Accessibility statement

Western Mediterranean Archaeology


Module leader: Steve Roskams


Developments in the Western Mediterranean in the First Millennium AD have had a profound influence on European society: evidence from this period has been used, and abused, to define historic roots of every modern nation state. The region has been subject to major processes of conquest and migration, for example Roman military expansion across the whole, the later movement of Vandals and Goths across Gaul and into Spain and North Africa, and invading Arab armies, which reached as far as southwest France.  In addition, the forces for change have been many and various, including economic imperatives such as the production of oil and wine, and ideological changes, most obviously new religions such as the development of Christianity and the coming of Islam.  Finally, this region has been subjected to archaeological investigation for an extended period of time, from landscape survey to the detailed excavation of major centers such as Carthage. It is thus an ideal setting in which to examine a whole variety of themes.


This module aims to develop knowledge and understanding of archaeology across the region. It will consider matters such as urban and associated landscape development, trade and exchange, and the impact, and context, of religious change. These are critical to understanding our European, and national, roots in the modern world. Happily, they will also allow us to look at some amazing, well-preserved archaeology!

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the Western Mediterranean in this period and an ability to pick out the key issues within this theme
  • Exhibit a firm understanding of the theoretical and methodological issues related to the archaeological study of the region
  • Show familiarity with a wide range of case studies
  • Prepare a worksheet which sets out key reading and questions for presentation, debate and discussion, and support the group in the preparation of the seminar
  • Chair a seminar, engage interest in the topic, stimulate debate and structure discussion
  • Have a critical awareness of the process of collective debate on a specific topic
  • Be able to judge the general 'success' of the seminar, and to be able to reflect on this, through a written summary of a seminar
  • Present PowerPoint presentations on other subjects within the general theme and contribute informed ideas and information to the other seminars


In this module you will develop key skills in presentation and chairing which should be of immense value in your future careers:

  • Self management: in this module you need to develop the ability to take initiative and you will need the will to succeed! There will be a lot of self management required whilst you plan your topic through the spring term- you should be spending about 3-4 days a week on this module and balancing this with finalising your dissertation (and any other commitments)
  • Communication: communication skills are vital and they will be assessed- through the previous 2 years you will should have practised and developed these skills in order to present clear and succinct PowerPoints. Your writing skills will be tested further in your self assessment document. Most importantly, you will have the chance to chair a seminar and you will need to be able to judge when to listen to your team mates, and how to encourage and stimulate debate, particularly from quieter members of the group
  • Team working: it is essential you can bring the team together to tackle your topic in depth and to create a stimulating and enlightening debate. It may be a wise move to set up your own study groups.
  • Problem solving: you will be faced with a lot of reading and it is essential that you develop the skills for retrieving information from relevant sources as well as critical evaluation
  • Creativity and innovation: this module enables you to be creative in your ideas of what topic to develop and how you plan to run the seminar
  • World of work awareness: this module will set you up for similar situations in the world of work where you might need to chair a meeting and will have to keep the team to the point and to time- you should understand the pressures of such meetings and think about ways of coping with them
  • Social, cultural and global awareness: many of you will be considering the international dimensions of your chosen subject, and in many cases you might want to think about the diversity of issues from other cultures and countries, as well as ethical issues related to your research
  • Application of IT: you will be tested on your effective use of PowerPoint as well as word processsing skills. You will also be expected to use the internet effectively with your research

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