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Digital Knowledge Production in Archaeology - ARC00007M

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  • Department: Archaeology
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Tim Evans
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23
    • See module specification for other years: 2021-22

Module summary

Digital Knowledge Production in Archaeology covers the critical fundamentals of making archaeological data findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable online. This module introduces a wide range of subjects surrounding the ever-growing use of the internet for the dissemination of heritage information. The pivotal theme of the course is to consider how this platform offers opportunities to overcome some of the fundamental issues affecting our discipline, namely: publication and data backlogs. In tandem we'll also look at the challenges: how do we find things, how do we know they're reliable and how do we prevent data loss?

The module is designed for anyone with an interest in how we're using the internet for our work; all technologies, concepts (and acronyms!) are approached at an introductory level.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Spring Term 2022-23

Module aims

To introduce the main digital technologies used for the dissemination of archaeological information, awareness of how the technologies have been applied, and their relative pros and cons.

Module learning outcomes

  • Knowledge of the development of digital dissemination, publication and archiving in general, with particular knowledge in relation to archaeology and cultural heritage
  • Knowledge of key internet technologies
  • Understanding of relative advantages and disadvantages of different technologies and applications

Module content

Over the term we will look at the history of the internet, noting key advances and historic use by our field. We will also look at the rise of electronic publishing, self publishing (via blogs) web-based dissemination of grey literature, and the Open Access movement. The module will also discuss Digital Archives, including why we need them and how they work. We will also look at initiatives to facilitate the sharing of information: introducing metadata and looking at specific metadata standards relevant to archaeology and heritage. We will look at the world of Web Services, seeing how they work and relative strengths and weaknesses. Finally, we'll look at Linked Data and other aspects of the semantic web, dispelling some myths and looking at the rich potential for opening up heritage datasets.

The module is based around lectures from the module leader often with live demonstrations of particular sites to help explain and give context to particular concepts, such as Web Services or Linked Data, that may be new to some. Students will be assigned their own work to present to the class, both in the form of traditional reading-based tasks, but also reviews of websites or reports on particular technologies in action.


Task Length % of module mark
Essay - 3500 words
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Essay - 3500 words
N/A 100

Module feedback

Feedback will be available within 6 weeks

Indicative reading

Huggett, J. (2019) Resilient scholarship in the digital age. Journal of Computer Applications in Archaeology, 2(1), pp. 105-119.

Wright, HE & Richards, JD (2018) Reflections on Collaborative Archaeology and Large-Scale Online Research Infrastructures, Journal of Field Archaeology, vol. 43, no. S1, pp. S60-S67.

Richards, JD (2018) 'Internet Archaeology' and digital scholarly communication. in A Benardou, E Champion, C Dallas & L Hughes (eds), Cultural Heritage Infrastructures in Digital Humanities. Routledge , London and New York, pp. 36-47.

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.