Understanding the Landscape of Medieval Britain (ARC2401)

StaffProfessor Stephen Rippon - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level

ARC1020; not done ARC3401

Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

The module will develop an appreciation of the principles, methodologies and source material of landscape archaeology using examples drawn from medieval Britain. The module will consider the factors influencing the development of the medieval countryside in both time and space.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Outline techniques most appropriate for studying the medieval landscape in particular circumstances.
  • 2. Identify marked regional and temporal variations within the structure of the medieval landscape within the context of major landscape concepts.
  • 3. Understand the range of techniques available to the landscape archaeologists studying this period.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Produce a competent overview/synthesis of a particular issue.
  • 5. Evaluate case-studies and use appropriate examples/case-studies.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 6. Produce clear and concise written work.
  • 7. 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

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
Essay 402000 Words1-7written and verbal
Exam 601 hour1-6written

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essay Essay 1-7Referred/deferred period
Exam Exam 1-6Referred/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)

The Agrarian History of England and Wales

Module has an active ELE page?


Available as distance learning?


Last revision date

May 2009

Key words search

Medieval, landscape, Britain