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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 500-word primary source analysis (17%), 500-word modern scholarship summary (17%) and 2000-word essay (66%)

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?

In this module you will gain an overview of the archaeology of the Roman Empire. We will examine the material evidence for the study of Roman society including cultural identity, daily life, the economy, imperialism, the military, politics and religion and introduce you 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 syllabus

  • The Roman Empire and its provinces
  • The archaeology of the Eternal City
  • Provincial cities and landscapes
  • The archaeology of Roman art
  • The archaeology of Roman religion
  • The archaeology of Roman death
  • The archaeology of Roman slavery
  • The archaeology of the Roman military
  • Frontiers and neighbours of the Roman Empire
  • Roman imperialism and its legacies

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.