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The Archaeology of the Roman Empire


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 5
  • Convenor and tutor: Professor Jennifer Baird
  • Assessment: a three-hour examination (50%), two 2000-word essays (25% each) and 60% attendance (0%)

Module description

The Roman Empire grew to be one of the largest imperial structures ever seen - but what constitutes ‘being Roman' in a broad Mediterranean context? This module provides you with an overview of the archaeology of the Roman Empire. It examines the material evidence for the study of Roman society including cultural identity, daily life, the economy, imperialism, the military, politics and religion. You will be introduced to the range of evidence used for the study of the Roman Empire from its material remains, from artefacts and art to architecture and landscape survey.

Indicative module syllabus

  • Introduction and Archaeological Evidence
  • The Empire and Its Provinces
  • The Archaeology of the Eternal City
  • The Archaeology of Roman Cities: Public and Private Spaces
  • The Archaeology of Roman Landscapes
  • The Western Empire
  • The Eastern Empire
  • The Archaeology of Roman Art
  • The Archaeology of Roman Death
  • The Archaeology of Roman Identities
  • The Archaeology of the Roman Emperor
  • The Archaeology of the Roman Military

  • The Archaeology of Roman Religion
  • The Archaeology of the Roman Economy
  • The Archaeology of Roman Slavery 
  • Frontier Archaeology
  • Beyond the Frontiers 
  • The Archaeology of ‘Decline and Fall’ 
  • Roman Imperialism and Imperial Legacies
  • Roman Archaeology in Museums

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will:

  • understand the key issues and debates in Roman archaeology
  • be able to discuss the history, culture and politics of the classical world
  • understand the relationship between the disciplines of history, classics and archaeology
  • be able to understand and critically assess the way material culture is utilised in building accounts of the ancient world
  • be able to engage critically with explanatory models and conceptual arguments in archaeology and ancient history.