Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2010-2011 (archived)


Department: Archaeology


Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2010/11 Module Cap


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To develop a detailed yet broad level of knowledge of the current key issues in the selected period/area of study and to develop a theoretical and empirical basis for future research.
  • To develop the necessary range and depth of knowledge to identify areas within the selected subject domain that could be profitably pursued in further research.


  • The student will undertake largely independent work on a topic agreed with the module tutor and which pursues a detailed and specialised analysis for a specified geographical period/area. An introductory bibliography on the topic will be provided to guide the initial research for the first assignment.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • A detailed understanding of a selected topic within a defined research area;
  • An understanding of complex theory and methodology of the selected research are and its critical application to the selected topic.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • The collection of appropriate archaeological data;
  • The analysis and interpretation of the above data.
Key Skills:
  • Completion of a research-led assignment through largely independent study.

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

  • The primary mode of teaching will be by tutorials, usually of one-hour duration unless agreed differently. Students will be required to undertake specified reading prior to each tutorial; this is a minimum requirement and it is expected that students will supplement this with their own reading. The work of the tutorial will include two formative individual presentations, and guided discussions where all students will be expected to make a contribution. The purpose of the presentation is to introduce the main reading for the tutorial and to outline its key arguments. The discussion will provide all students with the opportunity to engage with a wider range of data, texts and commentaries and to express independent judgement on their meaning and significance. The tutorials will enable the students to develop their abilities to express ideas and defend them against possible criticisms, to learn from alternative theoretical perspectives, to explore issues and arguments in greater depth, and to receive feedback from both the group and the lecturer on their own understanding and presentation. The modes of learning through tutorial presentations, tutorial participation, and essay writing will enhance the student's capacity to organise their material and ideas and to develop independent research and analysis within a supportive learning environment.
  • Students are required to submit a 1500-word formative essay (or practical equivalent) early in the module. This enables them to practice their essay-writing skills, to assess their own progress, and to receive feedback on whether they are achieving at the appropriate level, whether they are sufficiently informed, and they are expressing themselves appropriately.
  • This will be a good preparation for the 2000-word and 3000-word summative essays (or practical equivalents) which students are required to submit at agreed points in the course of the module. This will require students to research, prepare and write highly analytical essays that display knowledge of theoretical issues and an ability to relate these to the practice and interpretation of archaeological material, data and literature. These exercises enable students to demonstrate that they have sufficient subject knowledge to meet the assessment criteria, that they have achieved the subject skills and that they have also acquired the key skills.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Tutorials 10 weekly 1 10
Preparation and Reading 290
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 2,000 words or equivalent 100% Yes
Component: Essay Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 3,000 words equivalent 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:

Two 15 minute tutorial presentations. One 1,500 word essay.

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