Roman Frontier Society
Life of the Edge: Frontier Society in Roman Britain 2023-24
School Of History, Law And Social Sciences
Module - Semester 2
One of the key themes of this module is the interaction between the Roman army and native populations, and the subsequent evolution of distinct frontier societies. Contextualisation will be central to the investigation of the archaeology. Examination of material evidence from military and civilian sites will include settlement, burial and environmental evidence. Iconographic and epigraphic evidence will also be examined, as will contemporary written sources (e.g. the Vindolanda letters). Key issues explored will centre on continuity and change, and topics will include syncretism and native resistance. The history of Roman scholarship and its influence on perceptions of frontier life forms an important aspect of this course, with particular emphasis given to current post-colonial approaches.
Threshold students (D- and D) will have done only a minimum of reading, and their work will often be based partly on lecture notes and/or basic textbooks. They will demonstrate in their written assessments some knowledge of at least parts of the relevant field, and will make at least partially-successful attempts to frame an argument which engages with historical controversies and/or archaeological debates, but they will fail to discuss some large and vital aspects of a topic; and/or deploy only some relevant material but partly fail to combine it into a coherent whole; and/or deploy some evidence to support individual points but often fail to do so and/or show difficulty weighing evidence (thereby relying on unsuitable or irrelevant evidence when making a point). Alternatively, or additionally, the presentation of the work might also be poor, with bad grammar and/or punctuation, careless typos and spelling errors, and a lack of effective and correct referencing.
Students in this band (C- to C+) will demonstrate a satisfactory range of achievement or depth of knowledge of most parts of the module, and will make successful, if occasionally inconsistent, attempts to develop those skills appropriate to the study of Archaeology and History at undergraduate level. In the case of the written assessments, the answers will attempt to focus on the question, although might drift into narrative, and will show some evidence of solid reading and research. The argument might lose direction and might not be adequately clear at the bottom of this category. Written work will be presented reasonably well with only limited errors in grammar, punctuation, and referencing, and not to the extent that they obscure meaning.
Good students (B- to B+) will demonstrate a solid level of achievement and depth of knowledge in all the criteria in the C- to C+ range and will in addition exhibit constructive engagement with different types of historical writing and historiographical and archaeological interpretation. Ideas will be communicated effectively, and written work will include a good range of sources/reading and demonstrate a clear understanding of the issues and of the existing interpretations expressed in a well-structured, relevant, and focused argument. Students at the top end of this band will engage with and critique the ideas that they come across and synthesise the various interpretations they find to reach their own considered conclusions. Written work will be correctly presented with references and bibliography where appropriate.
Excellent students (A- and above) will show strong achievement across all the criteria combined with particularly impressive depths of knowledge and/or subtlety of analysis. In written work, they will support their arguments with a wealth of relevant detail/examples. They will also demonstrate an acute awareness of the relevant historiography and archaeological scholarship and give an account of why the conclusions reached are important within a particular historical debate. They may show a particularly subtle approach to possible objections, nuancing their argument in the light of counter-examples, or producing an interesting synthesis of various contrasting positions. Overall, the standards of content, argument, and analysis expected will be consistently superior to top upper-second work. Standards of presentation will also be high.
- Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of the archaeology of the Roman frontiers of Britain, together with a critical understanding of the key issues and concepts within modern scholarship in this field
- Discern the strengths and weaknesses of different theoretical approaches.
- Form archaeological arguments and support them with solid evidence.
- Show an awareness that archaeological evidence can be interpreted in different ways (with particular attention paid to the development of Romano-British society).