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Unit information: Medieval and Post Medieval Landscapes in 2015/16

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Unit name Medieval and Post Medieval Landscapes
Unit code ARCHM0060
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Mark Horton
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Anthropology and Archaeology
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit examines the evidence for landscape use in the Medieval and Post Medieval periods beyond the level of settlement and food production. The approach will be thematic and will examine topics such as the religious constitution of landscape, such as the early Medieval church to the industrial exploitation of the Post Medieval period. It will explore systems of defence, communications, contested landscapes, together with landscapes of pleasure and recreation. The landscape signatures of these practices and their interpretations will be explored through case studies.


  • to explore the varied character of past human appropriation and construction of landscape beyond the level of settlement and food production;
  • to introduce students to the range of archaeological landscape traces relating to ceremonial and ritual practices, industry, defence, communications and recreation from the early Medieval period to the early modern period.
  • to engage critically with thematic, interpretive, accounts of non-settlement and non-subsistence practices at a landscape level.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this Unit students will:

  • have knowledge of the range of settlement and food producing practices through which past landscapes were constituted;
  • be able to identify the archaeological traces of those practices;

be able to engage critically with the interpretation of those practices and their archaeological traces.

Teaching Information

Lectures, fieldtrips and site visits (NB. the number of hours as reflected below are required in order to cover the subject sufficiently and approximately half of the hours are fieldtrips or site visits).

Assessment Information

Presentation (25%); plus Desk Based Assessment of a Medieval Landscape (75%) ie The production of a report based on documentary research for a selected landscape. The assessment includes a site visit, but will concentrate on documentary research in the National Monument Record Office, local Historic Environment Offices and Public Record Offices. This is more practice-based than is generally required for MA Archaeoology essays, therefore, a range within a word limit of 3000- 5000 words is necessary.

Reading and References

  • Hill, P. & Wileman, J. 2002. Landscapes of War. Stroud: Tempus.
  • Rackam, O. 1986. The History of the Countryside. London: Dent.
  • Taylor, C. 1998. The Parks and Gardens of Britain. Edinburgh: EUP
  • Wade Martins, S. 2004. Farmers, Landlords and Landscapes: Rural Britain, 1720 to 1870. Windgather.
  • Williamson, T. 2003. Shaping Medieval Landscapes. Windgather.