Skip to main content


ARA2091 : Archaeologies of the Roman Empire: The Roman World from Augustus to Justinian

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Mark Jackson
  • Lecturer: Professor Ian Haynes, Dr James Gerrard
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This course examines the archaeology of the Roman Empire from Augustus to Justinian. It spans a period that saw high drama and rapid change for many of the peoples of Europe, North Africa, Asia Minor and the Near East. The different and unequal ways that the imperial authorities and local populations adapted to one another are manifested in a plethora of settings, from epic monuments to humble homes, and from rich graves to rubbish pits. This course offers a comprehensive introduction to the landscapes, buildings and artefacts of the Empire, while at the same time revealing the important role of regions far beyond Rome in generating new forms, styles and ideas.

Outline Of Syllabus

In order to give participants a deeper insight into the temporal change in the Roman world, each week explores a different theme with cases studies from Augustus to the Tetrarchy (with Prof Haynes) and from Constantine to Justinian (with Dr Jackson). Themes include power, patronage and the emperors, urbanism, the military, religion and ritual, leisure and entertainment, and the economy. At all times students will be invited to explore both those elements that served to bind the empire together, and those that contributed to enduring and emerging regional and provincial cultures. As an archaeology module, this course emphasises the contribution of material culture to our understanding of daily life in the Roman Empire.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion351:0035:00Preparation (summative) 5 short written assignments (7 hours for each artefact/building)
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials111:0011:00Lecture materials online (1 hour per week). Counts as contact hours.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00Lectures in person (1 hour lecture per week)
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion61:006:00Practice (formative) writing for the written assignment (about an artefact/building)
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities100:305:00Skill building non-synchronous tests (regnal dates, places, terminology, epigraphy)
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities551:0055:00Research for the project (5 hours per week)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00Seminars with staff
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities331:0033:00Research and seminar preparation-based activities (3 hours per week)
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities331:0033:00Research and reading related to lecture material (3 hours per week)
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The programme combines lectures, seminars and projects to develop student familiarity with both synthetic analysis and raw material for the study of the Roman Empire.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Portfolio1M251000 word (5 x 200-word descriptions of artefacts/buildings)
Research paper1A752500 word research paper
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise1M1 x 200-word description of an artefact or building to develop skills and prepare for portfolio
Computer assessment1MFormative, skill-building, non-synchronous tests on Canvas (regnal dates, places, terminology, epigraphy)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The first formative piece of work will be one 200-word description of an artefact or building to develop skills and prepare for portfolio. This will enable the students to practice a case study for their portfolio in advance of the summative assessment. This formative work will help particularly to build key skills in research, reading and writing.

The portfolio examines knowledge outcomes 1, 2, 3 & 4 by requiring students to present a selection of case studies of sites and objects that illuminate continuity and change across the Roman world during the period.

The Research Paper aims to assess knowledge outcomes 1, 2, 3 & 4. It aims to familiarise students with the unity and diversity of the Roman Empire through project work on themes of their own choice drawing specific regional case studies.

The computer exercises will enable students to build and develop their knowledge of key dates (e.g. emperor dates) and places (city plans, maps of the empire). Since the quizzes provide feedback to the student for each question, whether they get the answer right or wrong, they will be learning the correct answers. This will help them to build their knowledge and confidence since they will be able to evaluate how they are doing; they can retake the quizzes as many times as they like to embed the knowledge.

Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending semester 1 only are required to finish their assessment while in Newcastle. Where an exam is present, an alternative form of assessment will be set and where coursework is present, an alternative deadline will be set. Details of the alternative assessment will be provided by the module leader.

Reading Lists