MODULE DESCRIPTION 2017-2018


AUTUMN SEMESTER 20 CREDITS



AAP240 THE CELTIC WEST: FROM THE FALL OF ROME TO THE VIKING AGE



CO-ORDINATOR: JOHN MORELAND
OTHER TUTORS: KATIE HEMER


MODULE OUTLINE

This interdisciplinary module seeks to reconstruct an understanding of early medieval western Britain and Ireland from the end of the Roman Empire in the early fifth century to advent of the Viking Age. In contrast to the Anglo-Saxon regions of eastern Britain, there exists the notion that the Celtic West was at the ‘edge of the earth’, and consequently was a land of tyrants and barbarians, who, in their isolation, were removed from the cultural and political developments of this time. This module will break down the misconceptions of Britain’s ‘Dark Age’ past through the analysis and interpretation of written sources and archaeological evidence, including material culture and scientific data. It will explore the people and their beliefs, and will demonstrate that, as the realm of Saints, scholars, traders and artisans, early medieval western Britain and Ireland were intricately connected to the wider European and Mediterranean world.


BROAD ACADEMIC AIMS AND PRINCIPLES OF THE UNIT

This unit aims to introduce students to:
• the significant religious and secular developments taking place in western Britain and Ireland in the pre-Viking Age period
• the interconnectedness of the early medieval Irish Sea region, both in an insular context and in the milieu of the wider European and Mediterranean world
• the available historical and archaeological evidence for the study region
• how different types of archaeological data are used to reconstruct an understanding of the early medieval past
• critical evaluation of both historical and archaeological sources and their use to argue effectively for/against different interpretations


MEASUREABLE LEARNING OUTCOMES

By the end of this module students should be able to demonstrate:
• be conversant with the significant religious and secular developments taking place in western Britain and Ireland in the pre-Viking Age period.
• appreciate the interconnectedness of the early medieval Irish Sea region, both in an insular context and in the milieu of the wider European and Mediterranean world.
• develop a comprehensive understanding of the available historical and archaeological evidence for the study region.
• recognize how different types of archaeological data are used to reconstruct an understanding of the early medieval past.
• have the capacity to draw upon both historical and archaeological sources and critically evaluate the evidence in order to argue effectively for/against different interpretations


PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT SKILLS ACQUIRED

Researching - ability to use a range of sources, including the internet, published books and journal articles etc. to gain relevant information necessary to formulate ideas, interpretations and arguments.
Working with different data - ability to use both historical and archaeological data to explore the past and recognise how these types of data can complement each other.
Team working - contributing to group discussions, learning to challenge and be challenged by peers,
Written and verbal communication skills – ability to communicate effectively and with clarity when discussing ideas and arguments.


STUDENT ATTENDANCE AND INDEPENDENT STUDY

Type Hours
Lectures 11
Seminars 11
Independent/Group Study (including preparation for assessments) 178


ASSESSMENT

Method % of marks Length / words
Mid Term 20% 1000
End of Term 40% 2000
Exam 40% 1.5 hours


EXAMPLE LECTURE/SEMINAR TITLES

  • The Celtic West? Ethnicity and identity in western Britain and Ireland
  • Ethno genesis in late Antiquity: texts and isotopes
  • The British Isles in Late Antiquity
  • Catastrophe and the end of Roman Britain
  • Wales: A land of tyrants
  • Animal husbandry and trade
  • Wales: church and society
  • Celtic influences upon the funerary landscape of Anglo-Saxon England
  • Ireland: myth and reality
  • Appropriating the past: Ireland and the Iron Age
  • Ireland: church and society
  • Production and exchange in early medieval Ireland
  • Scotland: Picts and Scotti
  • Manuscripts and symbol stones
  • Cornwall and the West: how English was England?
  • Arthur and the Britons
  • The West in context: the Byzantine ‘commonwealth’
  • Core and periphery in the early Middle Ages
  • Bede, the Britons…and the Pecsæte
  • Archaeology and history – beyond ‘a dialogue of the deaf’