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ARA8030 : Frontier Communities of Roman Britain (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Rob Collins
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The sheer quantity of information available for the frontiers of Roman Britain allows unparalleled
opportunities for archaeological analysis.

This module aims to:
• Enable students to critically investigate the archaeology of frontiers and Romano-British society.
• Develop students’ ability to work with archaeological evidence.
• Explore and assess the degree to which theories of community, ethnicity and identity can illuminate the archaeological record.

Outline Of Syllabus

This course will not only examine the fascinating structures and settlements that formed Rome’s frontier systems, the Gask Line, Stanegate, Hadrian’s Wall and the Antonine Wall, it will also investigate the remarkably diverse communities which lived and worked in their vicinity.

We will ask what archaeology can tell us of these different groups. In each case, whether discussing the diverse contingents of successive Roman garrisons or the varied civilian populations that interacted with them, we will gain rich insight into life in Northern Britain under imperial rule.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:001 lecture per week
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials111:0011:00Additional supporting materials consisting of 1 hour per week. Counts towards contact hours.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion651:0065:00Prep for 2 assessments. 45 hours for the essay, 20 hours for the portfolio
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading331:0033:00estimated at 3 hours per lecture
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical18:008:00A practical field-trip visiting archaeological sites and museums during enrichment week.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching91:009:001 seminar per week, excluding first and final weeks
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities361:0036:004 hours prep per week for seminar
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study251:0025:00General consolidation activities
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk21:002:00Intro and conclusion to module (first and last weeks)
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
ARA3021Frontier Communities of Roman Britain
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The structure of the course ensures that students acquire detailed knowledge of sites, with extensive experience of finds materials, with an appreciation of wider synthesis.

Lectures and non-synchronous lecture materials impart core knowledge and an outline of knowledge that students are expected to acquire and they stimulate development of listening and note-taking skills, while also providing expert orientation on a broad range of themes and issues, supplemented by the module reading list. In-person lectures will provide opportunities for dialogue, while lecture materials can be reviewed at any time across the week and revisited numerous times afterwards. In the event that on-campus sessions need to be reduced, there is the capacity to present recorded materials asynchronously and retain timetabled slots for live discussion of these materials.

Seminars will also consolidate the learning progress from lectures, lecture materials, and weekly readings by
enabling students to focus on connected issues and material in greater depth. Seminars will be student-led and
facilitated by teaching staff, and will hinge upon group discussion and debate about materials circulated in advance (for example, sets of evidence, scholarship, and questions). 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.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1A753,000 words
Portfolio1M25Creative analysis and presentation of evidence pertaining to a single site (up to 1000 words)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Site-based Portfolio (25% of the total mark): A portfolio exercise of 1,000 words + images that will examine a student’s ability to engage with archaeological evidence essential to understanding frontier communities of Roman Britain. The portfolio will focus on 1 archaeological site pertaining to a frontier of Roman Britain selected by the student (with ML's approval), in which the student will present an image and offer a brief commentary on the following components: 1. Site overview/summary (including a site plan); 2. concise identification and commentary on x2 discrete structures/buildings associated with the site; 3. concise identification and commentary on x2 artefacts/items of material culture from the site; and 4. concise commentary on 1 inscription that is significant to the site and/or its occupants. The bibliography will not contribute to the word count. This will test the students advanced knowledge of the frontier zone, their ability to use advanced finds recording skills (as required by PAS) and advanced skills in the reading of Roman textual sources.

Essay 3000 words (75% of the total mark): Examination of a selected frontier community. Students will be expected to evaluate a range of archaeological evidence for an agreed frontier community. This exercise will require a mastery of research agenda and the advanced skills necessary to evaluate and exploit reports, a key source of archaeological information. The community chosen is to be agreed with the module leader.

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

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

Reading Lists