Trading Places, Towns, Royal Palaces and Fortifications: Early Medieval Centres in Europe (400-1100AD) (ARC3126)

StaffDr Hajnalka Herold - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level6
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

The aim of the module is to provide an introduction to different kinds of early medieval centres, such as trading sites, towns, fortifications and royal palaces and to develop an appreciation of the structure, roles and meanings of these key sites in their spatial and social context. 

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Know the principal types of early medieval centres and their basic characteristics
  • 2. Know the range of methods available for the study of these sites and their social contexts
  • 3. Appreciate the ways how the study of centres contributes to a better understanding of the early medieval period

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Understand the role of studying archaeological sites in interpreting the past
  • 5. Consider a series of different approaches to archaeological sites in different research traditions
  • 6. Appreciate the reflection of past identities in the archaeological record and understand possibilities and limits of their study

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Develop an ability to interpret a variety of information forms
  • 8. Prepare and give a presentation using appropriate visual aids
  • 9. Ask questions in discussion and respond to questions and comments

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Different types of centres in early medieval Europe
  • Layout of early medieval centres
  • Spatial experience at early medieval centres for inhabitants and visitors
  • Position of early medieval centres in the landscape
  • Inhabitants (number, age, gender, identities)
  • Symbolic meanings of early medieval centres
  • Regional differences/similarities within Europe
  • Early medieval centres and social change
  • Early medieval centres and present-day identities

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching 2211 x 2 hour classes
Guided independent study 128Independent study to include reading and preparation for lectures, seminars, presentations and assessments.

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Individual presentation4010 minutes1-9Mark and oral comment
Essay602000 words1-7Mark and written comment

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
PresentationEssay based on presentation topic1-9Refer/defer period
EssayEssay 1500 words1-7Refer/defer period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment. 

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading: 

  • Astill, Grenville 2009: Chapter 12 – Medieval towns and urbanization, in Gilchrist, Roberta and Reynolds, Andrew (eds), Reflections: 50 years of medieval archaeology, 1957-2007 Leeds: Maney Publishing, 255-270.
  • Crabtree, Pam J. (ed) 2000: Medieval Archaeology: An Encyclopedia, New York: Garland Publishing.
  • Crabtree, Pam J. et al. 2004: Early Middle Ages/Migration Period, in Bogucki, Peter I. and Crabtree, Pam J. (eds) Ancient Europe 8000 BC–1000 AD: An Encyclopedia of The Barbarian World, Volume 2. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 321-598.
  • Hamerow, Helena, Hinton, David A. and Crawford Sally (eds) 2010: The Oxford Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Archaeology, Corby: Oxford University Press. – especially Chapter VI. Trade, Exchange, and Urbanization
  • Herold, Hajnalka 2012: Fortified Settlements of the 9th and 10th Centuries AD in Central Europe: Structure, Function and Symbolism, Medieval Archaeology, Leeds, vol. 56, 60-84.
  • Jensen, Stig 1991: The Vikings of Ribe, Ribe: Den Antikvariske samling.
  • Gelichi, Sauro and Hodges, Richard (eds) 2012: From one sea to another: trading places in the European and Mediterranean early Middle Ages. Proceedings of the International Conference Comacchio, 27th-29th March 2009, Turnhout: Brepols.
  • Graham-Campbell, James and Valor, Magdalena (eds) 2007: The archaeology of medieval Europe: Vol.1 eighth to twelfth centuries AD, Arhus: Arhus University Press. – especially Chapters 4 (Urban Settlement), 5 (Housing Culture), 11 (Fortifications), 12 (The Display of Secular Power)
  • Vince, Alan G. 1989: Saxon London: an archaeological investigation. London: Seaby.
  • Willemsen, Annemarieke and Kik, Hanneke (eds) 2010: Dorestad in an international framework: New research on centres of trade and coinage in Carolingian times, Proceedings of the first Dorestad Congress held at the National Museum of Antiquities Leiden, The Netherlands, June 24-27, 2009, Turnhout: Brepols.

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Key words search

Archaeology, Medieval, Sites