Accessibility statement

Discovering Archaeology - ARC00004C

« Back to module search

  • Department: Archaeology
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Jim Leary
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: C
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

Module summary

How do we gather archaeological data in the field? What makes a great excavation? Who pays for archaeology? What are the logistical challenges and legal requirements involved in doing archaeology? And once we have gathered archaeological data in the field what do we do with it afterwards? These are just some of the many questions we will discuss during this module. It will give you wide-ranging, advanced practical skills, as well as a deep theoretical knowledge and understanding of archaeology, whatever career you plan to go into.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Autumn Term 2022-23 to Spring Term 2022-23

Module aims

This module aims to:

  • Introduce what is entailed in prospecting for archaeological sites

  • Introduce the collection and assessment of primary data

  • Provide a hands-on experience of a variety of key archaeological field skills.

Module learning outcomes

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

  • be aware of the planning process and approaches to project design
  • appreciate the range of non-invasive techniques that archaeologists employ
  • understand approaches to fieldwalking and the practical application of these
  • participate in laying out grids and fieldwalking techniques
  • recognise a range of artefacts and their significance for evaluation
  • understand the process and assist with a general survey of landscape features
  • understand the method and assist with geophysical survey
  • describe methods of building recording
  • recognise forms of representation in building recording
  • have a basic knowledge of the structural elements of buildings
  • contribute to the recording of a plan and elevation of an upstanding building

Module content

This module seeks to provide students with an understanding of the context within which archaeological fieldwork now takes place in the profession and the implications of this for how it is planned and carried out. In addition, it aims to develop understanding of the archaeological resource and the key methods of reconnaissance, data acquisition and recording methodologies that might be deployed in order to successfully procure data in a variety of situations. As well as the ways this material can be archived and interpretations published to make all outputs accessible to future researchers.


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Module feedback

Formative: The marker will share written feedback with you in a timetabled one-to-one meeting and you will have the opportunity to ask further questions about how to improve your work before your summative assessment. It is important that you attend these feedback sessions to discuss your work and to gain a good understanding of how markers use Grade Descriptors to mark your work. If you are unable to attend the feedback session, your tutor will share the formative feedback with you digitally.

Summative: Written feedback sheets will be uploaded to your e:vision account (your personal University of York online services account) within 20 working days of the submission deadline, along with your overall mark for the module. There will also be a timetabled feedback meeting with the marker.

Indicative reading

Carver, M (2009) Archaeological Investigation. London: Routledge.

Flatman, J, (2011) Becoming an archaeologist: a guide to professional pathways. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Roskams, S (2001) Excavation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Detailed reading for the module will be available via YorkShare (the University's virtual learning environment). When you have enrolled on a module, you will be able to access the full reading list.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.