Postgraduate

Modules

Modules

ARA8116 : The Archaeology of Byzantium and its Neighbours

Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

The early medieval period saw a radical realignment in the economic, social and political structures of Europe, the Mediterranean and western Asia which remain fundamental for understanding many of the tensions in the modern world. Byzantium was a unique state located between the new, dynamic Islamic world and the early medieval kingdoms of continental Europe. The course examines the material culture and structures of Byzantium and its neighbours from the beginning of Justinian’s reign in the 6th century to AD 850. The study will begin by considering Justinian’s empire and in particular by reviewing the recent debate on the end of urbanism in late antiquity. We will consider the debates which have been put forward for the end of Antiquity in both the east and the west but we will focus on urbanism in the Eastern provinces. We will look at the rise of Islam and consider the impact the Arab invasions had on the Byzantine world as well as on religion and transport in the eastern Mediterranean. Orthodox Christianity was crucial for the survival of the Byzantine state and the crisis concerning the worship of religious images known as Iconoclasm, raises issues relevant for understanding the significance of images and belief in the medieval and the modern worlds. Other themes include methodological problems in the use of historical and archaeological sources.

The aim of this module is to understand the transformation of the Classical world and the emergence of new and diverse material cultures, institutions and ideologies in the Byzantine Empire and its neighbours, including the Islamic world.

Outline Of Syllabus

The course examines the material culture and structures of Byzantium and its neighbours from late
antiquity to the middle Byzantine period. Topics to be included will be taken from the following list:
The strategic geography of the Near East;
The Byzantine worldview;
Hagiography and archaeology;
Byzantine magic and superstition;
Ethnography of modern traditional rural settlement and households;
Byzantine rural settlement and households;
Byzantine cities: Early medieval Constantinople;
Byzantine cities in Anatolia, Syria and Jordan;
The transition of urban life and rural settlement in Asia Minor and Syria;
Anatolia and the Arab invasions;
Byzantine ecclesiastical architecture, burial and decoration;
The period of Iconoclasm;
Transport and trade in the eastern Mediterranean;
The rise of Islam; and the development of early Islamic architecture and decoration;
Pilgrimage in Byzantium and Islam;
Specific themes include methodological problems in the use of historical and archaeological sources.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion551:0055:001/3 of guided independent studies
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture241:0024:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading551:0055:001/3 of guided independent studies
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching91:009:00Presentations
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops31:003:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study541:0054:001/3 of guided independent studies
Total200:00
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
ARA3016The Archaeology of Byzantium and its Neighbours
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will provide a historical overview and introduce major written sources and monuments of Byzantine and Islamic art and archaeology. Lectures will present subject-specific information. Individual presentations will prepare students for written assessments. Independent study will be needed for background reading to supplement information from lectures and for students to become familiar with the wide range of visual and structural evidence.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M301000-word book review
Research paper1M70Research assignment based on a research question for a topic covered in the module (3000 words)
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Oral Presentation1MOne or Two formative presentations will be given by the students.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

1) The book review will enable the students consider critically, and in depth, a book published within the last ten years in Byzantine Archaeology. The writing of the book review should follow the example of published reviews by professional scholars. This assignment will enable students to develop a complex and specialised area of knowledge and skills, by employing advanced skills to undertake a professional activity.
2) The longer research assignment will build on the knowledge and feedback that students have gained through giving a presentation in class. Students will conduct research into a complex and specialised area of knowledge and skills covered by the module. They should employ advanced skills to conduct research according to a research question which must be agreed in advance 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.

Reading Lists

Timetable