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Assessed Seminars: The Modern Landscape - ARC00096H

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

Module summary

This module aims to explore the changing landscape since the beginning of the sixteenth century. It will analyse the impact of colonialism and empire, the rise and fall of the landed estate, transformations in rural landscapes through enclosure and Improvement, industrialisation and changes in urban spaces, and the creation of revolutionary landscapes. It will explore how archaeology and archaeological theory deals with these changes and what it can contribute to our understanding of the modern world.

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 2023-24

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 landscapes of the modern world
  • Develop a critical perspective on interpretation of evidence and literature on modern landscapes
  • Explore the relevance of the archaeology of the modern landscape 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 the modern landscape
  • Exhibit a firm understanding of the theoretical, ethical and methodological issues related to the archaeological study of the modern landscape
  • 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 and student-led seminars, students will become familiar with important themes in the modern world, such as capitalism, colonialism, changes in rural and urban landscapes, and industrialisation. Modern landscapes offers a diverse range of landscapes students can engage with, including but by no means limited to: plantation landscapes in North America and the Caribbean, the designed landscapes of country houses, ‘slum’ neighbourhoods in the nineteenth century, how revolutions shaped landscapes, and the impact of enclosure on rural landscapes. There is a broad geographical scope, offering opportunities for students to develop seminars focused on landscapes not only in Britain but elsewhere in the world, especially places impacted by colonialism. Investigating these landscapes will develop understanding of the modern world, enabling and encouraging connections between the landscapes we study and the landscapes of today.


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

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
Pre-recorded Presentation 1
0.17 hours 25
Pre-recorded Presentation 2
0.17 hours 25
Short report on best practice in chairing
N/A 25
N/A 25

Module feedback

Formative: oral feedback from module leaders in class

Summative: written feedback within the University's turnaround policy

Indicative reading

  • Driver, F, and Luciana M. (2005). Tropical Visions in an Age of Empire. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Finch, Jonathan., and Kate. Giles, eds. (2007). Estate Landscapes : Design, Improvement and Power in the Post-Medieval Landscape. Woodbridge : Boydell & Brewer.
  • McDonagh, B. (2009). “Women, Enclosure and Estate Improvement in Eighteenth-Century Northamptonshire.” Rural History 20(2):143–62.

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.