Accessibility statement

Historic Houses


Module leader: Dav Smith


The purpose of the special topic is to allow students to study the archaeology of a well defined time, space or theme in a small seminar group. This enables them to come to grips with primary source material (material and written, as appropriate) and to apply to it the theoretical and thematic perspectives learned over your first and second years, so as to acquire a deeper knowledge of one aspect of the past than has been possible in more general courses.


The aim of ‘Historic Houses’ is to allow students to explore the ways in which elite and vernacular houses were designed, decorated and furnished in England from the late medieval period to the end of the 19th century, and to explore the issues which face those who own, manage, conserve and interpret historic interiors.  

Learning outcomes

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

  • demonstrate a broad and comparative knowledge of Historic Houses
  • critically discuss and assess the key theories, methods and debates, and their limitations 
  • critically evaluate primary data and evidence
  • communicate an in-depth, logical and structured argument, supported by archaeological evidence


During this module you will be building on the skills you have learnt in the first and second years. The Special Topic will particularly help you develop:
  • Self management: you have learnt to plan your time and work autonomously in the last couple of years, but it is now even more important that you take the initiative this term and manage your time effectively to cope with the demands of this module (for which you should be dedicating about 3-4 days of your time per week) against the demands of the dissertation, and your other committments
  • Communication: this is the last chance to practice your verbal communication skills and take account of your feedback before you do presentations in Assessed Seminars, which will count towards your final degree. You also need to make sure you have really understood how to write a strong academic argument which is required in the exam, but you will have the chance to practice this further in essays during the module - make sure you attend feedback sessions so that you understand how to improve
  • Team working: it may be of benefit to form your own study groups and work together with others in the class in order to cover all the reading you have been set
  • Problem solving: you will be developing your skills in retrieving, analysing and evaluating information from a range of different sources
  • Social, cultural and global awareness: you should be developing your awareness of international issues and particularly ethical issues
  • Application of IT: you will be developing your word processing skills and should concentrate on presentation of your work, both in essays, but also the Powerpoints you create