Landscape Archaeology: Understanding the Historic Environment (ARCM225)

StaffProfessor Stephen Rippon - Convenor
Dr Hajnalka Herold - Lecturer
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level7
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

On completion of the module, you will understand the major sources and techniques used in the study of the historic landscape. You will be able to critically assess which methods are appropriate for studying particular landscapes and periods. T   he module’s focus on the historic landscape reflects one of Exeter’s major research strengths in this field, and also reflects the growing emphasis on this area within a wide range of professions including archaeology, planning and countryside management.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. demonstrate comprehensive understanding of the range and application of techniques within landscape archaeology
  • 2. define and engage with the key concepts and philosophies that underpin our understanding of landscape change
  • 7. learn constructively from verbal and written feedback

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, making sound judgement in the absence of complete data
  • 4. demonstrate a systematic understanding of the basic chronological development of the British landscape in the past two millennia

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 5. present to a high level clearly structured, well written and appropriately illustrated arguments
  • 6. take part in group discussions, and ask pertinent questions at the forefront of the subject
  • 7. learn constructively from verbal and written feedback

Syllabus plan

      Introduction and historiography
   ·         Philosophy of landscape archaeology: landscape change in time & space
   ·         Regionality & landscape character
   ·         Data collection: remote sensing and field archaeology
   ·         Data collection: maps and documents
   ·         Data collection: place- and field-names
   ·         Data collection: standing buildings
   ·         Techniques of analysis: retrogressive analysis, historic landscape characterization and GIS
   ·         Concepts and interpretations: core and margin
   ·         The Roman landscape
   ·         The Roman-medieval transition: concepts and sources
   ·         The Reorganisation of landscapes in the late first millennium
   ·         The high medieval period: a new order?
   ·         The high medieval period: prosperity and expansion
   ·         The Late Medieval Period: crisis or continuity?
   ·         The post medieval period: enclosures and polite landscapes

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 teaching10Lectures
Scheduled learning and teaching9.5Seminars
Scheduled learning and teaching0.5 Group work
Independant study130Including reading and preparation for lectures, seminars and assessments

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Interpretation of aerial photograph and map (group work)15 minutes in class exercise1, 6,7 Verbal

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
Critique of published landscape archaeology project focussing on the techniques used 401500 words1, 3, 5Written
Essay on a key period of landscape change 602000 words1,2,3,4,5Written

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
CritiqueCritique 1500 words1,3,5Refer/defer period
EssayEssay 2000 words1,2,3,4,5Refer/defer period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Key periodicals:  Landscape History; Landscapes      

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

Aston, M. 1985:  Interpreting the landscape . London.   

Bowden, M. 1999:  Unravelling the Landscape .  Stroud.   

Creighton, O.H. 2009:  Designs upon the Land: Elite Landscapes of the Middle Ages . Woodbridge.   

Muir, R. 1999:  Approaches to Landscape .  London.   

Muir, R. 2000:  The NEW Reading the Landscape . Exeter.   

Rippon, S. 2004:  Historic landscape Analysis . York.   

Rippon, S. 2008:  Beyond the Medieval Village . Oxford.   

Roberts, B. and Wrathmell, S 2002:  Region and Place: A Study of English Rural Settlement , London.   

Williamson, T 2003:  Shaping Medieval Landscapes . Macclesfield.

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Aston, M. 1985:  Interpreting the landscape . London (e-book)    

Rippon, S. 2004:  Historic landscape Analysis . York (ERIC)

Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date