An Introduction to World Archaeology AD

Module code: AR1005

Module co-ordinator: Dr Neil Christie

  • What is the legacy of the Roman Empire?
  • What can archaeology tell us of Viking raids and Viking settlement?
  • Were castles all for military activity?
  • What does architecture reveal about religion in the medieval to modern world?
  • What is the archaeology of slavery?

These are some of the key questions posed by this module. Building on the Introduction to World Archaeology BC module, we will explore two millennia of human history – from the rise of the Roman Empire through the Anglo-Saxons and the Norman conquests to the colonisation of the New World and the birth of the Modern World. Central to this module is the impact of value of archaeology as a resource and discipline to expand knowledge of this historic timespan.

Our coverage will include examining the rise of towns – with Roman bathing, entertainment complexes, temples – and the redefining of these across the Dark Ages, the Middle Ages and the Industrial Revolution; the evolving religions of the world – from Roman paganism, to the expansion of Islam, to the Dissolution of monasteries; economics and trade; death and burial; and warfare. We will examine regions such as Roman Britain, Medieval Africa, South-east Asia and Colonial America; and we will debate the significance of key sites including Rome, Sutton Hoo, Viking York, Jerusalem, Jamestown and, of course, Leicester!

The module includes a field trip to the castle and abbey of Kenilworth in Warwickshire. Perhaps one of the finest medieval castles in the country, the castle dates from the early 12th century with a fascinating sequence of rebuilding and extensions into the Elizabethan era. It was the venue for a number of costly visits by Elizabeth I.

Topics covered

  • The Roman Empire
  • The Roman Army
  • Barbarian Invasions
  • Viking Expansion
  • Rise of Arab States
  • Norman Conquests
  • Monasticism
  • Reformation
  • The Industrial World
  • Colonialism
  • Slavery


  • 19 one-hour lectures
  • 8 one-hour seminars
  • one-day field trip


  • essay, 2,000 words (50%)
  • exam, two hours (50%)