Heritage Practice

Module Coordinator: James Taylor


This module is designed to introduce first-year students to aspects of heritage practice set within the context of a wider field archaeology project (typically the excavation). By working as part of this wider project team, the ‘heritage practitioners’ will be given hands-on experience of heritage tasks and practices such as desk-based and archival research, and public presentation.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this module students should be able to:

  • Understand the principles of desk-based and archival research
  • Recognise the role of desk-based and archival research within the context of a wider field project
  • Be able to critically assess source materials and appreciate their relevance to research questions
  • Under supervision, undertake basic desk-based and archival research, including text-based and cartographic sources
  • Understand the principles of public presentation
  • Under supervision, undertake basic public presentation including site tours and production of display materials as appropriate
  • Recount the key issues and techniques involved in desk-based and archival research and public presentation
  • Participate and co-operate in team-based work
  • Critically reflect upon the tasks undertaken
  • Communicate ideas through visual media


This module allows you to develop many skills, but particularly:
  • Self management: you need to be punctual for work 
  • Communication: you will have to communicate with others in the team - make sure you ask questions and learn as much as you can about what is going on around you.
  • Team working: this is one of the fundamental skills of this module - you will be learning how to co-operate with others, particularly when putting together your exhibition for the end of term
  • Problem solving: having had a series of lectures, you will be learning how to put this knowledge into practice
  • World of work awareness: this allows you to understand the world of work, how excavations operate, how decisions are made, how large teams are organised, how records and kept and processed etc
  • Application of IT: you will be using PowerPoint for your team exhibition at the end of term 

You had the chance to be creative and think outside the box of what heritage and archaeology have been built up for you to be. It gave me more confidence, and we produced something at the end which we were all really proud of. What was great about it is that we were given the task and we just ran with it.