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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : History

Undergraduate Course: The kings in the north: Scotland in the early Middle Ages (HIST10428)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryBefore Scotland became Scotland, the north of Britain was home to many kingdoms, whose inhabitants spoke different languages and possessed different identities. During the early Middle Ages, this variegated landscape was transformed by social and political changes, resulting in the eventual emergence of a 'kingdom of Scotland' in the tenth century. This course guides students through this fundamental period in British history, looking particularly at issues of identity, ethnicity and kingdom-building in the period c.400-950 CE.
Course description Between the fifth century and the tenth, the north of Britain was transformed. Powerful kingdoms rose and fell; new ethnic identities emerged; and by the end of the tenth century, a 'kingdom of Scotland' had begun to take shape. This course explores the processes by which these developments came about, and introduces students to a formative period in the social and political history of the British Isles.

The inhabitants of early medieval Scotland have left few written sources about their life and societies. But their monumental artwork and archaeological remains, along with records from their neighbours in southern Britain and Ireland, allow us to piece together their history. A great deal of the material remains of early medieval Scotland are now held here in Edinburgh, at the National Museum of Scotland. This course offers opportunities for students to engage with this unique and fascinating material for themselves, and to think about ways in which such enigmatic artefacts can be used to introduce the public to this important period in Scotland's history.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements A pass or passes in 40 credits of first level historical courses or equivalent and a pass or passes in 40 credits of second level historical courses or equivalent.
Before enrolling students on this course, Personal Tutors are asked to contact the History Honours Admission Administrator to ensure that a place is available (Tel: 504030).
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students must have 3 History courses at grade B or above. We will only consider University/College level courses. Enrolments for this course are managed by the CAHSS Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department. All enquiries to enrol must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework:
2,500 word Essay (40%)
3,000 word Virtual Museum Exhibition (60%)
Feedback Students will receive written feedback on their coursework, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the Course Organiser during their published office hours for this course or by appointment.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. understand the major contours of the history of northern Britain in the early Middle Ages;
  2. conduct close analysis of a wide variety of primary source material, and to bring together textual and material evidence as appropriate in the service of their own arguments and interpretations of the period;
  3. engage critically with the arguments of previous scholars, and position their own views and interpretations in relation to it;
  4. demonstrate in their coursework the ability to develop and sustain scholarly arguments in written form;
  5. reflect on the challenges of presenting historical and archaeological material to non-specialist audiences and the general public, and develop their own responses to those challenges by assembling a virtual museum exhibition.
Reading List
Clarke D., A. Blackwell and M. Goldberg, Early Medieval Scotland: Individual, Communities and Ideas (Edinburgh, 2012)
Clarkson, T., The Men of the North: The Britons of Southern Scotland (Edinburgh, 2010)
Forsyth, K., 'Scotland to 1100', in J. Wormald (ed.), Scotland: A History (Oxford, 2005), pp. 9-35
Foster, S., Picts, Gaels and Scots: Early Historic Scotland (3rd ed., Edinburgh, 2014)
Markus, G., Conceiving a Nation: Scotland to 900 AD (Edinburgh, 2017)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Richard Sowerby
Tel: (0131 6)50 3854
Course secretaryMiss Lorna Berridge
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