Essential Archaeological Methods (ARC1020)

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

Module aims

The module introduces the most widely used methods of archaeological investigation and gives a logical progression through the archaeological process. 

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. Appreciate how and why different methods are chosen for investigating archaeology and their impact on interpretation
  • 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
22.25127.750

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching2211 x 2 hour classes
Scheduled Learning and Teaching0.25Individual tutorial
Guided Independent Study127.75Guided 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
In class tasksVarious practical exercises using Archaeological data1-6Oral feedback

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 hours1-5Oral and written
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 essay1-5Ref/Def period
PosterPoster 500 words1-6Ref/Def 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:

  • Aitken M.J. 1990 Science-Based Dating in Archaeology. London: Longman.
  • Bowden, M. 1999: Unravelling the Landscape. Tempus
  • Brothwell, D.R. and Pollard, A.M. (eds) 2001 Handbook of Archaeological Sciences. Chichester: Wiley.
  • Drewett, P. 1999: Field Archaeology: An Introduction. London.
  • Renfrew, C. and Bahn, P. 2008 Archaeology: theories, methods and practice 5th Edition. London: Thames and Hudson.
  • Shennan, S. 1988 Quantifying Archaeology. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press.
  • Wilkinson, K. and Stevens, C. 2003: Environmental Archaeology. Stroud: Tempus.

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

23/08/2018

Key words search

Archaeology, methods