Skip to main content

Module

ARA3016 : The Archaeology of Byzantium and its Neighbours

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Mark Jackson
  • Lecturer: Dr Sophie Moore
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
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

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials361:0036:00Recorded Lectures. Non-synchronous online. 2 x delivery time for the lecture materials.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion301:0030:00Assessment preparation
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities181:0018:00Structured research and reading activities. Non-synchronous online structured guided learning.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops91:009:00Workshops. Synchronous online timetabled
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery91:009:00Drop-in surgery especially for preparation for student presentations and assessments.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study981:0098:00Independent learning.
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will provide a historical overview and introduce major written sources, material culture and monuments of Byzantine and Islamic art and archaeology. Lectures will also present subject-specific information relating especially to the ways in which sources can be interpreted and will highlight critically ways that sources have been misinterpreted in the past. Lecture materials will direct students to reading to explore ideas and concepts further. Workshops will build students' research and communication skills and prepare students for written assessments. Structured guided research, assessments and reading together with independent learning will be needed by students to embed and to build on information from lectures. This independent work will and for students to become familiar with the wide range of visual and structural evidence.

Assessment Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M45Essay based on student presentations in workshops (max 1500 words)
Design/Creative proj1M55Creative Project (2000 words)
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Oral Presentation1MOne or Two formative presentations will be given in workshops by the students.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Workshops give students the opportunity for independent study and for team working. All students should prepare by reading in advance of all workshops. Each student will be expected to jointly lead at workshops by giving a group presentation during the semester. Other students will give feedback on the presentations. These formative presentations will enable all students to reflect on the content and skills that make effective presentations. Research for the presentations will enable students to investigate their topics in good time for the essay submission.

Each students will develop a research question with the module leader for a 1500-word essay on the theme of their presentation for a workshop. The essay tests knowledge outcomes and develops skills in research, reading and writing.

The creative project will test acquisition of a clear general knowledge of themes from the module. It will enable students to demonstrate their ability to apply both the general knowledge and detailed knowledge of aspects of the subject to new questions. The project will involve problem-solving skills, adaptability, the ability to work unaided and to write clearly and concisely.

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