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ARA2092 : The Medieval World: AD 400-1500

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Sophie Moore
  • Lecturer: Dr Mark Jackson, Dr Nicola Clarke
  • Teaching Assistant: Dr Caron Newman
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The module will explore the connections between Europe, Asia, and Africa from 400-1500 AD. As such, the scope of the course is vast, both in terms of its geographical extent and the interdisciplinary themes covered. We will explore how historians and archaeologists use text, material culture, art, architecture, environmental, and biological data to understand the medieval world. A key goal of this module is to highlight the diversity of viewpoints and lived experiences from people that were interconnected in different parts of the globe. With that in mind, we will explore key themes around trade, mobility, food, religion, social complexity, architecture, environmental change, settlement histories, and colonisation.

• To provide students with a critical understanding of the archaeology of Europe, Asia, and Africa in the medieval period

• To provide students with a knowledge and understanding of the key sources and methods used by
medieval archaeologists, including excavation, survey, material culture and artefacts, art and
architecture, and texts.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module will cover the following topics. (These are intended as a guide; week by week topics may differ slightly.) The module will run chronologically, so that the first lectures cover the period 400-800 AD, the next lectures cover the period 800-1150 AD, and the last lectures cover the period 1150-1500 AD.

A global Middle Ages
Europe and its worlds
Migration across Europe
Trade across the Atlantic
Silk Road
Mediterranean cuisine
Mediterranean and Red Sea networks
Religious landscapes
Indian Ocean networks
Islam in medieval world
Archaeological methods
Trans-Saharan trade
Multicultural Iberia
Maps/traveller accounts
Landscape of lordship
Digital medievalist
Settlement in Europe
Swahili Towns
Function of castles
Urbanism in Africa
Climate and disease

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture191:0019:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion621:0062:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading621:0062:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork14:004:00Fieldtrip to medieval museum for object handling
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery11:001:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study401:0040:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

1. Lectures will provide students with an overview of the main topics and debates in global medieval archaeology, the
sources of evidence for same, and how to approach them.
2. Seminars will develop analytical skills, oral communication skills and the ability to work as part of a team, as well
as an advanced knowledge and critical understanding of themes through student-led presentations and in-depth
discussion of detailed case-studies.
3. Drop in surgery will provide specialist guidance on the preparation of assessed work for the course.
4. Private study to provide in-depth understanding through background reading, preparation of seminar
presentations, identification/collation/analysis of information for assessments.
5. Field-trip will enable students to gain a fuller understanding of the nature of sites and artefacts.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Case study1M351500-word case study linked to the group presentation
Essay1A652500-word essay
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Oral Presentation1MGroup oral presentation on objects related to a seminar topic
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Essays will assess ability to analyse data critically and published interpretations relating to key themes in medieval archaeology using methods and techniques taught through lectures and seminars. Submitted work tests intended knowledge and skills outcomes, develops key skills in research, reading and writing. The group oral presentation will provide the opportunity for teamwork in relation to the analysis of objects and the knowledge of key medieval artefacts, examining their dates, contexts and provenance.

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