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Unit information: Romano-British Archaeology in 2013/14

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Unit name Romano-British Archaeology
Unit code ARCH10009
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Cramp
Open unit status Open




School/department Department of Anthropology and Archaeology
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit will present and examine the evidence for the Roman influence on ‘native’ Iron Age populations and the emergent ‘Romano-British’ culture. Whilst Roman influence appears to be high at a superficial level, the unit will show how the Iron Age peoples of Britain appropriated Roman customs to produce a distinctive rich and lively culture. Specifically, this unit is designed to: i) Cover the broader background of the Roman Empire and the sequence of events which took place leading up to and during the invasion of Britain. ii) Introduce students to the diversity of the archaeological evidence from Britain during the Later Pre-Roman Iron Age (LPRIA) and Roman period to the early 5th century AD. iii) Examine the impact of the initial Roman military conquest on local people and the manifestation of ‘Roman’ culture in Britain in a range of contexts and through a range of media (e.g. towns, villas, cuisine, religion, art). iv) Provide a basic understanding of the multi-disciplinary methods and approaches in current archaeological practice and theory, as applied to the archaeology of the north-western Roman provinces and the territories on the borders.

Intended learning outcomes

At the end of the unit successful students will be able to

  1. describe the characteristics of rural and urban settlement, religion and culture in Roman Britain.
  2. explain why these characteristics develop as they do in this province.
  3. identify different types of Romano-British material culture.
  4. explain their technological and cultural significance.
  5. summarise the varied perspectives on ‘Romanization’ in Britain.
  6. interpret them in the context of their theoretical underpinnings.
  7. recognise archaeological artefacts of the Roman period and interpret their manufacture and function.

Teaching details

18 x 1-hour lectures - two SEPARATE hour-long slots/week 1 x 1-hour workshop (to be held as 1 x 1 hr seminar - to be held in same timeslot as lectures) 1 x 1 day field trip

Assessment Details

Summative assessments: One class test (40 %) (ILOs 1 – 4, 7). One 1500 - 2000 word essay (60 %); ILOs 1 – 2, 5 – 6)

Reading and References

  • Alcock, J.P. (2006) Life in Roman Britain (Stroud: Tempus)
  • Hingley, R. (1989) Rural settlement in Roman Britain. (London: Seaby)
  • Kamm, A. (2008) The Romans, An Introduction. 2nd Revised Edition, (London and New York: Routledge)
  • Mattingly, D. (2006) An Imperial Possession: Britain in the Roman Empire (London: Penguin)
  • Millett, M. (1990) The Romanization of Britain (Cambridge: CUP)
  • Shotter, D. (2004) Roman Britain (Second Edition) (London: Routledge)