Accessing Archaeology


Module leader: James Taylor


Accessing Archaeology is a course which introduces you to how we actually do archaeology. Although all archaeologists are interested in the people of the past and their material culture, they draw on a diverse and exciting range of sources in their research. Examples are drawn from Prehistoric and Historical archaeology from around the world and you will have the opportunity to work with real archaeological objects and reports.

Module credit: 20 credits
Teaching methods: 1 lecture (2 hours), 7 seminars (2 hours each) 
Practical elements: day-long field trip to visit sites in the Yorkshire landscape, real archaeological objects and sources brought into seminars.

The module is examined through an essay, and students participate in seminars through group work and presentations.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • describe the characteristics of archaeological data generated by particular kinds of site or forms of material culture
  • explain the methods by which different forms of archaeological data are studied by archaeologists
  • select, synthesise and present archaeological data orally and in written seminar papers
  • appraise and debate archaeological data presented to you by others


In this module, from the very start of your degree, you will be practising important skills which will be assessed later on in the programme but importantly which will be of use to you after your degree, whether you decide to continue in academia, or go into a job, of whatever type. The key skills you will be learning in this module are:
  • Self management: you will need to learn to plan your reading and prepare for the seminars
  • Communication: you will be learning to communicate verbally in seminars, and through essay writing
  • Team working: you will be working with others to prepare your seminar presentations
  • Problem solving: within classes you will be learning how to analyse data
  • Application of IT: you will be using PowerPoint for your presentations and should be learning how to find academic papers through the internet
  • Numeracy: in some of the papers you will be need to be able to interpret graphs and tables

I really loved the hands on elements in the seminars.