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Study information

Britain in the Roman World

Module titleBritain in the Roman World
Module codeCLA3116
Academic year2019/0
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 early history and archaeology of Britain in the Roman empire (c. 100 BC – AD 200), from its perception as an outlandish place on the edge of the known world to its later conquest, colonization and integration. Going beyond modern misconceptions of homogenous Romans and Natives, the module will explore how the various cultures and communities in Britain adapted and responded to life within the global culture and society of the Roman empire. Particular emphasis is placed on material culture as a source for answering political, historical and social questions.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module examines the impact of Roman imperialism using a combination of archaeological and textual approaches, in order to illuminate the varying experiences from Caesar's incursions of the first century BC to the end of the second century AD. Overall the module encourages critical thinking on the role of material culture in understanding an ancient society for which comparatively little written evidence survives. Topics include the impact of the Augustan cultural revolution in pre-conquest Britain, invasion and revolt, urban hinterlands, cultural flows and interactions with the continent, frontier policy and Hadrian’s Wall, eating and drinking, dress and identity, and death and burial.

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), and the development of critical skills for the analysis and discussion of such material to address wider issues of historical and social interest

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 2. Demonstrate a critical ability in assessing published literature
  • 3. Use, analyse and critically evaluate material evidence as a major source for understanding Roman Britain

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 4. Develop advanced academic and library skills
  • 5. Develop independent and group study skills in research and presentation of findings
  • 6. Demonstrate an ability to select and organise relevant material
  • 7. Present a strong argument in oral and written form
  • 8. Develop confidence and clarity in oral communication and through use of PowerPoint presentations
  • 9. 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:

  • Studying Roman Britain
  • Caesar to Claudius: kingship, clientage and cultural revolution
  • Britain's first urban landscapes
  • The Roman military and the early province
  • Domestic space and social relations
  • City and country
  • The people of Roman Britain
  • Eating, drinking and diet
  • Ritual practice – temples and cemeteries
  • Social practice and ‘small finds’
  • Hadrian’s Wall and the northern frontier

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 teaching22Seminar (1 x 2 hours per week)
Guided independent study128Private study

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
Research assignment704000 words1-7Mark and written feedback
Assignment plan102 sides A41-7Mark and written feedback
Oral presentation2015-20 minutes1-9Mark, oral and written feedback

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Assignment planAssignment plan1-7Referral/Deferral period
AssignmentAssignment 1-7Referral/Deferral period
Oral presentationHand-out and transcript of the presentation that would have been given.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

  • Braund, D. 1996. Ruling Roman Britain. London: Routledge.
  • Creighton, J. 2000. Coins and power in late Iron Age Britain. Cambridge.
  • Creighton, J. 2006. Britannia. Routledge.
  • Ireland, S. 2008. Roman Britain. A sourcebook. Routledge.
  • 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.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Credit value15
Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date