Archaeology - Early Medieval Society and Culture (MA)
In Britain and Ireland, the period AD 400-1100 witnessed some of the deepest and most lasting changes in society and culture in post-Roman Europe. The withdrawal of the Roman army and administration led the local populations to re-assess and re-assert their identities and allegiances, while the southern and eastern provinces lay open to immigration and influence from the Germanic Continent and Scandinavia. Above and around the ruins of Roman Britain, a new nation emerged within the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. Social and cultural developments in Scotland, Wales and Ireland followed their own paths to effect changes as significant as those that created England. The Viking invasions and settlements then intervened to make their own special contribution to the development of the whole area. Little could continue unchanged. The period saw most of the rural landscape re-organized, the collapse and return of a market economy and of towns, an increasingly sophisticated governmental apparatus leading to the feudal state, the establishment and growth in power of the Church, the birth of our modern languages, and the creation and expression of identities in material, artistic and textual modes. Through the study of settlement forms and patterns, mortuary remains, artefacts, art, literature and place-names, the MA Archaeology pathway in Early Medieval Society and Culture sets the foundations of modern society, cultures and identities in Britain and Ireland within their proper European contexts.
The Early Middle Ages are enjoying great scholarly attention at present, both in Britain and abroad; their academic profile has never been higher. The rich archaeological sources are ideally suited for many developing analytical techniques as well as for multidisciplinary approaches. This field provides much material for post-graduate study at Masters level, either as a worthwhile end in itself or as a stepping stone towards PhD research and a specialist career in the archaeological and heritage professions. The Cardiff MA also includes valuable transferable skills, from research methods and the handling and presentation of data to public speaking and writing for professional audiences.
The Archaeology Masters degree pathway in Early Medieval Society and Culture offers students a focused programme of study based on Cardiff's exceptional teaching and research expertise in this area. Students take 180 credits of modules over one year (full-time) or two years (part-time). Of these 40 credits come from core skills modules, 80 by choosing two of four specialist options, and 60 from an independently researched dissertation.
Please note that some modules are subject to review and may change prior to academic year 2013-2014.
Skills Modules (40 credits)
- Writing Archaeology - 10 credits (HST300)
- Research Methods - 10 credits (HST301)
- Speaking Archaeology - 10 credits (HST302)
Required Modules (80 credits selected from the following)
Dissertation (60 credits)
- The MA Dissertation - 60 credits (HST590)
To find out about funding opportunities please visit our Postgraduate Funding Opportunities page .
The following books offer an introduction to the types of approaches and the range of material contained in the Cardiff Archaeology MA pathway in Early Medieval Society and Culture. Prospective students should consider this list as required preliminary reading.
Alcock, L. 1973. Arthur's Britain. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
Bassett, S. (ed.) 1989. The Origins of Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms. Leicester: Leicester University Press.
Blair, J. 2005. Anglo-Saxon Society and the Church. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Brown, P. 1978. The Making of Late Antiquity. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Cameron, A. 1993. The Mediterranean World in Late Antiquity. London: Routledge.
Charles-Edwards, T.E. (ed.) 1997. The Archaeology of the Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms. London: UCL Press.
Charles-Edwards, T.E. (ed.) 2003. After Rome. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Clarke, H. et al. (eds) 1998. Ireland and Scandinavia in the Early Viking Age. Dublin: Four Courts Press.
Dark, K. 1994. Civitas to Kingdom. Leicester: Leicester University Press.
Edwards, N. 1996. The Archaeology of Early Medieval Ireland. London: Routledge.
Graham-Campbell, J. and Batey, C.E. 1998. Vikings in Scotland: An Archaeological Survey. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Graham-Campbell, J., Hall, R., Jedsch, J. and Parsons, D. (eds) 2001. Vikings and the Danelaw. Oxford: Oxbow.
Hamerow, H. 2002. Early Medieval Settlements: The Archaeology of Rural Communities in North-West Europe 400-900. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Hines, J. (ed.) 1997. The Anglo-Saxons from the Migration Period to the Eighth Century: An Ethnographic Perspective. Woodbridge: Boydell Press.
Hinton, D. 2005. Gold & Gilt, Pots & Pins. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Jones, A.H.M. 1986. The Later Roman Empire, 284-602: a Social, Economic, and Administrative Survey. Oxford: Blackwell.
Knight, J. 1999. The End of Antiquity: Archaeology, Society and Religion AD 235-700. Stroud: Tempus.
Lane, A. and Campbell, E. 2000. Dunadd: An Early Dalriadic Capital. Oxford: Oxbow Books.
Reece, R. 1999. The Later Roman Empire: an Archaeology, AD 150-600. Stroud: Tempus.
Richards, J.D. 1991 (2nd ed.2000). Viking Age England. Stroud: Tempus.
Swift, E. 2000. Regionality in Dress Accessories in the Late Roman West. Montagnac: Instrumentum.
Learning Outcomes and Career Preparation
A particular strength of the Cardiff Archaeology MA pathway in Early Medieval Society and Culture is the preparation it provides for students wishing to pursue non-archaeological careers. Thus, in addition to helping students obtain a detailed and critical archaeological knowledge, the Cardiff MA offers students the chance to acquire and perfect valuable skills critical to careers in many different fields. Often referred to as transferable or generic skills, these skills expand students' individual capabilities and make it easier for students to obtain employment and enter their careers with abilities that are widely considered essential for professional success.
Upon completion of the Archaeology MA pathway in Early Medieval Society and Culture (and all other MA and MScs offered in Archaeology and Conservation at Cardiff), students will have acquired the following skills.
Intellectual skills, including the ability to critically evaluate evidence and its interpretation and to be tolerant of differing interpretations; to sustain a logical argument and reach a conclusion that can be defended; to synthesise and analyse information; to compare and contrast theoretical explanations and to integrate different methodologies.
Communication skills, including the ability to communicate orally in an appropriate professional medium; to make presentations both as an individual and as part of a group; to write effectively at an advanced level.
Numeracy skills, including the ability to display and present numerical data in appropriate formats; and to analyse numerical data and solve basic mathematical and statistical problems.
Information technology skills, including the ability to produce and calculate values using a spreadsheet; to produce and query databases; to use e-mail, the Internet and the World Wide Web; to find, manage and utilise information and data.
Personal skills, including the ability to manage workloads; to adapt and apply skills to new contexts; to assess and formulate priorities, constraints and goals and to adapt to changing circumstances.
Above all, by the end of the Cardiff Masters degree, students will be able to critically assess the work of others and of their own, to engage effectively in debate at an advanced level, to plan, design and carry out a coherent research strategy, and to produce detailed and coherent reports and presentations.
Students applying to take the MA should have (normally) one of the following qualifications:
- at least an Upper Second Class (2.i) undergraduate degree in Archaeology or a related subject.
- An undergraduate degree in archaeology or a related subject from a non-UK university. We encourage applications from students whose undergraduate degrees are from non-UK universities. Please contact the postgraduate admissions tutor to discuss particular requirements.
- Experience, qualifications or achievements in museums, heritage management or another field of relevance. Potential applicants are required to contact the post-graduate admissions tutor.
For more information contact: