Experimental Archaeology in Practice 1 (ARCM102B)

StaffProfessor Linda Hurcombe - Lecturer
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15.00
NQF Level7
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

To apply the principles of experimental archaeology through reflective practice and to acquire basic competence in key areas and to learn basic experimental methodology and experiment design.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate originality in identifying opportunities for experimental methodology
  • 2. Demonstrate a practical understanding of pertinent technologies, functions and identification methods for two elements (or equivalent) from: lithics, organics (including some zooarchaeology), ceramics, metallurgy or other technology
  • 3. Demonstrate practical experience to a reasonable level of a variety of archaeological materials
  • 4. Deal with complex issues systematically and creatively within acknowledged ethical, safety and conservation issues

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 5. Evaluate critically and select and apply the methods of recording and analysis most appropriate for case studies
  • 6. Write clearly to a high level and succinctly using appropriate language and illustrative material completing work to a deadline

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Demonstrate the ability to work as an independent individual 9. demonstrate the ability to work as part of a team
  • 8. To be able to design experiments and evaluate experimental designs and results.

Syllabus plan

Students must attend scheduled sessions from the following syllabus  Ceramics; Lithics;  Zooarchaeology;  Archaeometallurgy;  Butchery;  Functional Analysis theory;  Organics and Functional Analysis;  Organics;  Individual Projects;  Visits/Projects at external centre; Critique of published experiments.

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 activities33Introductory lectures, seminars: observation and participation in experiments and visits; practicals: virtual, visual and physical self study packs
Guided independent study267

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
Reflective journal 603500 words max 1,2,4,5,6,7,8 Mark plus written feedback
Critique402000 words max4,5,6,7,8Mark plus written feedback

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
JournalJournal 3500 words max1,2,4,5,6,7,8Refer/Defer period
CritiqueCritique 2000 words max4,5,6,7,8Refer/Defer period

Re-assessment notes

Revised reflective log

New critique

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

There will also be a video library associated with this course. Bradley, B. Flintknapping with Bruce Bradley (DVD) Cortez, Colorado: INTERpark Fullagar, R. (ed) 1998: A Closer Look: Recent Australian Studies of Stone Tools. Sydney: Sydney University.

Hurcombe, L. 1992: Obsidian Usewear Analysis: Theory, Experiments, Results. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press.

Juleff, G. 1998 Iron and Steel in Sri Lanka Mainz am Rhein: Verlag Philipp von Zabern.

Outram, A. and P. Rowley-Conwy 1998: Meat and marrow utility indices for horse (Equus) Journal of Archaeological Science 25, 839-849.

Wiseman, J. 1986: The SAS Survival Handbook London: Collins Harvill. Mears, R. 1990: The Survival Handbook Oxfrod: Oxford Illustrated Press.

Rye, O. 1981: Pottery Technology Washington: Taraxatum.

Whittaker, J. 1994 Flintknapping: Makingand Understanding Stone Tools Austin: University of Texas Press

Module has an active ELE page?


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Key words search

Archaeology, Experimental, Practical