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Module HTA-2106:
Early Medieval Wales WLH

Module Facts

Run by School of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Prof Nancy Edwards

Overall aims and purpose

Archaeological evidence, used alongside documentary sources and other types of evidence such as place-names, is critical to our understanding of the evolution of the early medieval kingdoms of Wales c AD 350-1050, the lives people led and the expansion of Christianity.

  1. This module aims to give students a critical understanding of the archaeological evidence, both structural and artefactual, relevant to the study of early medieval Wales and how it has been interpreted;
  2. To set this alongside other relevant evidence e.g. written sources, place-names, where appropriate;
  3. To provide students with the knowledge and skills to understand its significance and debates surrounding its interpretation.
  4. Students will be expected to consider comparable evidence from elsewhere in Britain and Ireland, where relevant.

Course content

This module will explore the major types of archaeological and other relevant evidence for early medieval Wales c. AD 350-1050 and their analysis and interpretation. It will consider geography and the major types of evidence in addition to the archaeology; the nature and extent of the Roman impact and its continuation in the post-Roman period; the emergence of the early medieval Welsh kingdoms; inscriptions; settlement archaeology – e.g. hillforts, unenclosed settlements and comparative evidence elsewhere; exploitation of the landscape, the nature of economy and industry; the archaeological evidence for early Christianity and the development of the Welsh church and comparative evidence elsewhere; early Christian art; relations with Anglo-Saxon England; and the Viking impact.

Assessment Criteria


(lower Ds) will demonstrate an appropriate range or depth of knowledge of at least parts of the relevant field, and will make at least partly-successful attempts to frame an argument which engages with historical controversies.


(B) Will show a solid level of achievement in all the criteria in the paragraph above


(A) Will show this solid achievement across the criteria combined with particularly impressive depths of knowledge and/or subtlety of analysis.

Learning outcomes

  1. Be able to carry out research for, plan and write an essay/report on a relevant subject to the module demonstrating critical understanding of the material analysed.

  2. Be able to present and evaluate relevant archaeological and other information in the form of an oral presentation using Powerpoint.

  3. Be able to present relevant analysis and arguments in the form of examination answers, and back these with appropriate archaeological and other relevant evidence.

  4. Demonstrate an ability to analyse and evaluate a variety of arguments and opinions concerning the interpretation of the archaeological and other relevant evidence.

  5. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the major developments and changes in archaeological evidence for the period and the significance of these.

  6. Demonstrate an in depth knowledge of the main types of archaeological evidence for early medieval Wales and an awareness of relevant comparitive evidence

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
EXAM Two hour unseen examination

Two hour unseen examination. Answer three questions,

CASE STUDY Case study of site(s) or artefact(s)

Case-study of early medieval site(s) or artefact(s) in Wales

INDIVIDUAL PRESENTATION Seminar Presentation with Powerpoint

Students will prepare a 5-10 minute presentation on a given topic with Powerpoint which will include appropriate illustrations. This will be followed by all students in the seminar group discussing the topic in its wider context.


Teaching and Learning Strategy


Lectures provide module framework

Private study 164

In depth seminars to provide opportunities for presentations and discussion of range of material


Fieldtrip and museum visit to see relevant sites and artefacts


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Safety-Consciousness - Having an awareness of your immediate environment, and confidence in adhering to health and safety regulations
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • problem solving to develop solutions to understand the past
  • understanding the complexity of change over time; in specific contexts and chronologies
  • being sensitive to the differences, or the "otherness" of the past, and the difficulty to using it as a guide to present or future action
  • being sensitive to the role of perceptions of the past in contemporary cultures
  • producing logical and structured arguments supported by relevant evidence
  • planning, designing, executing and documenting a programme of research, working independently
  • marshalling and critically appraising other people's arguments, including listening and questioning
  • presenting effective oral presentations for different kinds of audiences, including academic and/or audiences with little knowledge of history
  • preparing effective written communications for different readerships
  • making effective and appropriate forms of visual presentation
  • making effective and appropriate use of relevant information technology
  • making critical and effective use of information retrieval skills using paper-based and electronic resources
  • critical evaluation of one's own and others' opinions


Resource implications for students


Reading list

In module handbook

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: