Practical Skills in Archaeology (ARC1070)

StaffDr Laura Evis - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level4
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks; Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

The module will develop a range of practical skills in the application of key archaeological principles and use these in a case-study that will be set within current professional archaeological practice.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Use basic archaeological techniques under guidance
  • 2. Develop skills in linking data collected in the field with site interpretation
  • 3. Produce a report conforming to standard formats applicable in contemporary professional archaeology
  • 4. Work within health and safety regulations

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 5. Ability to plan group based data collection

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 6. Contribute to working as a team
  • 7. Develop basic mapping skills
  • 8. Produce clear and concise written work, following guidelines and deadlines

Syllabus plan

  • Professional context of British archaeology; PPG16 and the planning process.
  • Introduction to case study; health and safety in fieldwork.
  • Introduction to archaeological survey equipment.
  • Site visit: field observations; preliminary archaeological survey.
  • Understanding maps: historic maps; ordnance survey maps; grid referencing; using on-line mapping resources.
  • Understanding aerial photographs: vertical and oblique photographs.
  • Sites and monuments records: collation and analysis.
  • Visualising the archaeological record: photographs and drawings
  • Geophysical prospection: techniques and practice
  • Introducing GIS and spatial analysis
  • Analysis of data and writing an archaeological desk-based assessment.

Summary and conclusions. 

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

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning activity2010 hours class based learning
Scheduled learning activity346 hours practicals
Scheduled learning activity8Field visit
Scheduled learning activity4Guided online self study items
Guided independent study234Guided independent study, including reading, research and preparation for classes, practical work and assignments.

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Field observation (preliminary field-based archaeological analysis of a site/landscape)500 words1-7Verbal
In class skills projectsVarious illustration and data presentation exercises1-7Verbal

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Case study report602000 words with illustrative material1-8Written feedback sheet
Techniques report401000 words with illustrative material1-8Written feedback sheet

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Case study reportCase study report 2000 words1-8Refer/Defer period
Techniques reportTechniques report 1000 words1-8Refer/Defer period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Bowden, M. 1999: Unravelling the Landscape. Tempus

Drewett, P. 1999: Field Archaeology: An Introduction. London.

Flatman, J. 2011: Becoming an Archaeologist: A Guide to Professional Pathways. Cambridge.

Wilson, D. 2000: Air Photo Interpretation for Archaeologists. London.

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Institute for Archaeologists Website:

Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date


Key words search

Archaeology, field work, survey