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Study information

Domination and Resistance in Roman Britain

Module titleDomination and Resistance in Roman Britain
Module codeCLA3054
Academic year2021/2
Module staff

Professor Martin Pitts (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module provides an in-depth exploration of the history and archaeology of Roman Britain, from the perspectives of conquerors, soldiers, colonists, migrants and indigenous communities. Domination and Resistance in Roman Britain not only examines the impact of Roman imperialism on Britain over four centuries, but also considers the contribution of British society to the wider culture and economy of the Roman empire.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to:

  • Examine the effects of Roman imperialism using a combination of archaeological and textual approaches, in order to illuminate the varying experiences of human life on the island from Caesar's incursions of the first century BC to the cessation of Roman control in AD 410.
  • Encourage critical thinking on the role of material culture in understanding an ancient society for which comparatively little written evidence survives.
  • Cover topics that include the impact of the Augustan cultural revolution in pre-conquest Britain, invasion and revolt, the spread of literacy and civilised life, urban hinterlands, architecture and the social use of space, frontier policy and Hadrian’s Wall, eating and drinking, dress and identity, death and burial, and Christianity and paganism.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate a knowledge of a wide selection of relevant primary material from Roman Britain and the ancient world (particularly material culture in excavation reports and secondary literature)
  • 2. Use, analyse and critically evaluate material evidence as a major source for understanding Roman Britain

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. Explain the role material culture plays in understanding an ancient society for which comparatively little written evidence survives
  • 4. Demonstrate advanced academic and library skills specific to Classics and Ancient History

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Demonstrate independent and study skills in research and the presentation of findings
  • 6. Select and organise relevant material and present it in a strong argument
  • 7. Demonstrate confidence and clarity in the communication of ideas
  • 8. Work and discuss issues in a peer group

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

Term 1:

  • Introduction                                                                        
  • Caesar and pre-Roman Britain                                          
  • Clientage and the age of Augustus                                   
  • Invasion and revolt: historical events                                             
  • Britain's first urban landscapes                                          
  • Connectivity and regionality                                                          
  • Developed urban landscapes                                                        
  • Domestic space and architecture                                      
  • The early Romano-British economy                                             
  • Roman frontier policy and Hadrian's Wall                                   
  • Town and country                            

Term 2:

  • The rural economy                                                           
  • Eating and drinking                                                           
  • Ritual and religion                                                             
  • Death and burial                                                                
  • Provincial identities 1: dress and cultural practice            
  • Provincial identities 2: migration and inequality                
  • The late Romano-British economy                                   
  • Late Romano-British art and architecture
  • Christianity in late Roman Britain                                     
  • The End of Roman Britain                                                          
  • Revision

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching441 x 2 hour seminar per week
Guided Independent Study256Private study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Oral presentation (Powerpoint file with recorded voiceover, shared with class on ELE, accompanied by handout) 15 minutes1-7Mark and written comments
Close study of key primary texts, objects, and scholarship in class, with broader discussions of issuesIn class1-8Oral feedback from lecturer and peers

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay 1252000 words1-7Mark and written comments
Essay 2252000 words1-7Mark and written comments
Examination30Take home 24 hour paper1-7Mark and written comments
Oral presentation (Powerpoint file with recorded voiceover, shared with class on ELE, accompanied by handout)2020 minutes1-7Mark and written comments

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-7Referral/Deferral period
EssayEssay1-7Referral/Deferral period
ExaminationExamination1-7Referral/Deferral period
Oral presentation(Powerpoint file with recorded voiceover, accompanied by handout)1-7Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

  • Braund, D. 1996. Ruling Roman Britain. Kings, Queens, Governors and Emperors from Julius Caesar to Agricola. London: Routledge.
  • Creighton, J. 2000. Coins and power in late Iron Age Britain. CUP.
  • Creighton, J. 2006. Britannia. Routledge.
  • Ireland, S. 1996. Roman Britain. A sourcebook. Routledge.
  • James, S, and M. Millett, eds. 2001. Britons and Romans: advancing an archaeological agenda. York: Council for British Archaeology Research Report 125.
  • Jones, B, and D.J Mattingly. 1990. An atlas of Roman Britain. Oxford: Oxbow.
  • Mattingly, D.J. 2006. An imperial possession. Britain in the Roman empire. London: Penguin.
  • Millett, M. 1990. The Romanization of Britain. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Reece, R. 1988. My Roman Britain. Cirencester: Cotswold Studies

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources


Key words search

Roman, Britain, domination, resistance, material culture

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

The successful completion of at least 90 credits at Level 2.

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date