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Assessed Seminar: Archaeology of British Christianity - ARC00087H

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  • Department: Archaeology
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Aleksandra McClain
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25
    • See module specification for other years: 2023-24

Module summary

Christianity has been a driving force in the development of material culture, the built environment, landscapes, and social relationships in Britain from the Roman period to the modern day. The importance of Christianity to the formation of British society and culture cannot be underestimated: its precepts have had influence on almost every important stage in human life, from birth to death, and its buildings occupied central places in almost every rural and urban settlement, and often still do. This module gives students the opportunity to explore the archaeology of the Christian religion in the British Isles through the particular themes, materials, or time periods that interest them most.

Related modules

A directed option - students must pick an Assessed Seminar module and have a choice of which to take

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2024-25

Module aims

Assessed Seminars seek to develop an understanding of a specialist topic (particularly a critical understanding of the key themes, approaches and opinions). In doing so students should be able to improve their knowledge of the subject area (through reading and preparation for their own seminar, their seminar contributions and involvement in the seminars) and also have the opportunity to develop their skills in chairing a seminar, presenting material and being involved in discussion (including thinking on their feet about the topic being discussed, how to engage interest in the topic and stimulate debate).

Specifically this module aims to:

  • Develop knowledge and understanding of the material culture of Christianity in the British Isles from the Roman period to the 21st century
  • Develop a critical perspective on interpretation of Christianity’s impact on society and how that has changed over time
  • Explore the relevance of the archaeology of religion to methodological and theoretical debates, as well as to its study by other disciplines

Module learning outcomes

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

  • Demonstrate that they are familiar with the literature on the archaeology of British Christianity.
  • Exhibit a firm understanding of the theoretical, ethical and methodological issues related to the archaeological study of British Christianity.
  • Explore a range of case studies and the interpretations of them.
  • Prepare a worksheet which sets out key reading and issues for presentation, debate and discussion
  • Chair a seminar, engage interest in a topic, stimulate debate and structured discussion.
  • Present on other subjects within the general theme and contribute informed ideas and information to the other seminars.

Module content

In a series of lectures and workshops, students will become familiar with the theme of the module. Students will then choose a topic around which they will design and chair a seminar. Seminars and class discussion will encourage a critical approach to the literature and provide preparation for chairing and presenting.

Through a series of lectures, students will become familiar with the material culture of British Christianity through time, including churches, chapels, cathedrals, monasteries, funerary monuments, liturgical and devotional art and artefacts, and Christian landscapes. We will also explore wider, socially contextualized themes including the exercise of religious and lay authority, the definition of secular and sacred space, the development and display of personal and group religious identities, the role of Christian belief in structuring perception and action in life and death, and the opportunities and tensions inherent in Christian sites which are both places of modern religious practice and heritage assets.


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 25
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Contribution to seminars
N/A 10
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
1 hours 25
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Presentation 1
0.17 hours 20
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Presentation 2
0.17 hours 20

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

Students will hand in worksheets before consolidation week (in Week 5) so staff can work out a schedule for students chairing and delivering presentations. Students will need to hand in presentation slides by week 8, either with pre-recorded narration or without if they opt to do it live. Student-run seminars will run from Week 9 to Week 11 where students will chair a 1hr session. Within these seminars, contributions from students will be assessed.


Task Length % of module mark
Short report on best practice in chairing
N/A 25
N/A 25
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Pre-recorded presentation 1
0.17 hours 25
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Pre-recorded presentation 2
0.17 hours 25

Module feedback

Formative: oral feedback from module leaders

Summative: written feedback within the University's turnaround policy

Indicative reading

  • Rodwell, W. 2005. The Archaeology of Churches, Tempus (Stroud)
  • Aston, M. 2000. Monasteries in the Landscape, Tempus (Stroud)
  • Jupp, P.C. and Gittings, C. 1999. Death in England: An illustrated history, Manchester UP (Manchester)

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.