Research Methods and Archaeological Theory (ARCM100)

StaffDr Marisa Lazzari - Convenor
Dr Ioana Oltean - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level7
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks; Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

To provide knowledge of archaeological theory and methods, from earlier approaches to more recent developments in archaeological research.

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 practical 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 know how to make use of them in a range of contexts

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 5. Engage in public discussion with colleagues in a seminar setting
  • 6. Present developed skills in writing and summarising arguments
  • 7. Design and plan research
  • 8. Prepare posters, for conference or commercial use, that are content-rich and visually appealing

Syllabus plan

The module will include topics such as the following:

Brief history of archaeological theory and method: processual & post-processual approaches; agency, practice and social reproduction; social interaction & ancient networks; methodology in experimental archaeology; issues and methods in historical archaeology; research design & managing datasets; descriptive statistics; spatial analysis of data; human & environmental relations; postcolonial and indigenous archaeologies.

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
Lectures3819 x 2 hour lectures
Seminars6Student led discussion
Workshops52 x 2 hours, 1 x 1 hour

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Seminar presentations20 minutes1, 2,3,4,5Verbal feedback
Workshops3 hours1,2,3,4,6,7Verbal feedback (lecturer and peers)

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
Essay354000 words1,3,4,6Written
Research design302500 words1,2,3,4,6,7Written
Poster15A3 poster (800 words)2,3,5,8Written and verbal feedback in class
Debate202000 words and verbal participation in class1, 4-6Written and verbal feedback in class

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay 4000 words1,3,4,6Refer/Defer period
Research designResearch design 2500 words1,2,3,4,6,7Refer/Defer period
PosterA3 Poster (800 words)2,3,5,8Refer/Defer period
Debate2000 words1, 4-6Refer/Defer period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

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

Briscoe, M.H. 1996: Preparing Scientific Illustrations: A Guide to better posters, presentations and publications. New York: Springer-Verlag.

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

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

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

Hodder, Ian. 2001. Archaeological Theory Today. Cambridge: Polity.         

Meskell, L. and R. Preucel (eds). 2004. A Companion to Social Archaeology.Oxford: Blackwell

Module has an active ELE page?


Available as distance learning?


Origin date

November 2011

Last revision date


Key words search

Archaeology, research, theory