Accessibility statement

History & Theory - ARC00005C

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  • Department: Archaeology
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Tom Fitton
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: C
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2019-20

Module aims

This module aims to introduce students to the history of archaeological thought from the nineteenth century to the present. It aims to provide students with a critical understanding of the development of the discipline of archaeology world-wide, thereby providing a basis for a critical appreciation of current archaeological practice and theory. The module will introduce students to a range of theoretical debates and, through reading a combination of textbooks and original papers, students are exposed to the emphases, terminology and assumptions behind the various theoretical movements as applied to archaeology. Analysis of case studies, drawn from a range of regions around the world, will be utilised to help explain the development and application of various theoretical approaches. Case studies will be used to illustrate the impact of theoretical developments on archaeological practice and the subsequent implications this had for the development of the discipline both regionally and world wide.

Module learning outcomes

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

  • appreciate that all archaeologists apply theoretical principles to their work, consciously and unconsciously
  • recognise that interpretations of data may differ because of the theoretical positions of archaeologists
  • have a basic understanding of the principles and applications of Culture history, Processualism, Marxism, Structuralism, Postprocessualism and various other critical approaches and be able to place their development and application within a historical, political, international context
  • begin to appreciate the links between theory and practice and to understand how the wider social and political context of archaeology has influenced the development of the various theoretical positions within the discipline
  • understand the role of British archaeology in the development of the discipline world wide and to recognise the influences of other regional archaeologies on the development of theoretical debates within the wider discipline
  • begin to appreciate which theoretical positions they feel are most appropriate for their own studies, and which relate to their wider world view
  • learn to work in small teams to produce seminar output, and improve their oral presentation and argument skills within the seminars


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Module feedback

Processes for written and verbal feedback are detailed on our deadlines pages:

Formative assessment.

Summative assessment.

Indicative reading

Reading is accessible via the module web pages and VLE.

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.