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Spatial Analysis in GIS - ARC00083M

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  • Department: Archaeology
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Helen Goodchild
  • Credit value: 5 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23
    • See module specification for other years: 2021-22

Module summary

This module is aimed at deepening students’ basic GIS skills by developing their understanding of analysis and model building in archaeology. This module will introduce methods beyond standard curatorial GIS practice in archaeology, and introduce skills that will allow innovative archaeological research, as well as enable wider application in cognate disciplines. Students choose this module particularly if they plan to incorporate GIS in their dissertation research.

Related modules

This module follows on from ARC00049M Geographic Information Systems. If you have not completed this course, you may be allowed to attend if you can demonstrate competence in ArcGIS. Contact Helen Goodchild ( well in advance to establish whether you have the requisite skills.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Spring Term 2022-23

Module aims

By engaging with spatial analytical methods in GIS, students will:

  • demonstrate understanding of the different analysis techniques that can be used with archaeological data, and the inherent problems in these datasets

  • carry out problem-solving activities with spatial data

  • have experience of advanced methods such as predictive modelling, geomorphometry and spatial statistics, and be aware of their potential within archaeology

Module learning outcomes

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

  • apply their understanding of the use of GIS in complex, spatially-based archaeological investigation and analysis

  • demonstrate expertise in navigating and analysing with the ArcGIS software

  • create layouts at publication standard

  • apply appropriate spatial analytical techniques to data in order to solve archaeological problems

Module content

The course is taught via a series of lectures and practical computing workshops. We cover basic image processing techniques for LiDAR and satellite imagery, and geomorphometric analysis of landscapes to enable the modelling of terrain, beyond the standard techniques usually employed. Students will look at how to analyze point distributions using spatial statistical techniques. In the latter half of the course, they apply these techniques to a final project of their own choosing, which forms the bulk of their assessment. Many students choose to use this opportunity to carry out pilot projects for their dissertation analyses, but there are a number of pre-set projects that may also be chosen from.

Indicative assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Portfolio 1500 words
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

This is a 5 credit vocational learning module, it aims to equip students with competence in the technical/ specialist skills learned and is Pass / Fail, assessed according to whether the student demonstrates a satisfactory competence or not. The form of assessment cannot be exactly replicated for a student who fails and needs to resubmit, or for a student who is absent for the session in which the assessment occurs. The written alternative assessment is designed specifically to test the same skill learning outcomes through a critique.

Indicative reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Portfolio 1500 words
N/A 100

Module feedback

Feedback will be available within 4 weeks.

Indicative reading

Historic England (2018) Using Airborne Lidar in Archaeological survey  [Online pdf guidance]

Stavrova, T., Borel, A., Daujeard, C., & Vettese, D. (2019) “A GIS based approach to long bone breakage patterns derived from marrow extraction”, PLoS ONE 15(5): e0216733 

Verhagen, P. (2017) “Spatial Analysis in Archaeology: Moving into New Territories”. In C. Siart, M. Forbriger & O. Bubenzer (eds) Digital Geoarchaeology; p11-25.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University constantly explores 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. In some instances it may be appropriate for the University to notify and consult with affected students about module changes in accordance with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.