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The University of Southampton

ARCH1028 Landscapes and Seascapes of Britain’s Past

Module Overview

The landscapes and seascapes of Britain play host to one of the world’s most varied and intriguing archaeological records. With an occupational history spanning one million years, it tells a complex inter-twined story of social, physical and environmental change. In this module you will not only learn the specifics of Britain's archaeological past, of the societies that created Stonehenge and the Mary Rose, but also how as archaeologists we read it from our surroundings. Through fieldtrips, lectures and seminars you will explore the narrative of Britain, from the end of the Cold War to the Palaeolithic. In our analysis we will move out beyond the land, to consider the role of maritime activity and its influence on society. By the end of this module you will have honed your practical and theoretical knowledge of the archaeological record, and your ability to communicate that knowledge.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The basic chronology of British prehistory and historic archaeology
  • The basic landscape types and monument classes of British archaeology
  • Some of the practical techniques of landscape and maritime archaeology
  • Some of the conceptual/theoretical issues in landscape and maritime archaeology
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Understand ideas of pattern and process
  • Be able to critique and evaluate information and ideas (in relation to understanding of land- and seascape)
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Interpret archaeological features on an Ordnance Survey map, air photo etc.
  • Observe and interpret archaeological features in the field
  • Appreciate the links between geological and archaeological patterning
  • Understand local landscapes, for example Hampshire and the Solent Channel, in terms of wider sequences and patterns
Cognitive Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Describe basic sequences and regional/geographical patterns in landscape and seascape
  • Make connections between those sequences and patterns and underlying historical processes
  • Analyse landscape settings in terms of their constituent parts


This module will introduce you to some of the basic patterns and processes underlying the varied landscapes and seascapes of the British Isles. A central ‘spine’ of lectures will cover basic issues of chronology and regional variation, and introduce conceptual issues such as the relationship between geology and the formation of the archaeological record. There will be strong emphasis on field trips and the field experience, and the use of field study in familiarising students with the archaeological landscapes and seascapes of the British Isles. The intended outcome of the course is for students to be able to go back to their local landscapes, to look at an air photo or a map, and to have acquired the ability to understand what they observe in terms of wider archaeological and historical sequences and processes, even where their background knowledge of locality is limited.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • Lectures • Field trips The Field Visits are an integral part of this module. In accordance with the University’s commitment to inclusivity, we welcome applications onto this course module from students with disabilities. If you have a disability and wish to discuss in confidence any issues relating to your application for this module, please contact Professor Matthew Johnson, Head of Archaeology, email Learning activities include • Background reading • Preparation of a learning journal • Essay preparation

Wider reading or practice30
Practical classes and workshops36
Follow-up work30
Completion of assessment task30
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Williamson, T. and Bellamy, L.. Property and Landscape. 

Fox, Sir C. (1947). The Personality of Britain. 

Glasscock, R. (ed.). Historic Landscapes of Britain From the Air. 

Hunter, J. and Ralston, I. (eds) (2002). The Archaeology of Britain from the Palaeolithic to the Industrial Revolution. 

Bradley, R. (2000). An Archaeology of Natural Places. 



Learning journal


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (1500 words) 40%
Essay  (2000 words) 60%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Travel Costs for placements

Transportation costs for the fieldtrips are covered by the Faculty (no additional cost to students).

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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