ARA8030 : Frontier Communities of Roman Britain
- Offered for Year: 2019/20
- Module Leader(s): Professor Ian Haynes
- Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
- Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
|Semester 1 Credit Value:||20|
The sheer quantity of information available for the frontiers of Roman Britain allows unparalleled
opportunities for archaeological analysis. 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. Capitalising on our proximity to Hadrian’s Wall and on the remarkable collection of
artefacts from the frontiers held in the University’s collections, 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.
This module aims to:
• Enable students to critically investigate the archaeology of frontiers and Romano-British society.
• Develop students’ ability to work with mixed finds assemblages.
• Explore and assess the degree to which theories of community, ethnicity and identity can illuminate the archaeological record.
Outline Of Syllabus
a. Introduction: Frontier Communities
b. ‘Blood of the Provinces’: the Roman auxilia
Field trip: Hadrian’s Wall (8 hrs)
Field trip: The changing face of the frontier
Visit to South Shields (3hrs)
a. From the Gask Line to the Stanegate: Early ‘frontiers’ of Roman Britain
b. Practical: Epigraphy and Community
a. The Batavi: German communities from the Rhine to the Tyne
b. Seminar: Reading the Vindolanda Tablets
a. The creation of Hadrian’s Wall
b. Practical: Home and away: Turrets and Milecastles
a. The creation of the Antonine Wall
b. Seminar: Newstead. Interpreting the archaeology of a frontier post.
a. Hadrian’s Wall: The next generation
b. Practical: Coins and Community
a. Cult communities
b. Seminar: Sexing small finds
a. Birdoswald: Cumbrian site, Carpathian context
b. Practical: Pottery and ethnicity? African stoves, Frisian wares and other curiosities
a. Them and Us: ‘Native’ settlements in the Frontier zone
b. Practical: Finds assemblages from native settlements Practical: Great North Museum: Finds from the Frontier (3 hours)
a. Army and Society in Late Roman Britain
b. Brougham: Cemetery archaeology and alternative identities
a. Seminar: The future of Frontier Studies
b. Revision Seminar
|Guided Independent Study||Assessment preparation and completion||54||1:00||54:00||1/3 of guided independent studies|
|Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities||Lecture||12||1:00||12:00||N/A|
|Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities||Practical||1||3:00||3:00||Great North Museum|
|Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities||Practical||5||1:00||5:00||N/A|
|Guided Independent Study||Directed research and reading||55||1:00||55:00||1/3 of guided independent studies|
|Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities||Small group teaching||5||1:00||5:00||Seminars|
|Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities||Fieldwork||1||8:00||8:00||Hadrian's Wall|
|Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities||Fieldwork||1||3:00||3:00||South Shields|
|Guided Independent Study||Independent study||55||1:00||55:00||1/3 of guided independent studies|
Teaching Rationale And Relationship
The structure of the course ensures that students acquire detailed knowledge of one site (two hour long fieldwork session), with extensive experience of finds materials (5 x 1 hour long practical sessions) with an appreciation of wider synthesis (12 x 1 hours of lectures).
Lectures: impart core knowledge and an outline of knowledge that students are expected to acquire and they
stimulate development of listening and note-taking skills.
Seminars encourage independent study and promote improvements in oral communication, problem-solving skills
The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners
|Written Examination||90||1||A||25||Unseen test|
Assessment Rationale And Relationship
Test 1.5 hour 25% A three part test which will examine a student’s ability to 1. Identify major sites and features on Britain’s Northern Frontier 2. The material culture of the Frontier zone and 3. The epigraphy of the Frontier zone. Students will be presented with three images in each category (a total of nine images) and will be expected to write a brief technical commentary on two images in each category (a total of eight commentaries). 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%. 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.
This module can be made available to Erasmus students only with the agreement of the Head of Subject and of the Module Leader. This option must be discussed in person at the beginning of your exchange period. No restrictions apply to study-abroad, exchange and Loyola students.
All Erasmus students at Newcastle University are expected to do the same assessment as students registered for a degree.
Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending semester 1 only are required to finish their assessment while in Newcastle. This will take the form of an alternative assessment, as outlined in the formats below:
Modules assessed by Coursework and Exam:
The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be one essay in addition to the other coursework assessment (the length of the essay should be adjusted in order to comply with the assessment tariff); to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.
Modules assessed by Exam only:
The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be two 2,000 word written exercises; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.
Modules assessed by Coursework only:
All semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be expected to complete the standard assessment for the module; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.
Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending the whole academic year or semester 2 are required to complete the standard assessment as set out in the MOF under all circumstances.