the topography of the ancient metropolis and its realtionship with its immediate surroundings. • identify the principal monuments, building types, architectural elements and materials used in the ancient city. • critically assess and evaluate the social, economic and religious functions of these urban features, as well as their subsequent uses and influences. • synthesise and evaluate the diverse forms of evidence in the analysis of archaeological and architectural sources relating to Rome. • appraise critically recent discoveries, debates and controversies in Roman archaeology. • Demonstrate the ability to conduct and present independent, constructive interpretations resulting from group discussion and self-directed research.

Additional outcomes:
•Collation and synthesis of diverse sources of information through consultation of the course bibliography.
•Identification of further relevant literature to inform self-directed learning and research.
•Development of presentation skills and constructive discussion in lectures and seminars.
•Promotion of independent, self-directed study skills, focussed on specific themes, and presentation of in-depth, critical and cogent written argument through coursework.

Outline content:
Forming the political, cultural and religious heart of the Roman world, the ancient city of Rome has provided an incredible wealth of iconic monuments and buildings whose legacy is still felt today. Through a combination of 2 hour weekly lectures complemented by intensive seminars, we will follow the chronological development of this fascinating city and her immediate surroundings from the 8th century BC down to and including the 5th century AD, thereby covering the Archaic, Republic and Imperial periods, the emergence of Christianity, and ultimately the fall of the Western Roman Empire. Studying this long chronological period will enable students to appreciate how this initially humble settlement was ultimately transformed into the thriving metropolis that came to dominate and control the Mediterranean world and beyond. Detailed discussion and analysis of key monuments and buildings will provide an informed understanding of the main periods of development within the urban landscape and the levels of architectural sophistication and innovation that were achieved: discussions will also be encouraged to investigate the social and political purpose of these buildings in addition to understanding the variety of cultural influences that contributed to their development and the evolution of the Roman cityscape. Group seminars will involve constructive critiques of set texts, discussion of specific case studies (including further discussion of material and themes covered in the lectures), and assessed student research presentations.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Weekly lectures (held in conjunction with AR3R9) in addition to seminars based on reading assignments, presentations and further group discussion of material covered in lectures.

This is a 20 credit module, which means that it is intended to occupy you for 200 hours of work, including attendance at lectures, seminar preparation, background reading, essay reading and writing. Self-directed study could be organised as follows:
5 hours preparing your assessed presentation
30 hours engaged in reading and note taking from key texts for each week
80 hours background reading for lectures
55 hours engaged in reading, preparation and writing your essay

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Seminars 8
Tutorials 2
Guided independent study: 170
Total hours by term 200
Total hours for module

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 80
Oral assessment and presentation 20

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:
Students will write one essay of 5000 words, deliver one oral presentation, and participate regularly in seminar discussion. The essay, oral presentation and seminar participation count towards their assessment.

Relative percentage of coursework: 100%
Essay 80%; oral presentation 10%; seminar participation 10%.

Formative assessment methods:
Constant feedback is given in Masters' tutorials as the essay topic is developed and ideas explored.

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.

Assessment requirements for a pass:
A mark of 50% overall.

Reassessment arrangements:
Re-submission of coursework in 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: 16 July 2019


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