Module Catalogue 2015/16

ARA2091 : Archaeologies of the Roman Empire: The Roman World from Augustus to Justinian

  • Offered for Year: 2015/16
  • Module Leader(s): Prof. Ian Haynes
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



This course examines the archaeology of the Roman Empire from Augustus to Justinian. It spans a period that saw high drama and rapid change for many of the peoples of Europe, North Africa, Asia Minor and the Near East. The different and unequal ways that the imperial authorities and local populations adapted to one another are manifested in a plethora of settings, from epic monuments to humble homes, and from rich graves to rubbish pits. This course offers a comprehensive introduction to the landscapes, buildings and artefacts of the Empire, while at the same time revealing the important role of regions far beyond Rome in generating new forms, styles and ideas.

Outline Of Syllabus

Week 1       Lecture: Historiography and the Empire from Augustus to the Tetrarchy IH
Week 1       Lecture: Historiography and the Empire from the Tetrarchy to Justinian MJ
Week 2       Lecture: Archaeology of the Emperor: Render unto Caesar/Imperial Cult       IH
Week 2       Seminar for half group - The Imperial Adventus in Late Antiquity       MJ
Week 2       Seminar for half group - The Imperial Adventus in Late Antiquity       MJ
Week 3       Lecture: Power and Patronage: Archaeology of self-advertisement
Week 3       Seminar for half group – Seminar Coinage 1 FM
Week 3       Seminar for half group – Seminar Coinage 1 FM
Week 3       Lecture: Power and Patronage: Patronage and Change in Late Antiquity MJ
Week 4       Lecture: Urbanism: Roads and the Creeping power of urbanism/public space IH
Week 4       Seminar for half group – Seminar Coinage 2 FM
Week 4       Seminar for half group – Seminar Coinage 2 FM
Week 4       Lecture: Urbanism: streets and commerce in Late Antiquity MJ
Week 5       Fieldtrip: Archaeology of the Roman Army: Visit to Segedunum IH
Week 5       Lecture: urban defences and infrastructure MJ
Week 5 Assessment            
Week 6       Lecture: Religion and ritual under the Early Empire IH
Week 6       Lecture: Religion and ritual: Belief in Late Antiquity – the rise of the Church MJ
Week 6       Seminar: Saturnalia Preparation      
Week 6       Seminar: Saturnalia Preparation      
Week 7       Lecture: Leisure and Entertainment: Theatres, Amphitheatres and Other centres of spectacle/Practical: Gladiators IH
Week 7       Seminar: Leisure and Entertainment: Hippodromes in Late Antiquity and the use of spolia in urban contexts MJ
Week 7       Seminar: Leisure and Entertainment: Hippodromes in Late Antiquity and the use of spolia in urban contexts MJ
Week 8       Lecture: Palaces and Houses under the Early Empire/ Excavating Roman farms and villas IH
Week 8       Lecture: Excavating and surveying palaces and houses in urban and rural contexts in Late Antiquity MJ
Week 9       Practical: Reading Roman Inscriptions in the GNM IH
Week 9       IO SATURNALIA: Practical Exercise IH & MJ
Week 9       Lecture: Death and Burial in Late Antiquity/Epigraphy and the archaeology of Death in the late Roman Period MJ
Week 10 Lecture: Archaeology of the Roman Economy: Riches from the Earth How the Romans exploited natural resources IH
Week 10 Lecture: Archaeology of the Late Roman Economy: Late Antique Pottery in use: Pisidia pottery production and Late Roman Shipwrecks MJ
Week 11 Lecture: Art and the Empire. People of the empire/ Practical: Ancient myths and the visual culture in the Roman Empire IH
Week 11 Seminar: Art and the Empire. Visual culture in the late Roman Empire: Theogonia (‘divine birth’) MJ
Week 11 Seminar: Art and the Empire. Visual culture in the late Roman Empire: Theogonia (‘divine birth’) MJ
Week 12 Lecture: Revising the Early Empire IH
Week 12 Lecture: Revising Late Antiquity MJ

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

1 Students will demonstrate a detailed awareness of the role of archaeology in expanding our understanding of the Roman Empire.
2 Students will learn how to identify and analyse key artefact types.

3 Students will be familiar with a variety of interpretative frameworks for modelling contact and culture change, and will show an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of these models.

