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Landscape Survey and Geophysics - ARC00119M

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

Module summary

This module will give an overview of how landscape survey and geophysical data can be captured, processed, and understood. It will introduce basic methodology in non-destructive survey techniques, explore methods of measurement and analysis, and how to communicate those results through drawing and publication. The module focuses particularly on analysis and interpretation of data, and deals with data collected from a variety of means, including hand drawn surveys, Lidar, and two of the most commonly used geophysical techniques (gradiometry and resistance).

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2023-24

Module aims

This module aims:

  • To introduce the various methods of landscape survey and geophysics and familiarise students with the main techniques
  • To understand how survey data can be captured and applied, and to consider why these are important to the broader discipline of landscape archaeology
  • To comprehend the information potential and limitations of these types of survey

Module learning outcomes

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

  • Demonstrate an systematic understanding of survey basics and frameworks to capture their own data
  • Demonstrate a practical understanding of how established techniques are used to create and interpret knowledge, specifically geophysical plots, earthwork survey drawings, lidar analysis and geophysical data processing
  • Demonstrate self-direction in acquiring mapping data sets from online repositories
  • Communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences through the use of a digital drawing package to integrate and present results

Module content

This module is split between two types of survey: the surface, including earthworks and other landscape features; and the sub-surface via geophysics. It is taught via a series of recorded lectures and in-person practical workshops, and comprises an introduction to the main non-destructive survey methods along with a close examination of how to understand and interpret these kinds of data.

Students will carry out exercises in basic Lidar processing using open source tools, and data processing of geophysical data. There is a focus on the use of digital drawing packages for the presentation of results of both landscape and geophysical survey. Finally, the assessment takes the form of a grey literature report, allowing you to present your results in a professional context.


Task Length % of module mark
Grey literature report and digital drawing
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Grey literature report and digital drawing
N/A 100

Module feedback

Formative: oral feedback from module leaders

Summative: written feedback within the University's turnaround policy

Indicative reading

Gaffney, C. and J. Gater (2003) Revealing the Buried Past: Geophysics for Archaeologists. Tempus.

Historic England (2017) Understanding the Archaeology of Landscapes. A Guide to Good Recording Practice.

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.