ARC1020 - Essential Archaeological Methods

2021/2 Module description

StaffDr Hajnalka Herold - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level4
Pre-requisitesNone
Co-requisitesNone
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module description

Essential Archaeological Methods explains how archaeology is done. It will introduce the business of finding archaeology, whether in the form of individual sites or as interconnected landscapes, and how we then investigate archaeology through excavation and the importance of stratigraphy. After gathering data the archaeological process progresses to the analysis of materials and evidence. The fundamentals of chronology and the use of historical, typological and scientific dating methods are an important element of the process. The investigation of biological evidence that tells us about natural as well as human environments in the past will be introduced. Desk-based exercises will give exposure to some of these methods.

Module aims

The module introduces the most widely used methods of archaeological investigation. 

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate an understanding of the key techniques used in gathering archaeological evidence
  • 2. Demonstrate understanding of the different stages of the archaeological process
  • 3. Appreciate the contribution of science in archaeology and the role of specialist research

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Appreciate how and why different methods are chosen for investigating archaeology and their impact on interpretation

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 5. Understand information presented in a range of written, numerical and graphical forms.
  • 6. Understand the relationship between methods, data and interpretation

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • What and where is archaeology: sites and landscapes
  • Seeing archaeology from afar: aerial survey and remote sensing
  • Seeing archaeology close-up: geophysics
  • Digging archaeology: excavation strategies and stratigraphy
  • Digging archaeology: recording and archiving
  • Dating archaeology: chronology and typology
  • Dating archaeology: scientific methods
  • Analyzing materials and assemblages
  • Spatial and numerical analysis
  • Bioarchaeology: plants and animals
  • Bioarchaeology: human remains

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad
221280

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching22Lecture content
Scheduled learning and teaching128Guided independent study, including reading, research and preparation for classes and assignments

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Practical exercises (face to face or online; online can be synchronous or non-synchronous delivery)10-15 minutes1-6Verbal comment (written comment for non-synchronous delivery)

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams
40600

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Examination601.5 hours (or open book equivalent if closed note examination is not available)1-6Written feedback
Poster40500 words1-6Written feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Examination1500-word essay1-6Referral/Deferral period
Poster500 words1-6Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading (e books):

  • Cunliffe, B., Gosden, C. and Joyce, R. A. (eds) 2009: The Oxford handbook of archaeology. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • David, B. and Thomas, J. (eds) 2008: Handbook of landscape archaeology. Walnut Creek, Calif.: Left Coast Press.
  • Dincauze, D. F. 2000: Environmental archaeology: principles and practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Drewett, P. 1999: Field Archaeology: An Introduction. London: UCL Press.
  • Grant, J., Gorin, S. and Fleming, N. 2015: The archaeology coursebook: an introduction to themes, sites, methods and skills. London and New York: Routledge.
  • Richards, M. P. and Britton, K. (eds) 2020: Archaeological science: an introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Shennan, S. 1988: Quantifying Archaeology. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press.
  • Publications by English Heritage and Historic England on archaeological methods and techniques, available at https://historicengland.org.uk/advice/technical-advice/archaeological-science/

Module has an active ELE page?

Yes

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Available as distance learning?

No

Origin date

30/06/2014

Last revision date

22/10/2020

Key words search

Archaeology, methods

Important please note

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the module descriptors for the Online Module Selection process, please be aware that on rare occasions it may be necessary to remove proposed modules for reasons beyond our control. In addition, there are still some new modules going through the accreditation process. These will be offered in due course by the relevant discipline.

All modules displayed below have been approved by the approval process but may require further minor amendments before the commencement of teaching.

We are committed to providing an outstanding education and high quality teaching. You can find out details of your modules and any potential changes on these pages. If you are a returning student, joining after the first year or a postgraduate student details of your module changes will be provided in August. Find out more about the overall teaching and learning approach on your course, and please be aware that this information may supersede the specified teaching and learning activities within individual modules.

Foreign Language Centre modules 2020/21

Term 1 module codes listed above ending with C, i.e. FLF1115C, are only available to outbound students who are away in Term 2. Students studying all year must select the standard module across both Term 1 and 2.