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ARA2092 : The Medieval World: AD 400-1500

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Sophie Moore
  • Lecturer: Dr Duncan Wright, Dr Chloe Duckworth, Dr Louise Rayne, Professor Sam Turner
  • 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


The module will explore the connections between Europe, Asia, and Africa from 400-1500 AD. The scope of the course is vast, both in terms of its geographical extent and the interdisciplinary themes covered, so module content will aim to provide a broad structural overview of hte period alongside detailed case studies. 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.

Module Aims:

- To provide students with a critical understanding of the archaeology of Europe, Western Asia, and Northern 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

Exact topics will vary depending on the availability of specialist staff, but will include sessions such as the following:

A Global Middle Ages
Dark Ages?
Migration across Europe
Silk Roads
Mediterranean cuisine
Mediterranean and Red Sea networks
Personhood, Slavery and Race
African Urbanism
Religious landscapes
Indian Ocean networks
Islam in the medieval world
Archaeological methods
Trans-Saharan trade
Multicultural Iberia
Maps/traveller accounts
Medieval settlement
Medieval Nomadism
Climate and disease

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion621:0062:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading551:0055:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities221:0022:00Weekly reading associated with lectures and seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching91:009:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork18:008:00Field trip
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study221:0022:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

1. Lectures and lecture materials 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. Private study will provide in-depth understanding through background reading, preparation of seminar
presentations, identification/collation/analysis of information for assessments.

An additional 5 hours of contact time are included in this module to facilitate a field trip supporting the lecture and seminar material

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M351500 word essay
Essay1A652000 word essay with opportunity for students to shape the question.
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
Oral Presentation1MGroup oral presentation (of approx. 15mins) 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.

Reading Lists