Understanding the Landscape of Roman Britain (ARC2400)

StaffProfessor Stephen Rippon - Lecturer
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level6
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 Roman Britain. The module will consider the factors influencing the development of the Romano – British countryside in both time and space. 

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate understanding of the range of techniques available to the landscape archaeologists studying this period
  • 2. Demonstrate knowledge of the major landscape components, regional variations and chronological developments within the Romano-British landscape, and understand how these came about.
  • 3. Outline techniques most appropriate for studying the Romano – British landscape in particular circumstances
  • 4. Identify marked regional and temporal variations within the structure of the Romano – British landscape within the context of major landscape concepts

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Respond to comments in discussion
  • 8. Demonstrate techniques of locating, organising and digesting material to produce, to a deadline, a piece of coherent analysis

Syllabus plan

  • Introduction
  • Landscape change
  • Landscape components
  • Mapping the Romano-British landscape
  • Palaeoenvironmental reconstruction
  • Settlement hierarchies
  • Fields, roads and estates
  • Exploiting and managing the countryside
  • Change over time
  • Case-study
  • Conclusions/revision

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 Leaning and Teaching2211 x 2 hours - Lectures with group discussion of particular issues (eg interpreting an aerial photograph or distribution map)
Scheduled Leaning and Teaching1Feedback on essay
Guided Independent Study11A set of weekly tasks focusing on how the Romano-British landscape can be explored through online databases, how contemporary British archaeology works within the context of the planning system, and how we should interpret distribution maps.
Guided Independent Study116Private study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Interpretation of images such as aerial photographs and distribution mapsFeedback on class tests1-4Verbal

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 words1-8Written and verbal feedback
Examination601.5 hours1-8Written and verbal feedback

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-8Referral/Deferral period
ExaminationExamination1-8Referral/Deferral 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

Main course books:

  • Smith, A. et al. 2016: The Rural Settlement of Roman Britain. Britannia Monograph 29
  • Allen, M. et al. 2017: The Rural Economy of Roman Britain. Britannia Monograph 30
  • Smith, A. et al. 2018: Life and Death in the Countryside of Roman Britain. Britannia Monograph 31

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

  • Branigan, K. and Miles, D. 1989: The Economies of Romano-British Villas (Sheffield)
  • Dark, K. and Dark, P. 1996: The Landscape of Roman Britain (London)
  • Hingley, R. 1989: Rural Settlement in Roman Britain (London)
  • Jones, B. and Mattingly, D. 1990: An Atlas of Roman Britain (Oxford)
  • Mattingly, D. 2006: An Imperial Possession (London)
  • Millett, M. 1990: The Romanization of Britain (Cambridge)
  • Millet, M. et al. 2016: Oxford handbook or Roman Britain, esp chapters 34-41 (Oxford
  • Rippon, S. 2006: Landscape, Community and Colonisation (York)
  • Rippon, S. 2018: Kingdom, Civitas and County (Oxford)
  • Taylor, J. 2007: An Atlas of Roman Rural Settlement in England (York)

Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date


Key words search

Archaeology, Landscape, Roman