Course at a glance


Without methods such as photography and modern digital technology, the only way to understand and learn about aspects of past history is by looking at available literature and archaeology.

The course covers what archaeology is (‘the study of ancient things’), what methods it uses, how it is conducted and how evidence is analysed. The course explores the archaeology and history of Britain from the Late Iron Age Period to the fourth century AD when traditionally the Romans came and left Britain.

This course provides an opportunity to enter a past world and to consider the lives and attitudes, perceptions and beliefs of people whose civilization is one of the foundation stones of our modern world – the Roman Empire. The course will also help build research, develop questioning skills and analytical skills which can be used in a wide variety of settings as well as for preparation for further study or practice of archaeology in Britain.

Archaeology Diploma (Roman Britain) Entry Requirements

All students must be 16 years of age and above to enter into our Archaeology Diploma (Roman Britain).

Level 3 Diploma courses require a minimum prior learning to GCSE standard in order that students can manage their studies and the assumed knowledge within course content.

Course Hours

Approximately 20 hours per unit.


Optional coursework and final examination.


Please note that you can enrol on this course at anytime.

Course Length

1 Year.

Endorsed By

Students at the college have the option to choose the awarding body of their course.

This course has been endorsed by :

Quality Licence Scheme:


Accord :

This courses’ awarding bodies are recognised for their high-quality, non-regulated provision and training programmes. This course is not regulated by Ofqual and is not an accredited qualification. Your training provider will be able to advise you on any further recognition, for example progression routes into further and/or higher education. For further information please visit Quality Licence Scheme website or Accord website

Archaeology Diploma (Roman Britain) Course Content

This course is comprised of 10 modules made up as follows:

Archaeology Diploma (Roman Britain) Module One – Iron Age Britain

This module introduces the Diploma course and presents the history of the island of Britain in the Late Iron Age before and after the invasions of Caesar in the 50s BC. It begins with an introduction to the discipline of Archaeology which began in the late 19th century (although people, even Kings, have been digging up sites for much longer), and links to how literary sources are used in the study of Roman Britain. Archaeology is often linked to Anthropology, the study of people. The peoples and tribes of Pre-Roman Britain are introduced along with the principles of Archaeology. The development of archaeology and the most common types of archaeological evidence as well as the processes used to investigate this is explored. The Romans dramatically changed the way life in Britain was administered and so this period continues to be studied, and knowledge is advanced as new scientific techniques emerges to help locate new Roman sites and better analyse artefacts in old sites.

Archaeology Diploma (Roman Britain) Module Two – The conquest of Roman Britain AD 43-117 (Archaeological reconnaissance)

The second module examines the techniques used in archaeology such as how to locate sites, aerial photography, surveys, field walking and sampling. Initially sites were mainly based in cities, but later many rural sites were excavated, often found when building or construction work located them. Using literary and archaeological evidence derived from forts, it is possible to trace the progress of the Roman army across Britain as well as resistance to the Romans by leaders such as Caratacus and Boudicca. The invasion of Britain by the Romans and the conquest of the island until the death of the Emperor Trajan is investigated chronologically and in detail.

Archaeology Diploma (Roman Britain) Module Three – Excavating Roman Britain AD 117-221

Continuing with the theme of how to carry out archaeology, excavation processes is discussed in terms of how and why it is carried out since it is an expensive and destructive process. In the past, land was simply dug, rather than being carefully excavated, as the usefulness of the discoveries became known. Then the techniques were refined and carried out methodologically and judiciously. Layers or ‘strata’ provide a timeline of history and the rules of stratigraphy are essential for successful excavations since they provide an order of the finds. Throughout the course, historical overview of Roman Britain is continued, and in this section up to AD211 examining the reigns of Hadrian through to Septimius Severus. The famous landmark of Northern Britain, Hadrian’s Wall, holds great interest, so is explored in some detail, as well as demonstrating the resistance of the north to the Roman invasion.

Archaeology Diploma (Roman Britain) Module Four: Government of Roman Britain (What survives in the Archaeological Record?)

One of the key influences of the Romans was the way they brought construction, organisational systems, new methods of planning, governance, finance and structure, e.g. extensive road systems in towns and villages. Thus, how the Romans managed to govern the island of Britain through its offices such as the Governors and Procurators; Client rulers as well as taxation and security measures taken to ensure that the province was run effectively is explored. The module also explores why some artefacts and features survive in the archaeological record and others do not. What survives and what factors determine what survives in the archaeological records include issues such as climate, human activity and what is chosen to be preserved and what is burnt or destroyed e.g. in war (but this in itself can preserve the site leaving carbonised remains as evidence of a burned-out village).

