Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2012-2013 (archived)


Department: Archaeology


Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2012/13 Module Cap
Tied to


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To enable students to acquire an advanced understanding of research methods, study and presentation skills in archaeological science.


  • Research ethics in archaeological science.
  • Academic writing skills.
  • Producing research designs and research applications.
  • Producing academic and professional CV’s.
  • Oral and poster presentation skills, including Powerpoint presentations.
  • Computing and statistics.
  • Producing technical reports and publically-accessible briefing notes based on archaeological science data.
  • Sampling and recovery of archaeological science data and archaeological science in the commercial sector (MSc Archaeological Science students)
  • Radiographic analysis in human bioarchaeology (MSc Palaeopathology students).
  • Introduction to biomolecular archaeology.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • At the end of the module the student will have:
  • an understanding of the range of scientific techniques that can be applied to organic remains and their current and future potential to investigate the human past;
  • an understanding of contemporary professional principles and good practice pertaining to archaeological science and its broader context within archaeology.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • At the end of the module the student will have:
  • undertaken practical scientific analysis of organic remains and gather data in a specialised area of archaeological science;
  • analysed and presented scientific data in a specialised area of archaeological science using appropriate media and comparative material;
  • developed the ability to collect and process data in archaeological science and utilise a wide range of research resources;
  • 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.
Key Skills:
  • Ability to synthesize argument critically
  • Ability to understand and interpret data appropriately and critically
  • Ability to express complex arguments clearly and concisely
  • Ability to communicate in a range of formats to a variety of audiences
  • Competence in the use of IT resources, e.g. word processing, statistical software, databases, presentation software, web-based resources
  • An ability to produce work to prescribed guidelines and deadlines.

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

  • The module will be delivered using a mixture of lectures, seminars and practical sessions. It aims to help students gain skills necessary for the world of work and/or research. Therefore the delivery methods and assessment are focused on attaining those skills e.g. oral and written communication, computing and statistical analysis, 'career development', and methods of analysis in archaeological science.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 Bi-weekly 1 hour 20
Practicals/Workshops 10 Weekly 2 hours 20
Preparation and Reading 260
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Grant application or project design Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Grant application or project design 2500 words 100%
Component: Journal paper critique Component Weighting: 25%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Journal paper critique 1000 words 100%
Component: Statistics exercise Component Weighting: 25%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Statistics exercise 1000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

A 500 word summary for a web-site, based on an academic research paper.

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