Accessibility statement

Assessed Seminar: Digital Futures in Archaeology - ARC00085H

« Back to module search

  • Department: Archaeology
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Peter Schauer
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25
    • See module specification for other years: 2023-24

Module summary

This module will explore some of the cutting edge breakthroughs in the use of digital technology to investigate new questions and understand new modes of interpretation and dissemination in archaeology. For example, the use of drones in archaeological recording, artificial intelligence and machine learning, big data, virtual reality, and the sonification of heritage spaces. We will evaluate the implications for diverse audiences, potential climate impact and the ethics and politics of adopting new technologies in archaeology. Students will select a topic of their choice, drawing from case studies with a UK or international focus.

Related modules

A directed option - students must pick an Assessed Seminar module and have a choice of which to take

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2024-25

Module aims

Assessed Seminars seek to develop an understanding of a specialist topic (particularly a critical understanding of the key themes, approaches and opinions). In doing so students should be able to improve their knowledge of the subject area (through reading and preparation for their own seminar, their seminar contributions and involvement in the seminars) and also have the opportunity to develop their skills in chairing a seminar, presenting material and being involved in discussion (including thinking on their feet about the topic being discussed, how to engage interest in the topic and stimulate debate).

Specifically this module aims to:

  • Develop knowledge and understanding of digital methods within archaeology and the intended and unintended implications of use of these methods
  • Develop a critical perspective of the theoretical underpinnings of media use in archaeology
  • Raise awareness of advances in digital archaeology within the context of progressive change and future potential in computer use for interpretation and visualisation in archaeology

Module learning outcomes

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

  • Demonstrate that they are familiar with the literature surrounding digital archaeology and the many sub-disciplines and methods it contains
  • Exhibit a firm understanding of the theoretical, methodological and ethical issues related to the study of digital archaeology
  • Explore a range of case studies and the interpretations of them
  • Prepare a worksheet which sets out key reading and issues for presentation, debate and discussion
  • Chair a seminar, engage interest in a topic, stimulate debate and structure discussion
  • Present on other subjects within the general theme and contribute informed ideas and information to the other seminars

Module content

In a series of lectures and workshops, students will become familiar with the theme of the module. Students will then choose a topic around which they will design and chair a seminar. Seminars and class discussion will encourage a critical approach to the literature and provide preparation for chairing and presenting.

Digital archaeology is both a pervasive practice and a unique subdiscipline within archaeology. Operating as a collective term for many kinds of practice, digital archaeology has been used to describe methods and theory that stem from the use of digital technology to investigate and communicate the past. The diverse digital methods and tools employed by archaeologists have led to a proliferation of innovative practice that has fundamentally reconfigured the discipline. Digital archaeology is at once both highly visible as a practice and increasingly invisible as archaeologists become accustomed to using digital tools. Lively arguments continue about the application of digital tools, their replacement of traditional “analog” methods such as traditional illustration, and the potential for abuse such as surveillance or the mechanisation of what has been viewed as the craft of archaeology. Digital methods may inspire new interpretations or bring wide dissemination of archaeological data, but to what end, and for whom?


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 25
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
1 hours 25
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Contribution to seminars
N/A 10
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Presentation 1
0.17 hours 20
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Presentation 2
0.17 hours 20

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

Students will hand in worksheets before consolidation week (in Week 5) so staff can work out a schedule for students chairing and delivering presentations. Students will need to hand in presentation slides by week 8, either with pre-recorded narration or without if they opt to do it live. Student-run seminars will run from Week 9 to Week 11 where students will chair a 1hr session. Within these seminars, contributions from students will be assessed.


Task Length % of module mark
Short report on best practice in chairing
N/A 25
N/A 25
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Pre-recorded presentation 1
0.17 hours 25
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Pre-recorded presentation 2
0.17 hours 25

Module feedback

Formative: oral feedback from module leaders in class

Summative: written feedback within the University's turnaround policy

Indicative reading

Huggett, J. (2022). Data Legacies, Epistemic Anxieties, and Digital Imaginaries in Archaeology. Digital, 2(2), 267–295.

Morgan, C. (2022). Current Digital Archaeology. Annual Review of Anthropology.

Taylor, J., & Dell’Unto, N. (2021). Skeuomorphism in digital archaeological practice: A barrier to progress, or a vital cog in the wheels of change? Open Archaeology, 7(1), 482–498.

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.