Archaeology Diploma (Roman Britain) Module Five: The Roman Army in Britain

This module examines the Roman army in Britain; its role, its organisation as well as some of the military installations and the role in maintaining the Emperor as an Autocrat with power, prestige and position. Throughout the occupation of Britain, the Roman army changed in its role and structure in order to meet the challenges it faced e.g. as they became better organised they developed granaries and latrines that improved the health of the soldiers. The module also examines the role of geophysical surveying methods and the variety of tools used to undertake more precise surveys to identify excavations with precise structures, the best possible finds and results of past life.

Archaeology Diploma (Roman Britain) Module Six: Rural Roman Britain – post-excavation analysis

Initially archaeology focused on Roman villas owned by the very rich and influential with most of excavations having been carried out on them, and yet very few people inhabited such structures. A case study of villas is, therefore, shown here. The majority of people in Roman Britain lived in village homesteads. It will take years to redress the number of excavations to balance the number of town studies to get a more equitable understanding of how the majority of people lived during this time. The rural aspects of Britain through the 1st to 5th century, and the pre-Roman settlements that continued throughout the Roman period are studied here. They call into question just how much Britain changed under the Romans when the majority of the population lived lives relatively unchanged from before the invasion. The module also examines how archaeologists scientifically examine excavated materials once they have been retrieved, and post-excavation analyses as well as techniques used to examine organic material such as bone or animal and human remains.

Archaeology Diploma (Roman Britain) Module Seven: Dating and Urban centres in Roman Britain

Britain was predominantly rural prior to the arrival of the Romans who established urban centres. These centres had distinct characteristics and helped establish a formalised administrative and economy for Roman Britain. The Romans introduced formalised settlements on a scale never before perceived by the inhabitants of Britain. This module will examine the various kinds of settlement established by the Romans and will explore the reasons behind establishing these settlements. The methods used by Rome to ‘Romanise’ Britain is explored, e.g. by building an extensive road system, trade was attracted to the towns and villagers could get a better income. The principle dating methods used by archaeologists from those that can determine a relative date for a site or find, to absolute dating methods is considered. The value of biological material from pollen to the different layers of soil and what they contained was of great value in these dating methods.

 Archaeology Diploma (Roman Britain) Module Eight: Trade, Exchange and communication in Roman Britain

As facilities, trade and economy improved, so the resources obtained and global movement also improved. The Roman army was involved in extending and expanding the number and types of products from gold, corn, cattle and iron to greater range of metals including silver and lead, semi-precious stones, salt, stone and ceramics. Coal was relatively unknown to the Romans so the introduction of this material was valuable to them. This module will place Britain in the context of the wider Roman Empire and explore the villa economies and economic settlements established by the Romans.

Archaeology Diploma (Roman Britain) Module Nine: Understanding Religion and Ritual in Roman Britain

Archaeologists use key concepts in anthropology and sociology to explore and explain the beliefs, rituals and religion by exploring the religious and ritual sites (e.g. towers, sacrificial slabs, altars, temples with finds of religious vessels and instruments) of Britain during the Roman period. To what extent did the Romans introduce new religions into Britain (including cults and Eastern influences) and to what extent did they preserved and adapt to pre-Roman gods. The various ritual centres and structures as well as objects are explored in the UK to gain a wider understanding of the Roman Empire. The examination of religion is particularly valuable in the study of archaeology as it enables us to try to understand how people thought, were like and behaved in the past.

Archaeology Diploma (Roman Britain) Module Ten: The end of Roman Britain? Interpreting Archaeology

In summarising the course, we return to completing the chronology begun in earlier chapters. What caused the end of the Roman occupation of Britain and elsewhere, who else invaded the Island (the Gaul and Saxons as well as local invasions from the north of UK) and how this influence the changes to the economy and the way the country was administered. To this end it is important to consider Britain in the wider context of the Roman Empire, what different views explain the cause of the changes in the late eras, and the various challenges faced causing it to separate and return to the central administration. There were always some who did not succumb to the Roman Empire and difficulties with these people grew in later years. The module will also consider how archaeological evidence is presented to the public and why interpretations of this evidence can change as accurate techniques formed.


This Archaeology Diploma (Roman Britain) can be used to gain entry to a Level 4 Diploma or higher.

Further information on our Level 4 Diplomas can be found here: