History MA/MA(SocSci)

Kingdoms and societies in northern Britain AD 400-800 ARCH4018

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2 (Alternate Years)
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This interdisciplinary course will examine the kingdoms of northern Britain, namely those of the Picts, the Britons, the Gaels and the Anglo-Saxons, between AD400 and AD800, integrating evidence from archaeology, history, literature and onomastics. The mains themes addressed will be politics, beliefs, and daily life, but it will also consider craftsmanship, art and texts. The course emphasises the fragmentary nature of the evidence, and the diverse methodologies necessary to work through them. The interdisciplinary approach will draw evidence from various sources to develop a strong and nuanced understanding of this complex period. Students will be encouraged to develop their own ideas and approaches to the material.


14x1hr lectures, 6x1hr seminar/workshops over 10 weeks as scheduled in MyCampus. This is an honours optional courses in Archaeology and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Excluded Courses

ARCH5018 - Kingdoms and societies in northern Britain AD 400-800 Masters




Exam (90 minutes) - 50%

Essay (2000 words) - 40%

Oral presentation (10 minutes) during Seminar - 10%:

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Provide an understanding of the origins of early medieval Scotland, including key themes of politics, art, belief and daily life

■ Provide an understanding of the role archaeological, textual and historical evidence in assessing the period

■ Provide a strong appreciation of the interdisciplinary nature of the field

■ Develop an awareness of the broader European context of 5th to 8th century Scottish history

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Outline and identify important aspects of the historical, political and social development of northern Britain in the period AD 400-800

■ Critically assess current scholarly debates in relevant disciplines.

■ Formulate well-expressed written and oral arguments drawing on a variety of source material, and working among the different relevant disciplines.

■ Develop oral and IT skills through presentations

■ Expand critical analysis of source material through group discussion in seminars

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.