Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2012-2013 (archived)

Module ARCH53015: Air Photographs

Department: Archaeology

ARCH53015: Air Photographs

Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2012/13 Module Cap
Tied to


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To equip the students with the ability to interpret aerial photographs and record key features onto map or plan formats.


  • Lecture/Seminar 1: Introduction: archeological air photography, its history and importance.
  • Lecture/Seminar 2: The formation, visibility and survival of crop and soil marks.
  • Lecture/Seminar 3: The interpretation and classification of features on archaeological air photos.
  • Practical classes (3x2 hours): Instruction and practice in manual and computer methods of transcription and rectification.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module, students will have gained:
  • a critical and discriminating appreciation of the importance of aerial photography for archaeological survey;
  • a critical and discriminating understanding of current practice in the profession for the production, storage and interpretation of air photos;
  • a critical and discriminating understanding of the main processes that create crop and soil marks;
  • a knowledge of the principles and practice of the classification of sites known from air photographs.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module, students will have gained:
  • the ability to transcribe information from photo map/plan, using both manual and computer techniques.
Key Skills:

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

    • Through an intensive set of lectures, seminars and practical sessions involving library resources, set of air photographs and computer facilities.

    Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

    Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
    Lectures 3 Weekly 1 hour 3
    Seminars 3 Weekly 1 hour 3
    Practicals 3 Fortnightly 2 hours 6
    Preparation & Reading 138
    Total 150

    Summative Assessment

    Component: Report Component Weighting: 100%
    Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
    Manual and computer plots 50%
    Discussion document 50%

    Formative Assessment:

    Student seminar presentations with feedback (oral and written)

    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