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Archaeological Landscapes


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 6
  • Convenor: Tim Reynolds
  • Assessment: 2500 words of field class reflective notes (25%), a 2500-word essay (25%) and a three-hour examination (50%)

Module description

Landscape can mean different things to different people in various contexts. This module explores archaeological approaches to landscape. It examines core theoretical debate alongside applied case studies and site visits to create a wide understanding of how Archaeology uses the concept of landscape to explain human experiences of associated spaces. The module explores landscapes as created through literature and art, through archaeological endeavour and through experiencing humanly defined space in site visits. Site visits include the Avebury World Heritage ‘site’ in Wiltshire and the development of towns and cities is also explored spatially through walks between the cities of London and Westminster and around a medieval townscape in Ely, Cambridgeshire. The issues involved in the management and public interpretation of such landscapes will also be explored both in class and onsite.

Indicative module syllabus

  • What is landscape? (Theories, practice and experience)
  • Landscapes of England (geology, topography and people)
  • Imagined landscapes
  • Experienced landscapes
  • Townscapes
  • Cityscapes
  • Communication
  • Management of historic landscapes
  • Landscapes of conflict/Contested landscapes
  • Invisible landscapes (invisible people and places)
  • Personal landscapes
  • Ritual landscapes
  • Tale of 2 Cities: walk between the City of London and Westminster
  • World Heritage landscapes: one of Tower of London/Greenwich/Westminster
  • Avebury
  • Waterworlds: Fenland
  • Ely/Museum of London

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will:

  • be familiar with major theoretical orientations to landscape within archaeology, history and material culture studies
  • have a grasp of the conceptual challenges to ‘reading’ space in archaeological records
  • have a sound basis for research into archaeological landscapes
  • have a broad knowledge of the archaeology of landscapes
  • understand the interpretative models for archaeological landscapes
  • understand the interplay between archaeological evidence, method and theory
  • be able to critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the archaeological sources for archaeological landscapes.