Credit points


Campus offering

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Unit rationale, description and aim

Archaeologists and historians alike benefit from gaining a close understanding of the nexus between their disciplines. This unit will focus on the valuable contribution archaeologists make in complementing and often correcting our understanding of history derived from literary sources. The Roman occupation of Judaea was, from the creation of the Roman province of Judaea in 6 CE, a time of simmering discontent, conflict and revolts. The Jewish Wars saw the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE and, following the Bar Kokhba revolt, the fall of Jerusalem in 136 CE with extensive depopulation of Judaean communities. It also featured the rise of cults such as the mysterious Essenes, new directions for Judaism, the scattering of Jews from their homeland, and the emergence of early Christianity. The aim of the unit is to examine this turbulent period comparing the archaeological, numismatic, literary and papyrological record of the Roman occupation including military fortifications and urban infrastructure.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Discuss theoretical and factual knowledge of the history of the Roman province of Judaea and an awareness of historical debates surrounding it (GA5, GA6) 

LO2 - Communicate clearly in written and/or oral form, in a style appropriate to a specified audience and appropriately referenced, a variety of primary and secondary materials relevant to the Roman occupation of Judaea to develop an evidence-based historical narrative or argument (GA8, GA9, G10) 

LO3 - Apply critical reading skills to understanding of the Roman occupation of Judaea and the methods that historians and archaeologists have used to research it (GA4, GA5) 

LO4 - Interpret and reflect on key historical debates relating to real-world situations/case studies in the history of the Roman occupation of Judaea (GA4, GA5, GA6). 

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics will include:

  • Judaean history as a Roman province – 6-136 CE  
  • Archaeological, numismatic and papyrological evidence
  • Historical sources, especially Josephus and Cassius Dio
  • Power and politics in Rome and the East
  • The wars of Rome as they played out in the East 
  • The types of rule of Judaea as a free and client state
  • Religions and cults in Judaea
  • Depopulation of Judaea and the scattering of the Jews from their homeland 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This 10 credit-point unit is taught online. The one-hour lectures provide students with content that will help inform their understanding of primary and secondary sources related to the unit’s content, and the two-hour tutorials provide an opportunity for a variety of active learning experiences. Engaging students in active learning gives them the opportunity to work through the challenges that historians grapple with when studying ancient sources, and this will allow students to develop practical skills and learn how to apply them to a study of ancient history.  

This unit has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy. The learning and teaching and assessment strategies include a range of approaches to support your learning such as lectures, tutorials, reading, reflection, discussion, film screenings, skills workshops, and assignments etc. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

The Skills/Knowledge Development Assignment requires students to focus on learning and correctly applying some key discipline and content-specific terminology. This is particularly important in ancient history because students are often introduced to words and concepts with which they are unfamiliar. In completing this assignment students will demonstrate their ability to correctly apply ideas and knowledge relevant to the unit content (LO1) and to express this clearly for an academic audience (LO2). The Active Research Task gives students the opportunity to apply research techniques developed in tutorials, and key content and skills developed in the first assessment to investigate a research question and present their findings in the form of an evidence-based narrative or argument (LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4). The Summative/Analytical Task asks students to reflect on the unit as a whole and draw together themes, ideas and information in response to a specific question or questions (LO2, LO3, LO4). 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Skills/Knowledge Development Assignment 

The key purpose of this task is for students to discuss theoretical and factual knowledge of the archaeology and history of the Roman province of Judaea using relevant terminology to do so. Skills developed in this task will help prepare students for the research task.


LO1, LO2 

GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9, GA10

Assessment Task 2: Active research task

Students will locate, use and appropriately reference a variety of primary and secondary materials relevant to the Roman province of Judaea to develop an evidence-based historical narrative or argument.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4 

GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9, GA10

Assessment Task 3: Summative/Analytical Task(s)

 The purpose of this assessment is for students to demonstrate their knowledge of the topic, critical thinking and clear communication skills and will indicate an understanding of the Roman province of Judaea comparing the types of evidence used to research it. 


LO2, LO3, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Dio Cassius, Bk 69 -*.html

Josephus, The Jewish War, 1967, London, Penguin.

Chancey, M.A. and Porter, A., 2001. The Archaeology of Roman Palestine. Near Eastern Archaeology 64: 164–203.

Eck, W., 1999. The Bar Kokhba Revolt:The Roman point of view. Journal of Roman Studies 89: 76-89.

Gihon, M., 1986. New insight into the Bar Kokhba War and a reappraisal of Dio Cassius 69.12-13. The Jewish Quarterly Review Vol. 77, No. 1: 15-43.

Goodman, M., 1987. The ruling class of Judaea: The origins of the Jewish Revolt against Rome, A.D. 66–70. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Katz, S.T., (ed.) 2006. The Cambridge history of Judaism. Vol. 4, The Late Roman-Rabbinic Period. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Magness, J., 2012. TheaArchaeology of the Holy Land: From the destruction of Solomon’s Temple to the Muslim conquest. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Mildenberg, L., 1984. The coinage of the Bar Kokhba War. Switzerland: Schweizerische Numismatische Gesellschaft, Zurich.

Miller, J.M. and Hayes, J.H. A history of Ancient Israel and Judah. New York: John Knox, 2006.  

Schäfer, P. (ed.) 2003. The Bar Kokhba War reconsidered: New perspectives on the Second Jewish Revolt against Rome. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck.

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