Understanding the Landscape of Medieval Britain (ARC2401)

StaffProfessor Stephen Rippon - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level5

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, and consider the factors influencing the development of the medieval countryside in both time and space.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Understand the range of techniques available to the landscape archaeologists studying this period
  • 2. Know the major landscape components, regional variations and chronological developments within the medieval landscape of Britain.
  • 3. Outline which techniques are most appropriate for studying the medieval landscape in particular circumstances.
  • 4. Discuss the merits of different explanations for the marked regional and temporal variations within the structure of the medieval 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. Produce clear and concise written work.
  • 8. Adhere to deadlines.
  • 9. Respond to comments in discussion

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:

  • Introduction: the concepts of landscape archaeology
  • Historic landscape characterisation and regional variation
  • Methods: archaeology and palaeoenvironmental evidence
  • Methods: maps and documents
  • The Roman/Medieval transition
  • Landscape reorganisation
  • Fields and estates
  • Landuse and resource exploitation
  • The late medieval period
  • 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 learning and teaching18Lectures
Scheduled learning and teaching4Seminar/discussion
Guided independent study128Guided independent study including reading, research and preparation for classes, presentation and assignments.

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 Words1-8written and verbal
Exam 601.5 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

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:

  • Aston, M. 1985: Interpreting the Landscape (London)
  • Blair, J. 2018: Building Anglo-Saxon England (Princeton)
  • Christie, N. and Stamper, P. 2012: Medieval Rural Settlement: Britain and Ireland, AD 800-1600(Oxford).
  • Darby, H.C. 1977: Domesday England (Cambridge)
  • Dyer, C. 2002: Making a Living in the Middle Ages (New Haven and London).
  • Gerrard, C. and Gutiérrez, A. (eds) 2018: The Oxford Handbook of Later Medieval Archaeology in Britain (Oxford).
  • Hamerow, H. 2012: Rural settlements and Society in Anglo-Saxon England (Oxford)
  • Hamerow, H., Hinton, D. and Crawford, S. 2011: The Oxford Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Archaeology (Oxford).
  • Rippon, S. 2008: Beyond the Medieval Village (Oxford).
  • Rippon, S. 2012: Making Sense of an Historic Landscape (Oxford).
  • Rippon, S., Smart, C. and Pears, B. 2015: The Fields of Britannia (Oxford)
  • Williamson, T. 2012: Environment, Society and Landscape in Early Medieval England : Time and Topography (Woodbridge)

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Key words search

Medieval, landscape, Britain