Accessibility statement

Gathering Field Archaeology Data


Module leader: Jim Leary


This module seeks to provide students with an understanding of the context within which archaeological fieldwork now takes place in the profession and the implications of this for how it is planned and carried out. In addition, it aims to develop understanding of the archaeological resource and the key methods of reconnaissance, data acquisition and recording methodologies that might be deployed in order to successfully procure data in a variety of situations.

The module will consider these techniques, within their legislative context, from a number of different perspectives in the archaeological sector (curator, commercial consultant and commercial contractor), as well as exploring the difference between ‘commercial archaeology’ and ‘research archaeology’ (and the extent to which this is a useful or valid dichotomy anyway). This is all done with a view to informing decision making in any subsequent role you have in designing and managing archaeological projects.


  • To provide you with a thorough knowledge of how, and why, archaeological fieldwork has developed over time.
  • To acquaint you with the major concepts and methodologies employed within modern fieldwork and understand their impact on data gathering.
  • To give you the contextual knowledge and understanding of field methods required to make informed decisions in the design and management of archaeological projects.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this module you should:

  • demonstrate an awareness of the organisational and legislative context within which fieldwork operates
  • display an understanding of how the skills needed in reconnaissance, evaluation and full scale fieldwork might be best deployed
  • recognise the practicalities, and problems, of implementing archaeological projects
  • articulate the implications of the above for strategy and project design

Survey at field school 2006