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 None. Location Durham


  • <If other modules, please enter module code using 'Right Click, Insert module_code' or enter module title>


  • <If other modules, please enter module code using 'Right Click, Insert module_code' or enter module title>

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • Scientific Methods in Archaeology 1 (ARCH1041) and Applied Archaeological Methods (ARCH1081)


  • 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 each.
  • To provide a core module for students on the BA Ancient Civilisations and Archaeology (VQ48) degree.


  • What an archaeologist needs to know about:
  • Human remains
  • Environmental and landscape archaeology
  • Conservation and material
  • Dating techniques
  • Textual sources
  • Iconographical sources
  • Material cultural
  • Reception studies

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module students will have:
  • Developed a broad range of basic knowledge pertaining to scientific methods used in archaeology, including (a) biological, (b) physical, and (c) landscape and environmental, (d) textual, (e) material culture, (f) iconography, (g) reception studies.
  • Gained a basic knowledge of a range of ideas and materials that form the foundation of knowledge in archaeological analysis.
  • Been introduced to the fundamental issues in archaeological science, textual and material culture courses and principally through secondary literature.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Applied transferable skills (detailed below) to archaeologically specific tasks and situations.
Key Skills:
  • Introduction to and participation in undertaking a number of study skills, including essay writing.
  • Basic understanding of accessing and using library, WWW and DUO resources.
  • Basic knowledge of the preparation and effective communication of data, interpretations and arguments.
  • Basic comprehension of sampling, collecting, recording and interpretation of data.

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, 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.
  • 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 20 1 per week 1 hour 20
Tutorials 4 2 per term 1 hour 4
Preparation and Reading 176
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 33%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 1500 words 100%
Component: Exam 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 1,000 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