ARA3049 : Churches of Early Medieval Europe

  • Offered for Year: 2012/13
  • Module Leader(s): Prof. Sam Turner
  • Lecturer: Prof. Ian Haynes, Dr Mark Jackson
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 30
ECTS Credits: 15.0


This module will provide students with an in-depth knowledge of key themes in early medieval church archaeology. We will discuss the sources and methods that are available to archaeologists in the context of lectures and seminars on churches and related material culture and landscapes. We will explore key themes in early medieval church archaeology to gain knowledge of the buildings themselves and their place in early medieval society more widely, drawing on examples from Britain, Ireland, Spain, Gaul, Italy and the Mediterranean.
Visits to relevant sites including Bede’s early medieval monastery at Jarrow will relate classroom learning to concrete examples.

The aims of this module are:
To provide an understanding of the sources and methods used by early medieval church archaeologists
To present the material evidence for early medieval Christianity in Britain and Europe
To provide a knowledge of key themes relating to the origins and development of Christian churches during the early middle ages

Outline Of Syllabus

What is a church?
Christianity and the city of Rome
Late Antique Christianity
The church and the dead: burial in the west
Kings and their churches
Early medieval monasticism
Monasteries in the landscape
Early medieval pilgrimage
The making of local churches

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture161:0016:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion881:0088:001/3 of guided independent studies
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading881:0088:001/3 of guided independent studies
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching101:0010:00Seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork19:009:00Field Trip
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery30:402:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study871:0087:001/3 of guided independent studies
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
ARA3029Early Medieval Churches of Europe
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures provide basic information and overviews of key relationships between evidence and themes.
Seminars provide opportunities to examine scholarship relating to key themes.
Two small-group tutorials on each of the main assessments will provide opportunities for in-depth discussion based around students’ preparatory work.
Field visits relate classroom-based learning to concrete examples.
Private study will include background reading and preparation for seminar presentations, tutorials and assessments.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2A251,500 words
Essay2A302,000 words
Written exercise2A45Project of 2,500 words
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Oral Presentation2MGroup seminar presentation
Oral Presentation2MIndividual project presentation
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The first essay will assess ability to analyse and assess archaeological data and published interpretations relating to one or more key themes in the early medieval church archaeology of Britain.

The second essay will assess ability to analyse and assess archaeological data and published interpretations relating to one or more key themes in the early medieval church archaeology of Europe.

The project will assess understanding of the sources available to church archaeologists, students’ ability to use them critically in relation to a specific case-study, and their ability to relate an individual site to wider debates in church archaeology.

Reading Lists


Disclaimer: The University will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver modules in accordance with the descriptions set out in this catalogue. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, however, the University reserves the right to introduce changes to the information given including the addition, withdrawal or restructuring of modules if it considers such action to be necessary.