Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2014-2015 (archived)

Module ARCH51615: Geophysical Survey

Department: Archaeology

ARCH51615: Geophysical Survey

Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Module Cap
Tied to


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To equip students with the necessary theoretical knowledge and practical experience to conduct archaeological geophysical surveys ad produce interpretations of the resulting data.


  • The students will undertake two surveys of archaeological sites, structures or landscapes, in each case using more than one of the survey techniques taught in the course; a report on each site will be produced to professional standards. At least one report must include a discussion of the site in the broader context of its place in the archeology of its region and period

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • the students will have learned the physical properties of rocks and soils which are relevant to the creation of archaeological geophysical anomalies
  • the mechanisms by which such anomalies come into existence
  • the use of instruments which are capable o detecting these anomalies, and their application in the field
  • the discriminating use of software packages to process geophysical data and produce graphical displays of the result
Subject-specific Skills:
    Key Skills:

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

      • Lectures - Soil properties; the earth's magnetic field; Magnetic prospection; Electrical prospection; Three-dimensional geophysics
      • Practicals - Processing geophysical data; Combining geophysical data with other digital map data
      • Fieldwork - Magnetic survey; Electrical survey

      Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

      Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
      Lectures 5 1 or 2 per week 1:00 10
      Tutorials 2 fortnightly 1:00 2
      Practicals 2 Twice 2:00 4
      Fieldwork 2 Twice 2:00 4
      Preparation & Reading
      Other: 132
      Total 150

      Summative Assessment

      Component: Portfolio Component Weighting: 100%
      Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
      Report of a magnetic and an electrical survey, combined with Ordnance Survey or other digital map data, plus an archaeological interpretation; 10 pages max 50%
      Essay 2,000 words 50%

      Formative Assessment:

      Two project designs (one per site) of not more than 1500 words each.

      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