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Analysing Field Archaeology Data - ARC00021M

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

Module summary

Once we have gathered archaeological data in the field what do we do with it? Where does it go? How do we analyse the information? What should archaeological publications look like? Who should store and archive the information and artefacts once we have analysed them? This module will answer these questions and debate the considerable challenges involved. 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. You will learn to think strategically about the analysis and dissemination of field archaeology data.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Spring Term 2022-23

Module aims

This module will give students a thorough knowledge of the processes of data analysis and interpretation in field archaeology

  • to bridge the gap between professional and research communities

  • to acquaint students with the main methods employed in analysing a range of data generated in modern fieldwork

  • to provide students with a general understanding of diverse approaches to the interpretation of fieldwork evidence and dissemination of results, thus generating the detailed vocational skills required for developing a career in the archaeological profession, whether in the UK or beyond

  • to develop the students ability to gather and organise information and arguments in a critical and independent manner through writing essays or producing projects

  • to develop the students presentational skills through the delivery of seminar papers

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should

  • understand the planning and management of projects post-excavation

  • comprehend the analytical potentials of the various classes of information generated by archaeological fieldwork

  • gain a detailed knowledge of particular techniques of analysis

  • become aware of the practicalities, and problems, of archiving, publishing and otherwise disseminating the results of archaeological fieldwork

  • develop transferable skills in group work and oral presentations

Module content

In recent years, many of the ills of archaeology have been laid at the door of poor management and inadequate forward planning. This module focuses on the relevance of this debate to the post-excavation process, considering these structures and procedures in relation to the analysis of stratigraphic and spatial evidence, and of artefacts and other material. In addition, it discusses the process of synthesis and model building, ending with a discussion of how the information which results can be disseminated to our various audiences, both by computer-based systems and via conventional mechanisms.

It should be stressed that this module is not intended to turn you into an expert on animal bones, pottery etc. What it is intended to do is make you aware of the analytical potential of the diverse data sets generated by fieldwork, the challenges that arise in unlocking that potential and making links between different types of evidence, and the ways this material can be archived and interpretations published to make all outputs accessible to future researchers.


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

Bradley, R (2006) 'The excavation report as a literary genre: the traditional practice in Britain' in World Archaeology 38.4, 664-71

Roskams, S (2001) Excavation

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.