Accessibility statement

Analysing Field Archaeology Data


Module leader: Jim Leary


In recent years, many of the ills of archaeology have been laid at the door of poor management and inadequate forward planning. This module focuses on the relevance of this debate to the post-excavation process, considering these structures and procedures in relation to the analysis of stratigraphic and spatial evidence, and of artefacts and palaeoecological material. In addition, it discusses the process of synthesis and model building, ending with a discussion of how the information which results can be disseminated to our various audiences, both by computer-based systems and via conventional mechanisms.

It should be stressed that this module is not intended to turn you into an expert on animal bones, pottery or whatever (there are Research Skills modules which endeavour to do this). What it is intended to do is make you aware of the analytical potential of the diverse data sets generated by fieldwork, the challenges that arise in unlocking that potential and making links between different types of evidence, and the ways this material can be archived and interpretations published to make all outputs accessible to future researchers.


  • To acquaint students with the major concepts and methodologies employed in the analysis, dissemination and archiving of archaeological field data.
  • To introduce students to the analysis of stratigraphic and spatial data, and to the potential of assemblage analyses for social interpretation.
  • To give students an understanding of how research agendas, organisational factors and IT technologies have affected the changing ways in which field data has been ordered and analysed.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this module students should:

  • demonstrate an awareness of the variety of management strategies and an understanding of how these have been applied in professional archaeology and of their merits/demerits
  • demonstrate understanding of the basic ideas behind monitoring archaeological projects and be familiar with the introduction of MAP2, how this has operated and how it may change in the future
  • be able to construct or critique analytical itineraries that consider stratigraphic and spatial analysis, and demonstrate an awareness of the computer packages used in such work
  • display a working knowledge of approaches to artefact provenancing, dating and typological classification, and of the corresponding work when recording plant, insect and animal remains
  • demonstrate an understanding of the process of synthesising the above evidence might be approached
  • demonstrate an understanding of the development of standards in archiving, taking into account accessibility to archaeological evidence and knowledge enhancement