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Digital Approaches to Archaeology - ARC00132M

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

Module summary

This module will examine the process of designing and implementing a digital project in the archaeology and heritage sector with an emphasis upon data gathering during fieldwork. We will look critically at the ‘digital turn’ as it relates to archaeological practice and methods, we will consider best practice for the management of the digital data we produce, exploring a selection of the most current cutting edge and ‘game changing’ digital methods in archaeology.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2024-25

Module aims

This modules aims:

  • To explore current issues associated with the use of extant digital technologies and best practice for planning and implementing digital archaeological projects
  • To gain an awareness of the application and affordances of digital technologies in archaeology
  • To develop understanding of a range of current and impactful digital technologies

Module learning outcomes

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

  • Demonstrate an awareness of the ethics and responsibilities of digital data management and a clear understanding of digital best practices in Archaeology.
  • Demonstrate a practical understanding of key digital technologies including UAVs and approaches to 3D Data Acquisition in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage
  • Critically evaluate the relative advantages and disadvantages of these technological applications and their analytical uses.

Module content

This module will explore the lifecycle of a digital archaeological project; concepts, practicalities and outputs. Although broadly focused upon field-based applications, the scope of the module will allow us to take a broader perspective and you will work towards designing and developing your own digital project proposal and data management plan. We will begin by thinking about the effect of the so-called ‘digital turn’ upon archaeology; we will consider its ethical implications and its impact upon archaeological practice issues surrounding data management and archiving. The middle part of the course will spotlight a suite of important digital technologies which are having a significant impact upon the discipline more generally. We will critically consider the affordances of these technologies and become familiar with their specific work-flows and deployment. The final part of the module will explore our outputs as digital archaeologists; at this point we will think critically about how we can make our data interoperable and re-usable, and utilise our digital data for advanced analysis, visualisation and reconstruction of the past.


Task Length % of module mark
Project proposal and data management plan
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Project proposal and data management plan
N/A 100

Module feedback

Formative: oral feedback from module leaders

Summative: written feedback within the University's turnaround policy

Indicative reading

Perry, S. & Taylor, J. (2018). ‘Theorising the Digital: A Call to Action for the Archaeological Community’. In: Matsumoto, M. & Uleberg, E., eds. CAA2016, Oceans of Data: Proceedings of the 44th Conference on Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology. Oxford: Archaeopress, pp.11–22. Google Scholar

Richards, J.D., Jakobsson, U., Novák, D., Štular, B. and Wright, H. (2021) ‘Digital Archiving in Archaeology: The State of the Art. Introduction’, Internet Archaeology 58. (you might look at some of the other articles in this special edition).

You might also look at some of the papers in the 2021 Open Archaeology: Special Issue on Archaeological Practice on Shifting Grounds, edited by Åsa Berggren and Antonia Davidovic-Walther.

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.