Themes in Archaeological Theory and Practice (ARCM120)

StaffDr Marisa Lazzari - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level7
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

To provide knowledge of recent archaeological theory and methods

To provide students with critical analytical skills to discuss and assess current applications of archaeological theory and method to particular case studies


To provide students with a first experience with a range of analytical skills applied to archaeological research through the discussion of case studies and ongoing research projects.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Develop knowledge and appreciation of theoretical approaches that are required for the specific tasks set in the module
  • 2. Develop knowledge and appreciation of methodological approaches that are required for the specific tasks set in the module

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. Demonstrate familiarity with specific skills relating to data and practice in archaeological research
  • 4. Show familiarity with a wide range of theoretical approaches in the discipline, and discern their applicability in a range of contexts

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 5. in public discussion with colleagues in a seminar setting
  • 6. Present developed skills in writing and summarising arguments
  • 7. Present developed skills in oral presentations
  • 8. Present advanced critical analytical skills of both specific case studies and broader thematic issues

Syllabus plan

The module may include topics such as the following:

Recent approaches to archaeological theory; interaction and socio-material networks; time and chronologies; technologies and skill transmission, historical archaeology; spatial analysis; human-environmental relations; indigenous archaeologies; case studies in archaeological research.

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 Activities147 X 2 hour lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities63 x 2 hours Seminars (student led discussions)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities2In-class presentations
Guided independent study128Independent study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay draft plan1500 words1,2,3,4,6verbal
Seminar presentations10 minutes, plus class participation1, 2,3,4,5verbal

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
Verbal critique2015 min max1,3,4,6,8written
Essay804000 words1,3,4,6,8written

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Verbal critiqueWritten critique, 2000 words1,3,4,6,8ref/def period
EssayEssay 4000 words1,3,4,6,8ref/def period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Bentley, A., H. Maschner & C. Chippindale. 2008. Handbook of Archaeological Theories. Altamira Press

David, B. and J Thomas. 2012. Handbook of Landscape Archaeology. Routledge.

Hodder, I. 2012. Archaeological Theory Today. Polity

Johnson, M. 2010. Archaeological Theory: An Introduction (2nd ed.).  Wiley-Blackwell.

Lydon, J. and U Rizvi. 2010. Handbook of Postcolonial Archaeology. Routledge

Meskell, L. and R. McGuire. 2004. A Companion to Social Archaeology. Blackwell

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Key words search

Archaeological theory methods