Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2012-2013 (archived)


Department: Anthropology


Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2012/13 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • Political & Economic Organization (ANTH2051) OR Kinship & Belief Systems (ANTH2041) OR Archaeological Method and Theory (ARCH2121) . Prerequisite for Human Sciences students: completion of Level 2 BA Human Sciences.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • ANTH 3131 and ARCH 3531


  • To provide students with an advanced understanding of debates about the relationship between archaeological and anthropological approaches.
  • To show how archaeology and anthropology provide overlapping yet distinct perspectives on key aspects of social and cultural life
  • To explore how common theories, concepts and approaches have moved between these discipline.


  • Lectures will cover: Historical dimensions to the development of archaeology and anthropology as distinct yet related disciplines
  • How concepts and approaches have moved between disciplines (e.g. ethnographic analogy, archaeologies of the contemporary past, ethnographies of archaeological practice.
  • 'The social' and 'the cultural' as contested concepts within and between archaeology and anthropology
  • How archaeology and anthropology have provided conflicting and/or complementary accounts of key aspects of social life including: landscape; materiality; temporarility; personhood; death; the body.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Critical understanding of historical dimensions of the relationship between archaeology and anthropology.
  • Detailed knowledge of the different ways that archaeologists and anthropologists have approached key aspects of social life.
  • Critical awareness of how ideas and approaches have moved between archaeology and anthropology.
  • Advanced knowledge of current debates in both disciplines.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Subject-specific skills:
  • Ability to synthesise archaeological and anthropological approaches and insights.
  • Evaluation and use of competing theories to elucidate previously unfamiliar data.
Key Skills:
  • Key skills:
  • Synthesis and analysis of written and orally presented ideas.
  • Summarising and exemplifying ideas and arguments.
  • Responding to questions.

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

  • The informal components of the module utilise a variety of methods, including posting course documents and information on DUO, seminar presentation and associated oral discussions.
  • Lectures delivered by staff with anthropological and archaeological backgrounds will give a broad overviewof key ideas, approaches, debates, issues and historical context.
  • Seminars provide an opportunity to critically explore a series of topics in greater depth, to make oral presentations and to debate key questions posed in the lectures
  • The summative essay tests skills of understanding, analysis, information collection and presentation, with respect to a specific issue drawing on archaeological and anthropological approaches.
  • Oral presentations and class discussions allow students to develop critical perspectives on key issues and to analyse and synthesise competing accounts from archaeological and anthropological perspectives.
  • Final written examinations test assimilated knowledge and understanding and the ability to marshall relevent material in response to un-seen questions.
  • Formative feedback will be given on the formative and summative essays. Formative feedback will also form an integral part of the seminar discussions.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 15 Distributed evenly in the first two terms 1 hour 15
Seminars 5 Distributed evenly in the first two terms 2 hours 10
Preparation and Reading 175
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 3000 words 100%
Component: Examination Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Seen examination 1.5 hours 100%

Formative Assessment:

Formative essay (1500) words). Formative feedback integral to questions and comments on seminar presentations and debates.

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