The module will explore the ways in which buildings can be researched historically, using both primary and secondary sources and archive visits. Basic training in research will be provided.
By the end of the module, students should be able to:
This module builds on the first year module Field Skills where students gain experience of conducting a buildings survey, and of using resources generated from archive research.
Through the term, students will be expected to develop their skills by combining the analysis of primary records in archives with the critiquing of a buildings history report which makes use of primary records (students write their own specialist report in the co-requisite module the following term so it is important that they understand good practice). The formative assessment is designed to provide training and a similar summative assessment is handed in at the end term. Students will be encouraged to keep an archive notebook throughout the term and in week 10 they will be also be assessed on the archive skills they have acquired during practical sessions and on their ability to “think on their feet” in a class test.
The module will provide basic knowledge and skills related to the location, analysis and interpretation of a range of documentary sources which shed light on buildings history. Students will be introduced to the range of sources used by buildings historians and archaeologists, including buildings histories, site reports and to a range of electronic resources, such as archive catalogues, including those of the National Archives. They will learn basic analytical and interpretative skills such as how to interpret site and plot summaries, phased plans, and documentary sources. The importance of these phenomena in relation to the interpretations developed in site reports will be discussed, as will the role of buildings in contributing to our understanding of sites and archaeology more generally. Students will also consider the relationship of buildings archaeology to other specialisms within 'buildings history'.
Teaching will alternate between classroom-based analyses of internet resources and published reports, and archive-based sessions at the Borthwick Institute for Archives, next to the Raymond Burton Library. Here, students will be provided with a unique opportunity to handle, analyse and interpret a range of primary sources in each session. Initial training will be provided in good archive practice, particularly in the conservation and handling of documents. Students will work in small groups, rotating around different documents, sharing ideas and thoughts and making notes to practice for the week 10 practical test.
Finally, the course will allow students to reflect critically on how archaeologists and other buildings historians bring together documentary and material evidence in the analysis and interpretation of buildings through the publication of finds reports and other building histories. This will provide students with an opportunity to compare, contrast and critique different approaches and will provide an important introduction for the work to be undertaken as part of the summer term's 'team project' on archive sources.
This module not only provides practical skills in a certain area but also gives students the opportunity to develop the following skills: