Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2018-2019 (archived)


Department: Archaeology


Type Open Level 1 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2018/19 Module Cap Location Durham


  • None; only available to students taking the BSc (Hons) Archaeology [F402] or to students in the Faculty of Science.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • Ancient Civilisations: Sources, Approaches and Methods (ARCHXXXX) and Applied Archaeological Methods (ARCH1081) may not be taken after or with this module.


  • To provide students with a grounding in a range of scientific methods and techniques used in contemporary archaeology, and to develop a basic critical awareness of the potential and limitations of the data and its analysis when applied to archaeological problems


  • Students will be taught the basic principles underlying the scientific techniques used in archaeology and approaches to critical assessment by means of case studies.
  • The module will include the following topics: dating, environmental archaeology, archaeological prospection, human remains in archaeology, and archaeological materials.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module, students will have gained an introductory knowledge of the fundamentals of archaeological science.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Basic familiarity with a wide range of biological, physical and environmental methods used in archaeology.
Key Skills:
  • To gain direct experience in essay writing
  • Use of the Library
  • Tutorial work
  • Problem solving

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

  • The module is taught through a combination of lectures, problem classes, tutorials, formative essays and self-guided learning.
  • It is assessed through an essay and an unseen examination.
  • Lectures will ensure the effective communication of key information and theoretical ideas, supported by reading lists and written summaries of follow-up notes posted on DUO, enabling students to gain up-to-date knowledge, as well as guidance on further reading.
  • Tutorials will focus on discussion and feedback between tutors and students in small groups, in a relatively informal learning environment, enabling students to enhance, discuss, question and receive feedback on their knowledge and to gain experience in oral communication and collaborative group-work.
  • Problem classes will include exercises designed to practise and develop skills in numerical data analysis, providing a deeper understanding of the quantitative analysis of archaeological data.
  • Self-guided learning comprises personal study, research, revision and evaluation associated with classes and assignments; guided by lecturers, tutors and reading lists of specialist books, articles and web-sites.
  • Research is embedded into the teaching of this module through the expertise of the lecturers and tutors. The examples and topics chosen within the curriculum will derive from the specialist research interests of the staff teaching the module, and students are introduced to the results of the research of their teachers as well as the wider context of the subject.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 22 1-2 Per Week 1 Hour 22
Tutorials 4 1 Hour 4
Problem classes 4 1 Hour 4
Preparation and Reading 170
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Coursework Component Weighting: 33%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 1500 words 100%
Component: Examination Component Weighting: 67%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written examination 2 hours 100%

Formative Assessment:

One short-answer test and one essay of 1000 words.

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