4 Students will show awareness of the widely differing ways in which the Roman past is presented and exploited in the modern world.

Intended Skill Outcomes

In order to complete the module successfully, all students must demonstrate that they have developed the following intellectual skills:

Reading, understanding, critiquing historical and archaeological data. The capacity to work with bulk finds data and to appreciate basic statistical models for numismatic analysis.
Analysing and evaluating archaeologists’ use of evidence.
Research, critical reading and reasoning, sustained discussion and appropriate presentation of the results.

All students will also develop the following key skills:
Time management
Bibliographic and library skills
Oral discussion and debate
Writing and revising analytic prose

Graduate Skills Framework

Graduate Skills Framework Applicable: Yes
  • Cognitive/Intellectual Skills
    • Critical Thinking : Assessed
    • Data Synthesis : Assessed
    • Active Learning : Assessed
    • Literacy : Assessed
    • Information Literacy
      • Source Materials : Assessed
      • Synthesise And Present Materials : Assessed
      • Use Of Computer Applications : Assessed
  • Self Management
    • Self Awareness And Reflection : Present
    • Planning and Organisation
      • Goal Setting And Action Planning : Present
      • Decision Making : Present
    • Personal Enterprise
      • Innovation And Creativity : Present
      • Initiative : Present
      • Independence : Present
      • Problem Solving : Present
      • Adaptability : Present
  • Interaction
    • Communication
      • Oral : Present
      • Foreign Languages : Present
      • Interpersonal : Present
      • Written Other : Present
    • Team Working
      • Collaboration : Present
      • Relationship Building : Present
      • Leadership : Present
      • Negotiation : Present
      • Peer Assessment Review : Present
  • Application
    • Occupational Awareness : Present
    • Commercial Acumen
      • Market Awareness : Present
      • Governance Awareness : Present
      • Financial Awareness : Present
    • Social Cultural Global Awareness : Present
    • Legal Awareness : Present

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion601:0060:0040% of guided independent studies
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture191:3028:30N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical12:002:00Saturnalia exercise
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading501:0050:0040% of guided independent studies
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical11:301:30Epigraphy exercise
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching61:006:00seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork12:002:00Segedunum visit
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study501:0050:0020% of guided independent studies
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The programme combines lectures, seminars, practical (object handling) sessions and site visits to develop student familiarity with both synthetic analysis and raw material for the study of the Roman Empire. Particular emphasis will be placed on fostering basic finds handling skills.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1201A70Unseen
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Prob solv exercises1M15data handling/coin assessment exercise
Practical/lab report1M15Presentation: Saturnalia
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Examination examines conceptual understanding through 2 essays (selected from six questions), 1 further essay and technical knowledge of Roman administrative machinery through short multiple choice section (25 questions).
Knowledge outcomes 1, 3 & 4.

Problem Solving Exercise/ Data handling exercise assesses knowledge outcome 2.
Practical Exercise/Presentation assess knowledge outcomes 1, 3 & 4. It aims to familiarise students with the unity and diversity of the Roman Empire through study of specific city case studies. Students will study and present the history, architecture and costume of different urban communities in the Empire.

Submitted work tests intended knowledge and skills outcomes, develops key skills in research, reading and writing.

All exchange students at Newcastle University including Erasmus, study-abroad, exchange proper and Loyola are warmly encouraged to do the same assessment as the domestic students unless they have compelling reasons not to do so. If this is the case, they are offered the option of writing one 3,000 word essay to be handed in by 12.00 p.m. of the Friday of the first week of the assessment period. This will replace all assessment work required of domestic students. If they wish to take up this option, students need to discuss it with their module leader, having checked with their home university that the new assessment will be accepted by them.

Students who opt for the alternative assessment because they will have to leave Newcastle University before the assessment period (excluding Erasmus students, who are contractually obliged to be at Newcastle until the end of the semester) should hand in their 3000-word essays before they go away. If this is not possible, they should tell the School exchange coordinator that they are going to submit their essays in absentia, then submit their essays through Blackboard and email copies of the essays to Ms Cummin in the School Office ( Any essay received after the deadline will be considered as a late submission.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Note: The Module Catalogue now reflects module information relating to academic year 15/16. Please contact your School Office if you require module information for a previous academic year.

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.