Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2007-2008 (archived)


Department: Archaeology


Type Tied Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2007/08


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To enable students to acquire an understanding of research methods, study and presentational skills in archaeology appropriate to Level 4.
  • To provide students with baseline knowledge and skills needed for the practise and understanding of Human Palaeoecological research. These include a range of fundamentally important principles (e.g. principles of stratigraphy, sampling and recovery and the range and nature of palaeoecological data). In addition, they will also be introduced to human palaeoecology within the commercial contract world and learn fundamental skills in research organisation and data management.


  • Using the library and the internet Academic writing Oral and poster presentation skills, including PowerPoint Computing and statistics Research studentship, grant and job applications including writing CVs.
  • The module will consist of paired lectures and workshops, where the lecture will introduce the research theme and then stimulate the supervised practicals the following week. The themes include: 1. Introduction to palaeoecological data. 2. Sampling and recovery of palaeoecological data. 3. Introduction to stratigraphy and dating. 4. Human palaeoecology in the commercial world.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module students will have: 1. Developed the ability to collect and process data in their specialist area, make oral and written presentations and utilise a wide range of resources. 2. Acquired an independent approach to developing their research methods and skills, including the effective use of library facilities and understanding the academic norms of writing.
  • Familiarity and understanding of techniques of sampling and recovery; understanding of the principles of stratigraphy; familiarity with the nature and variety of bioarchaeological data; introduction to the commercial contract world; research grant application simulation; dissertation design
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Ability to critically evaluate the relevance and application of different palaeoecological datasets Ability to formulate and implement sampling and recovery programmes for different palaeoecological datasets. Ability to frame and cost a research project and proposal.
Key Skills:
  • Students will learn to frame, implement and manage research and commercial projects involving large sets of often complex data.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Modes of Teaching and Learning: Lectures introduce students to the key subject areas outlined above. Workshops be used to undertake set assignments related to the key areas. Practicals will provide hands-on experience of palaeoecological material. Field trip will visit a local commercial contract unit working in the field of Human Palaeoecology.
  • Modes of Assessment: Summative: Research-orientated tender for paleoecological analysis within the commercial world and component portfolio.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 14 twice a week 1 hour 14
Seminars/workshops 6 normally every 2 weeks 1 hour 6
Practicals 2 Variable 2 hours 4
Fieldwork 0
Other/field trip 1 3 hours 3
Preparation and Reading 273
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Portfolio Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Statistics Exercise 25%
Academic CV 25%
Outline Grant Application 25%
Article Abstract 25%
Component: Research-orientated tender Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Research-orientated tender 2,000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Computing/statistics exercise. Oral presentation on a paper critique.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University