Practical Skills in Archaeology (ARC1070)

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

Module aims

The module will develop 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. 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

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

  • 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.
  • 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 and Teaching 2010 hours class based learning
Scheduled Learning and Teaching 346 hours practicals
Scheduled Learning and Teaching 8Field visits
Scheduled Learning and Teaching 4Guided 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 words1-7Oral
In class skills projectsVarious illustration and data presentation exercises1-7Oral

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

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:

  • 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.

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Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date


Key words search

Archaeology, field work, survey