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The Archaeology of Roman Slavery


There are no classes currently available for registration.


It is estimated that as many as a third of the inhabitants of the Roman empire were slaves. For most elite, free Romans, perhaps, slaves were nothing more than ‘talking tools’, devoid of humanity or agency. Until very recently, the invisibility of slaves in Roman archaeology could also be argued to be a wilful blindness on the part of scholars.

Our Archaeology of Roman Slavery short course seeks to expose the experiences of enslaved people using archaeological evidence, including:

  • artefacts
  • architecture
  • landscapes.

By using material rather than textual evidence, you will be prompted to consider the voices of people who were silenced by Roman historians. You will be encouraged to undertake your own analysis and interpretation of the evidence, and to draw on comparative approaches to slavery and human trafficking, from the ancient world, to the antebellum south to the present day.

This course is ideal for anyone who already has a strong knowledge of the archaeology of the Roman world (e.g. through an undergraduate degree or significant professional experience). A high level of preparation and participation is expected.

Assessment is via a 4000-4500-word essay (75%) and a presentation and 1000-word summary (25%).

30 credits at level 7

  • Entry requirements

    Entry requirements

    Most of our short courses have no formal entry requirements and are open to all students.

    This short course has no prerequisites.

    As part of the enrolment process, you may be required to submit a copy of a suitable form of ID.

    International students who wish to come to the UK to study a short course can apply for a Visitor visa. Please note that it is not possible to obtain a Student visa to study a short course.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    You register directly onto the classes you would like to take. Classes are filled on a first-come, first-served basis - so apply early. If you wish to take more than one short course, you can select each one separately and then register onto them together via our online application portal. There is usually no formal selection process, although some modules may have prerequisites and/or other requirements, which will be specified where relevant.