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ARA3031 : Historical Archaeology of Britain 1500-Present (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Jane Webster
  • 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 aims of this module are:
1. To develop students’ knowledge and understanding of the material culture of the period 1500-present
2. To expand students’ understanding of the relationship between documentary sources and archaeological data that characterises historical archaeology as a discipline
3. To examine and engage in debates about the range of interpretative frameworks available for modelling cultural change in Britain after 1500
4. To foster an understanding of the role of archaeology in studying the very recent past

Outline Of Syllabus

Part 1: From medieval to modern: the changing face of Britain c.1500-1750
Part 2: The Industrial era c.1750-1900
Part 3: The 20th and 21st centuries

This module focuses on the archaeology of the period 1500-present within the British Isles. It begins with an examination of the period 1500-1750, covering the impact of the Renaissance and Reformation, the ‘consumer revolution’ after 1600,and archaeological approaches to key changes in British landscapes and townscapes from the Civil War to the Georgian era.

The middle section of the course looks at the Industrial era (c.1750-1900), exploring the aims and methods of industrial archaeology (an archaeological discipline in its own right), and looking at the social changes resulting from industrialisation. The final part of the course explores the archaeology of the 20th and 21st centuries, focusing on changing attitudes to death after 1900, the First and Second World Wars, and the archaeology of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Throughout this module we make use of contemporary documentary sources, examining the ways in which historical archaeologists utilise these documents alongside excavation data in writing the history of the recent past. We also examine the relationship between archaeology and heritage presentation, exploring the sometimes contentious issues that surround the public presentation of recent historical phenomena.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture161:0016:00PiP
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion551:0055:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading331:0033:003 hrs p/week from module reading list
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical62:0012:00PinP
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities113:0033:003hrs of set reading weekly (seminars/practicals)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching51:005:00Seminars (PiP)
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study461:0046:00Consolidatation of learning, additional reading, reflection
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures offer a broad (largely chronological) overview of the historical archaeology of Britain after 1500. Seminars examine one aspect of that week’s overview in greater depth. These sessions are designed to tie in to, and support, the two module assessments. Advance preparatory work (set reading) is required for the seminars. The 6 practical sessions involve ‘hands on’ study of artefacts in museum collections, and/or historical documents, and in all cases support either Assessment 1 or Assessment 2

Seminars and practicals encourage independent study and promote improvements in oral communication, problem-solving skills and adaptability.

This module has 6 x 2 hr practical classes that take up 12 classroom hours; plus 5 x 1 hr seminars that also need to be classroom-based to facilitate discussion, teamworking etc. The 16 hrs of lectures are given in person BUT are also recorded (not using recap in the class; the recording is made separately and uploaded immediately after the live class) and students therefore get BOTH the classroom live lecture experience and have a quality recording that covers the same ground and can be used for consolidation or (if they cannot attend) as a supplement to being present.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M50Assessed Essay (1900 words)
Written exercise1A50Assessed Artefact Biography (1900 words)
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
Computer assessment1MWeekly Canvas quiz on lecture/seminar reading (no word count)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Submitted work tests intended knowledge and skills outcomes, and develops key skills in research, reading and writing. The formative assessment supports the development of both assessments, offering students the opportunity to test their understanding of weekly readings that relate directly to essay topics and to the concept and practice of artefact biography. Assessment 1 allows students to research one of the lecture topics from the first half of the module. Assessment 2 (Artefact Biography) allows students to apply archaeological and wider social theory (interpretative frameworks) to artefacts in their domestic environment. It also develops additional skils including oral interviewing (of family members) and the use of reading from disciplines outside Archaeology.

All of the assessments for this module will be submitted and marked online.

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