Exploring Roman Britain (Online)
Britain was part of the Roman empire for about four hundred years, in the first half of the first millennium AD. The impact of this can still be recognised in the landscape today, but what was life like for people in Britain during that time? Using archaeological evidence, this course will explore the long-term effects of Roman rule on different communities around the country.
For information on how the courses work, and a link to our course demonstration site, please click here.
Many changes took place in Britain during the Roman period. Towns were established, new types of buildings were introduced, long-distance roads were constructed and new frontiers set up. Regional economies became linked into empire-wide networks of trade and exchange and new industries developed. Over time, masonry houses appeared in the countryside and the most luxurious were adorned with wall-paintings and mosaic floors. A new religion, Christianity, began to take the place of the previous pantheon of gods, and new ideas were expressed in the arts and material culture. However, the impact of Rome on different communities in different regions varied enormously. In this course we will look at archaeological evidence for the many different processes of ‘Romanisation'and explore changes in the landscape, society and economy of Britain over four centuries of Roman rule.
The areas you will cover in this course are:
• Britain before AD 43: Sources of evidence, Britain in the later Iron Age, Contact with the Continent and Rome
• Expansion of Roman power: Roman conquest and control, Establishing Roman rule, the army, forts and frontiers
• The Romanisation of Britain: What is Romanisation? Changing landscapes of Roman Britain, Britons and the Roman system
• Town-life: Coloniae, civitas capitals and other towns, the architecture of towns
• Life in the countryside: Villages, hamlets, farms and villas; Agricultural practices
• Art and material culture: Mosaics, wall-painting, sculpture; Metalwork and personal possessions
• Roman industry: Roman pottery, engineering and mining
• Roman religion: Pagan gods and goddesses, Death and burial, Christianity in Roman Britain
• The fourth century and beyond: The collapse of imperial rule; After the Empire
We strongly recommend that you try to find a little time each week to engage in the online conversations (at times that are convenient to you) as the forums are an integral, and very rewarding, part of the course and the online learning experience.
To participate in the course you will need to have regular access to the Internet and you will need to buy the following textbook, available from The British Museum Press:
Hobbs, R. and Jackson, R. Roman Britain: Life at the Edge of Empire. (London, British Museum Press, 2010).
ISBN 978 0 7141 5061 1.
If you have access to a library, you may prefer to borrow this book. If your local library doesn't have it in its holdings, it may be able to acquire it through an inter-library loan.
Optional Additional Reading:
Mattingly, D.J., An Imperial Possession: Britain in the Roman Empire, 54 BC-AD 409. (London, Allen Lane, 2006).
Millett, M., The Romanization of Britain: an essay in archaeological interpretation (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1992).
Millett, M., Roman Britain (London, Batsford, 2005) ISBN 0713489510.
This course is accredited and you are expected to take the course for credit. To be awarded credit you must complete written contributions satisfactorily. Successful students will receive credit, awarded by the Board of Studies of Oxford University Department for Continuing Education. The award will take the form of 10 units of transferable credit at FHEQ level 4 of the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS). A transcript detailing the credit will be issued to successful students. Assignments are not graded but are marked either pass or fail.
This course is delivered online; to participate you must to be familiar with using a computer for purposes such as sending email and searching the Internet. You will also need regular access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification.
EU Fee: £255.00
Non-EU Fee: £295.00
This course aims to introduce students to the distinctive aspects of Romano-British life using a range of archaeological evidence. It will guide them through sources of information on urban and rural landscapes, trade and industry, architecture, the arts and religion, and will help them contribute to current debates on Romanisation and cultural change.
This course will enable students to:
• become familiar with how archaeological evidence is recovered, processed and interpreted, and understand how this evidence can be used with other sources of information to build up a detailed picture of Britain in the Roman period;
• investigate evidence for towns and the countryside, trade and industry, architecture, the arts and religion during four centuries of Roman rule;
• assess the impact of Rome on different communities in different regions of Britain, discuss the different processes of Romanisation and formulate ideas about what it meant to be Roman.
- Guided reading of texts
- Group discussions of particular issues
- Questions to be answered in personal folders
- Work on a site-map of Roman Britain
By the end of this course students will understand:
- how archaeological evidence is recovered, processed and interpreted, and how this evidence can be used with other sources of information to build up a detailed picture of Britain in the Roman period;
- key changes in towns and the countryside, trade and industry, architecture, the arts and religion in Britain over four centuries of Roman rule;
- current thinking on the impact of Rome on Britain and the concepts of Romanisation and cultural change.
By the end of this course students will have gained the following skills:
- the ability to evaluate archaeological evidence and use it with other sources of evidence to build up a detailed picture of Britain in the Roman period;
- the ability to describe key changes in towns and the countryside, trade and industry, architecture, the arts and religion in Britain over four centuries of Roman rule;
- the ability to communicate their own ideas about the impact of Rome on Britain and to contribute to current debates on Romanisation and cultural change.
Assessment for this course is based on two written assignments - one short assignment due half way through the course and one longer assignment due at the end of the course. Students will have about two weeks to complete each assignment.
Level and demands
FHEQ level 4, 10 weeks, approx 10 hours per week, therefore a total of about 100 study hours.
Terms and conditions
Terms and conditions for applicants and students on this course
Sources of funding
Information on financial support