Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2020-2021 (archived)


Department: Archaeology


Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2020/21 Module Cap Location Durham


  • Discovering World Prehistory (ARCH1121) OR Cities in Antiquity (ARCH1131) OR Medieval to Modern (ARCH1141) OR Archaeology in Britain (ARCH1071).


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To enable students to gain a broad understanding of the archaeological information for Iron Age and Roman societies in Western Europe (e.g. Italy, Gaul & Britain).
  • To examine current theories and debates about the interpretation of archaeological evidence from this region.


  • This module examines the archaeological evidence for the cultural transition from Iron Age/Protohistoric communities into Roman provincial societies in Western Europe.
  • The module develops a comparative and thematic approach to the social and economic reorganisation of Iron Age communities and the emergence of new cultural identities in the context of expanding Roman power.
  • Key themes include colonization, urbanization, Romanization and trade/exchange.
  • The module considers case studies including Italy, Gaul and Britain, documenting and seeking explanation of similarities and differences in cultural change across the Western Empire.
  • Students will also consider the issues associated with the use of historical texts alongside the archaeological evidence.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • At the end of the module, the student will have:
  • Developed a sound knowledge of a range of artefacts, sites, and landscapes of Iron Age and Roman date from Western Europe.
  • Related this evidence to wider historical and conceptual frameworks.
  • Interpreted this information within the context of recent theoretical developments.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Developed a broad range of core interpretive skills pertaining to knowledge of the Roman world
Key Skills:
  • Accessing library and WWW resources
  • Undertaking independent study, research and problem solving
  • Preparation and effective communication of research methods, data, and arguments in written and visual form.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The mode is taught through a combination of lectures and seminars.
  • Lectures will ensure the effective communication of key information and theoretical ideas.
  • Seminars will provide closer engagement with the material and its interpretation.
  • The short answer section of the exam will test students' grasp of critical information, whilst the unseen essay will test their ability to evaluate current ideas and debates.
  • Students' abilities to analyse data and place it in a wider framework of understanding will be assessed by the evidence-based essay.
  • Research is embedded into the teaching of this module through the expertise of the lecturers and tutors. The examples and topics chosen within the curriculum will derive from the specialist research interests of the staff teaching the module. The module also enables students to explore how archaeologists produce evidence about the past, develop theories to explain it, and how archaeological evidence may subsequently be reinterpreted.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 19 1 Per Week 1 Hour 19
Seminars 6 Every 3 Weeks 1 Hour 6
Revision session 1 Once 1 Hour 1
Preparation and Reading 174
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Assessed essay Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 3,000 words 100%
Component: Examination Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Examination 2 hours 100%

Formative Assessment:

Formative assessment may include a range of quizzes, short answer tests and other short assignments related to the learning outcomes of the module.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University