Accessibility statement

Practical Skills: Professional and Management Skills in Archaeology

Module leader: Penny Spikins


On this course you will learn about management techniques, and get to meet people who manage large archaeological projects and organisations, in order to get a real ‘flavour’ of what it is like to be responsible for getting an important job done, managing people and balancing different demands on a budget. You’ll learn many skills more generally relevant to management outside of archaeology as well. For the practical skills module you are tested on your ability to respond to changing finances and personnel and maintain project aims, and for the Team Project you'll have a chance to write a ‘real’ project design for funding based on real-world situations, in many cases having an impact on actual funding bids by community or other groups. All a great learning experience, as well as good for the CV!


  • Develop student knowledge, understanding and skills in professional and managerial realms in archaeology.
  • Introduce key management techniques eg project planning, planning and management of field methods, addressing sustainability, management and curation of artefacts.
  • Develop critical skills through the discussion of various case studies

This module will remind students of the commercial structure of archaeology in Britain in the 21st century and attempt to develop those transferable skills which the business environment requires.  It will examine the definition of projects, project management techniques, team building and budgeting strategies to allow the student some insight into those issues which must be balanced by archaeological managers. The module is based on combining online teaching resources (on the VLE) with debate sessions, interviews, lectures and group and individual tasks.

Learning outcomes

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

  • Understand the structure of the 21st century British archaeological model
  • Be familiar with the competitive nature of the archaeological market and the position of the various players in that market
  • Understand the basic principles of project management
  • Be able to define a typical project and monitor its progress to completion
  • Understand the importance of team building and budgeting
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of project management techniques

In this module we are building on the professional and management skills of the Field School team, who have all had experience within the professional world, alongside our existing successful VLE implementation in Field Archaeology, to provide a skills module giving undergraduates valuable business skills.

The learning materials (developed by David Brinklow, Archaeological Consultant, Steve Roskams and Penny Spikins) will use case studies to illustrate professional management skills employed in the field – eg project planning and use of Gantt charts, development of novel or adapted field methods, assessments of sustainability, management of different staff and volunteers, management and curation of artefacts etc.


This module not only provides practical skills in a certain area but also gives students the opportunity to develop the following skills:

  • Self management: it is of vital importance that you learn the practical skills this term so you can apply them next term to your team project so you will need to manage your time well and spend about 10 hours a week in independent study
  • Communication: you will be learning how to communicate the results of work and should be developing both your written and verbal communication skills
  • Team working: although the focus of team working comes next term it is a good idea to begin to work with others in the group and think about how to lead, and follow, effectively
  • Problem solving: this module will require a capacity for analysis, synthesis and the ability to evaluate information from a range of sources
  •  Social, cultural and global awareness: you may be considering case studies from an international context within this module. You should also appreciate the ethical issues involved.
  • Application of IT: you will be using the internet for a range of sources and you will be using word processing packages for presentation of your work
  • Application of numeracy: you will be thinking about how to interpret data
 JCB on building site