Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2011-2012 (archived)

Module ARCH40290: Dissertation

Department: Archaeology

ARCH40290: Dissertation

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 90 Availability Available in 2011/12 Module Cap None.
Tied to F4K707


  • Conservation Theory & Conservation Skills.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To engage the student in advanced level research; practising, developing and demonstrating their research skills in conservation or object analysis.


  • Based in the laboratories in Durham, the student undertakes research in an aspect of object conservation. In doing the research the student becomes familiar with the published literature on a research topic, develops a research design, collects data or information (data/information may be recovered from library, laboratory or field work), critically evaluates it and draws appropriate conclusions. They write and present a dissertation of up to 18,000 words.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • A detailed knowledge of the physical and chemical basis for the decay, stabilisation and conservation processes of ancient and historic materials in order to appreciate and recover the information contained in every object.
  • A detailed understanding at an advanced level of archaeological and historic materials and technologies.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Developed a capacity to devise experiments or derive information to answer fundamental research questions in conservation.
Key Skills:
  • An advanced knowledge of methods of analytical investigation.
  • Communication skills in written, image, computer and verbal formats to a professional standard.
  • Demonstrated to a professional standard an ability to undertake research, collect information (data) and critically evaluate it, and to draw appropriate conclusions.

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

  • Teaching is primarily provided through tutorials.
  • Learning is primarily achieved through undertaking the research.
  • Assessment is achieved through an 18,000 word dissertation.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Tutorials 14 0.5 7
Seminars 1 1 1
Self Study & Research 892
Total 900

Summative Assessment

Component: Dissertation Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Dissertation 18000 words 100% 1

Formative Assessment:

Research Design (3K words) - early December, Seminar & Poster - February / March.

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