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ARA8222 : Regionality and the Fall of Rome

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Professor James Gerrard
  • Lecturer: Dr David Walsh
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


Are you interested in the 'Fall of the Western Roman Empire' and its impact in Britain? Want to learn more about the unequal and diverse societies of Late Roman Britain? Interested in who the 'Anglo-Saxons' were and what happened in the fifth century AD? Then this module might be for you.

This module covers the period from the third century crisis up until the fifth century AD. The modules aim to:

- Introduce students to the archaeology of the late Roman Britain and its regional complexity;
- Contextualise Britain’s regional complexity within the of the North-Western Provinces;
- Demonstrate the complexity and diversity of late Roman Society;
- Explore the manner in which the Roman Empire and its neighbours responded to social, economic and political pressures.
- Investigate how archaeologists and historians have explored the identities of ancient social groups.

Outline Of Syllabus

The third century saw the Roman Empire’s veneer of unity shattered as usurpers and regional emperors fought for their local interests. These competing loyalties and priorities were regularised at the end of the third century by Diocletian’s creation of the Tetrarchy, but were then subordinated to Constantine’s Empire. By the end of the fourth century the Empire was superficially unified but formally split into its eastern (Greek) and Western (Latin) halves. A century later the west was gone, replaced by a patchwork of ‘barbarian’ kingdoms and the East was beginning to follow a ‘Byzantine’ trajectory.

Understanding how the ideology of unity was created by the Empire and the complex regional, social, ethnic and economic geography of its inhabitants (in Britain especially) and neighbours is key to understanding why the Western Empire ‘Fell’. The regional patterns that were to re-emerge or coalesce after the fall of Rome would lay the foundations of Medieval Europe.

- Historical narratives and interpretive frameworks
- Military threats
- Social Inequality
- Paideia and shared values
- Material Culture and regionality
- Approaches to early medieval identity

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00Lecture
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion561:0056:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical52:0010:00Practical for object handling etc
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading501:0050:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching62:0012:00Seminar / discussion sessions
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities111:0011:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study501:0050:00N/A
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
ARA3114Regionality and the Fall of Rome
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The teaching methods provide students with a sounds basis of evidence, interpretation and theoretical approaches. These are developed in small group work and presentations where students explore and research issues independently and/or collaboratively. This allows students to develop their confidence, research sills and knowledge base.

Three modes of delivery are used: 1) lectures, which offer an opportunity to impart knowledge, methods and theories; 2) seminars and small group teaching exploring specific themes or sites 3) Practicals, which offer opportunities for kills and methods practice, artefact handling and discussion. These offer a diverse means of delivering the module learning outcomes and enhancing students skills.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1M251000 words - social media (tweet, blog etc) presentations of a site or artefacts
Essay1A752500 word essay (student to select own title)
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise1M500 word formative exercise
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Written Ex 1 tests professional skills in writing for online and non-academic audiences. Students will write up to 1000 words presenting an object or site as a tweet, heritage organisation blog, and Facebook post.

Essay 1 is a research essay designed by the student on a topic of their choice.

The formative exercise will be an essay plan with short bibliography in preparation for Essay 1.

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

Reading Lists