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Discovering Archaeology - ARC00004C

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  • Department: Archaeology
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Elaine Jamieson
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: C
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25

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 Semester 2 2024-25

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:

  • Demonstrate awareness of the history, range of techniques and logistics involved in fieldwork planning

  • Demonstrate a practical understanding of a range of field skills

  • Communicate an appreciation of the different fieldwork techniques that they have learned, through oral presentation

Module content

In the first part of this module we introduce you to how sites are discovered through aerial photography, remote sensing and archival research. You will learn about ‘the art of excavation’ which includes project design and evaluation, development archaeology and you will also be introduced to professions and careers in organisations such as local government and Historic England. There will also be practical sessions covering skills such as recording, artefacts, survey and photography.

Towards the end of the module, students will go on a departmental excavation which provides hands-on experience and introduces you to all aspects of assessing and collecting data. This is a research excavation and thus you will be involved in making new discoveries and a genuine contribution to our understanding of the past.


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

Students will work week by week towards their summative assessment during their activities in class and during excavation.

The assessment for Discovering Archaeology will be due one week after the student finish excavation - there will be 2 deadlines as the cohort will be split into two groups for excavation which will excavate sequentially for two weeks each.


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Module feedback

Formative: oral feedback from module leaders in class and during excavation

Summative: written feedback within the University's turnaround policy

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.

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.