BA Latin and Linguistics

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
The Story of Britain

Unit code CAHE10142
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Archaeology
Available as a free choice unit? Yes

Overview

How was Britain first colonized by humans? How did mortuary practices change over time? Why did people adopt agriculture? Who were the Celts? How did Roman occupation transform the British landscape? How did industrialisation transform the nature of everyday life in modern Britain? What impact did British imperialism have on the wider world? How can we address these questions through landscapes, artefacts and buildings?

The Story of Britain course is intended to give a broad overview of the archaeology of the United Kingdom. It concentrates on the formation of the British landscape, and seeks to introduce the main kinds of site that are encountered by archaeologists working in the UK. It is also intended to familiarize you with the range of concepts and topics that have structured archaeological thought in recent years. The course covers a deliberately wide chronological range, from the earliest humans to the industrial era.

Aims

This course aims to deliver a broad overview of the archaeology in Britain as well as introduce some of the concepts and topics that have structured archaeological thought in recent years. The course covers a wide chronological range, from the earliest humans to the industrial era. It will focus on key debates and questions in British archaeology: eg. How was Britain first colonized by humans? How did mortuary practices change over time? Why did people adopt agriculture? Who were the Celts? How did Roman occupation transform the British landscape? How did industrialisation transform the nature of everyday life in modern Britain?

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students should/will be able to:

Syllabus

 

Lectures

  1. The peopling of Britain: the Palaeolithic.
  2. After the ice: the Mesolithic.
  3. Transforming the landscape: the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition.
  4. Megaliths and enclosures: the Neolithic.
  5. Beakers, barrows and metal: the Early Bronze Age.
  6. Dividing the land in the ‘age of warriors’: the later Bronze Age and the Iron Age.
  7. Conquest or collusion? The Roman occupation of Britain.
  8. Raid, trade and settle: the Saxon and Viking eras.
  9. Castles, manors and medieval villages.
  10. The growth of the industrial landscape.
  11. The rise of imperial Britain.

 

Seminars

  1. Palaeolithic migrants
  2. Star Carr
  3. Mesolithic and Neolithic places
  4. The substance of megaliths
  5. ‘Beaker folk’ and mobility
  6. Feasting in Prehistory – cauldrons and tankards
  7. The Wall – life on the edge of the Empire
  8. The Great Viking Army
  9. The DMV - inhabiting Wharram Percy
  10. Industrial Manchester
  11. Colonial Williamsburg

 

 

Teaching and learning methods

 

11 x 2hr lectures, 10 x 1hr seminars, field trip

Knowledge and understanding

 

  • Have an understanding of the chronological sequence for British Archaeology;
  • Demonstrate a knowledge of the major sites from each period;
  • Have an understanding of the key debates in British Archaeology;
  • Have an appreciation of the chronological development of the British landscape.

Intellectual skills

 

  • Critically assess scholarly materials;
  • Summarize a body of assigned literature;
  • Understand the nature of scholarly referencing;
  • Structure and sustain arguments in both written and oral formats.

Practical skills

 

  • Ability to make full use of learning resources via the JRULM;
  • Ability to make fully use of learning resources via Blackboard;
  • Essay writing;
  • Note taking;
  • Scholarly referencing.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • demonstrate writing skills;
  • demonstrate peer-review skills;
  • demonstrate independent learning skills;
  • demonstrate group-work skills;
  • demonstrate oral presentation skills.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Cognitive Skills: the critical evaluation of scholarly materials; summarising a body of literature; structuring and sustaining arguments vocally and in written form.
Leadership
Practical and Professional Skills: this course unit provides an outline understanding of British Archaeology and the development of the British landscape, as well as an introduction to the main sites encountered by field archaeologists. This knowledge is an essential asset to professionals working in field archaeology, museums, local government, planning, and the heritage sector in general.
Other
Generic Competencies: communicating in the seminar context; identifying the key aspects of arguments; use of library and online resources; essay writing and note taking. Personal Capabilities: writing and oral presentation skills, group working, independent learning.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 60%
Written assignment (inc essay) 40%

Feedback methods

 

Written feedback

Formative and summative feedback will be delivered on written assignments through the 'Feedback Sheet' released through Blackboard. Feedback on examinations may be viewed by the student, upon application to the office, giving 3 working days advance notice.

Oral feedback

Seminar discussions provide continuous feedback on understanding and contextualisation. In addition, students may make an appointment with the module co-ordinator during their office hours, to gain academic advice throughout the semester. Written feedback should then be discussed face-to-face with the student's Academic Advisor, in one of the bi-semester personal appointments offered to the student.

 

Recommended reading

  • Pettitt, P.B. & White, M.J. 2012 The British Palaeolithic: Human Societies at the Edge of the Pleistocene World. London: Routledge.
  • Milner, N., Taylor, B., Conneller, C. and Schadla-Hall, T. 2013 Star Carr: Life in Britain after the Ice Age. CBA.
  • Conneller, C., and Warren, G., (eds.). 2006. Mesolithic Britain and Ireland: New Approaches. Stroud: Tempus.
  • Cummings, V. 2018 The Neolithic of Britain and Ireland. London: Routledge.
  • Ray, K. and Thomas, J. 2018 Neolithic Britain: the Transformation of Social Worlds. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Parker Pearson, M., Pollard, J., Richards, C., Thomas, J., Tilley, C. and Welham, K. 2015 Stonehenge: Making Sense of a Prehistoric Mystery. London: Council for British Archaeology.
  • Giles, M. 2012 A forged glamour: landscape, identity and material culture in the Iron Age. Oxford, Windgather Press. (especially chapter 3, 4 and 5).
  • Sharples, N. 2010 Social Relations in Later Prehistory. Oxford, Oxford University Press.
  • Mattingly, D. 2006 An Imperial Possession: Britain in the Roman Empire. London, Penguin.
  • Hadley, D.M., & Richards J. D., (Eds.). 2000. Cultures in Contact: Scandinavian Settlement in England in the Ninth and Tenth Centuries. Turnhout: Brepols.

 

 

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
External visits 8
Lectures 22
Seminars 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 160

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Julian Thomas Unit coordinator
Eleanor Casella Unit coordinator
Hannah Cobb Unit coordinator
Melanie Giles Unit coordinator

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