Researching the Historic Environment Online (ARCM501)

StaffProfessor Oliver Creighton - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value15
NQF Level7
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

The module aims to guide students through the principal sorts of internet-based information available for those working and researching in the professional and academic sectors of archaeology and heritage. It will introduce students to key online resources for researching aspects of the historic environment, with particular emphasis on archaeological sites, artefacts and landscapes. Assessments will encourage students to think critically about these sources of information and their applications, both in research and in the workplace. 

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Show knowledge of the key online resources and specialist web-pages used in contemporary archaeology
  • 2. Develop to a high level communication skills pertinent to the discipline of archaeology using digital media
  • 3. Question and critically evaluate the means of communicating information and ideas within the field through the internet
  • 4. Develop to a high level skills in the on-line organisation and presentation of archaeological research
  • 5. Present information, for a variety of purposes, using electronic media and thereby demonstrate a systematic understanding of knowledge much of which is at the forefront of the discipline
  • 6. Communicate clearly to specialist audiences using appropriate information technologies

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 7. Write technical prose to a high level using appropriate house styles and terminologies
  • 8. Demonstrate an ability to constructively critique academic work and related resources
  • 9. Communicate ideas clearly through a variety of electronic media to peer audiences

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 10. Act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks according to deadlines
  • 11. Develop the ability to receive and act on feedback and constructive academic criticism
  • 12. Exhibit individual initiative and originality in tackling problems

Syllabus plan

Online Archaeology (ADS, CBA etc) 
Communicating research (PowerPoint and other programmes) 
Library resources, bibliographies and catalogues 
Online archives 
National monuments databases (Pastscape, Canmore, Coflein) 
National archives; local records offices 
Local and regional databases 
Heritage online: Virtual museums, Virtual tours 
On-line mapping (Digimap, MAGIC etc) 
Aerial photography and remote sensing online (Google Earth etc) 

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 teaching150A series of 10 online study modules linked to relevant resources on the internet, supported by seminars, ebooks online journals and other digital materials. Students will be supported by the designated tutor through email contact and online discussion using WebCT.

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
on-line tasks in course materialsvariousallemail

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
Written critique of website(s)201000 words allwritten
Analytical study of a database or archive402000 words or equivalent in tables, etc allwritten
PowerPoint presentation4015-20 slides, to include images and text allwritten

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Written critique of website(s)Written critique of website(s), 1000 wordsallReferred/deferred period
Analytical study of a database or archiveAnalytical study of a database or archive, 2000 words or equivalent in tables, etc.allReferred/deferred period
Powerpoint presentationPowerpoint presentation (as a document), 15-20 slides, to include images and textallReferred/deferred period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Alley, M. 1996. The Craft of Scientific Writing. New York: Springer-Verlag. 

Archaeology Data Service, Guides to Good Practice. Available at and in hard copy

Briscoe, M.H. 1996. New York: Preparing Scientific Illustrations: A Guide to Better Posters, Presentations and Publications. New York: Springer-Verlag. 

Condron, F. 1999: Strategies for Digital Data: Findings and Recommendations from Digital Data in Archaeology. York: Archaeology Data Service. 

Daly, P. 2004: Digital Archaeology: Bridging Method and Theory. London: Routledge. 

Davis, M. 1997. Scientific Papers and Presentations. London: Academic Press. 

Hasbani, G. 1999. Making Great Presentations. Plymouth: How to Books. 

Richards, J.D. 2000: Digital Archives from Excavation and Fieldwork: A Guide to Good Practice. Oxford: Oxbow.

Module has an active ELE page?


Available as distance learning?


Last revision date