Understanding the Landscape of Medieval Britain (ARC3401)

StaffProfessor Stephen Rippon - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

To develop an appreciation of  the principles and methodologies of landscape archaeology using examples drawn from medieval Britain, and based on critical reflection of the available sources and the interpretations that can be placed upon them. The module will consider the complex interplay between factors influencing the development of the medieval countryside in time and space.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. select techniques most appropriate for studying the medieval landscape in a variety of circumstances.
  • 2. explain marked regional and temporal variations within the structure of the Romano-British landscape showing an in-depth understanding of a wide range of factors.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. produce a clear/concise overview/synthesis of a particular issue, placing thematic data within a theoretical context; critically evaluate case-studies and use appropriate examples/case-studies.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 4. produce clear/concise written work, based on the assemblage/organisation of data from disparate sources
  • 5. adhere to deadlines

Syllabus plan

  • Introduction: the concepts of landscape archaeology (2 hrs)
  • Historic landscape characterisation and regional variation (2 hrs)
  • Methods: archaeology and palaeoenvironmental evidence (2 hrs)
  • Methods: maps and documents (2 hrs)
  • The Roman/Medieval transition (2 hrs)
  • Landscape reorganisation (1 hr)
  • Fields and estates (1 hr)
  • Landuse and resource exploitation (1 hr)
  • The late medieval period (1 hr)
  • Case-study: coastal wetlands (2 hrs)


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
Independant Guided Study112

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
Essay402000 words1-5written and verbal
Exam601 Hour1-4written

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essay Essay1-5Referred/deferred period
ExamExam 1-4Referred/deferred period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Astill, G. and Grant, A. 1988: The Countryside of Medieval England (Oxford)

Aston, M. 1985: Interpreting the Landscape (London)

Cantor, L. 1982: The English Medieval Landscape (London)

Rackham, O. 1986: A History of the Countryside (London)

Rippon, S. 1997: The Gwent Levels: landscape evolution and wetland reclamation (York)

Taylor, C. 1983: Village and Farmstead (London)

Module has an active ELE page?


Available as distance learning?


Last revision date

June 2008

Key words search

Medieval, landscape, Britain