Module Catalogue 2022/23

CAH2009 : Portfolio in Ancient History I: Commentaries

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Rowland Smith
  • Lecturer: Dr Joseph Skinner, Professor Federico Santangelo, Dr Simon Corcoran, Dr John Holton, Dr Micaela Langellotti
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



Independent study module involving critical study of prescribed items of ancient evidence.The module aims to provide an opportunity to investigate in some depth selected problems, with appraisal of selected source material and critical examination of current historiography, and to foster research-skills in preparation for the Stage 3 independent study module CAH3000 Portfolio II.

Outline Of Syllabus

Portfolio I is a research-focussed module based principally on study (devised to be taken in conjunction with the postrequisite module Portfolio II). The subject matter of Portfolio I consists of a collection of primary and secondary evidence for commentary supplied in a dossier containing 3 sections:
A: primary evidence: historiographical texts
B: primary evidence: an artefact from the GNM collection
C: primary evidence: either documentary sources or non-historiographical literary texts.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

Students should acquire a detailed knowledge and understanding of specific aspects of ancient historiographical and methodological problems and of a large-scale historical issue.

Intended Skill Outcomes

Development of associated skills in research, critical reading and reasoning, sustained discussion and appropriate presentation of the results.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion451:0045:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading431:0043:00N/A
Guided Independent StudySkills practice451:0045:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00Small group teaching of key research skills for Ancient Historians
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery111:0011:00To provide staff support to students in their independent study assignments
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study451:0045:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

This module is a research training module. It is designed to support students in making their first steps into independent research at the same time as developing essential primary source analysis skills. As such, it would be inappropriate and counterproductive for it to have delivery methods equivalent to other modules. Its function is to prepare students, through small research projects, for the large dissertation they have to do in Stage 3. Ideally, therefore, the majority of students will be working independently by the end of the semester. The delivery structures a movement to that point.

Small group teaching of research skills: each of these classes will be based around a sample case study of a skill the students need to complete their own research project. The rationale is that through working in groups the students will be able to develop their skills collaboratively whilst also gaining staff feedback. This will be one step in meeting the intended skill outcomes.

In the event that on-campus sessions need to be reduced, there is the capacity to hold live seminar discussions online and retain timetabled slots.

The main element of the module consists of drop-in sessions. The preceding teaching methods will phase out towards the end of the semester - necessary for the inculcation of independent working. But these drop-ins will remain a constant mandatory part of the module through to submission. Their first rationale is to provide the necessary staff support to students making their first steps in independent study. They provide a forum for problems to be addressed and guidance to be given. The group setting ensures all students may benefit from all discussions. They also provide a setting for group-progress to be structured and monitored. The discussions will allow students to share problems and gauge their progress in the tasks as part of the group.

In the event that on-campus sessions need to be reduced, there is the capacity to hold drop-ins online and retain timetabled slots.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M501 x 3,000 word commentary (historiography)
Essay2A251 x 1,500 word commentary (material culture)
Essay2A251 x 1,500 word commentary (other evidence)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

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

The three separate assessments test different skills developed in the module. The 3,000 word commentary (historiography) develops skills in textual analysis and intertextuality relating to historiographical texts, and includes critical engagement with modern scholarship related to the evidence. The 1,500 word commentary (material culture) develops skills in interpreting and contextualising material evidence, as well as critically engaging with modern scholarship. Finally, the 1,500 word commentary (other evidence) develops epigraphical skills, as well as critical engagement with modern scholarship related to the piece of evidence.

All of the assessments for this module will be submitted and marked online.

This module cannot be made available to exchange students under any circumstances. This applies to Erasmus, study-abroad, exchange proper and Loyola students equally.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2022/23 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2023/24 entry will be published here in early-April 2023. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.