Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2018-2019 (archived)


Department: Archaeology


Type Open Level 1 Credits 20 Availability Not available in 2018/19 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • Scientific Methods in Archaeology 1 (ARCH1041) and Applied Archaeological Methods (ARCH1081) and Ancient Civilizations: Sources, Approaches and Methods (ARCH1151)>


  • To provide students with a grounding in a range of scientific and historical methods and techniques relevant to the archaeology of the historic era and contemporary archaeology (defined as the last approximately 2000 years of human activity up to the present day), and to develop a basic critical awareness of the potential and limitations of each.
  • To provide a core module for students on the BA Archaeology of the Historic World (F406/F407/F408) degree.


  • Using case studies from UK and global contexts, the module introduces what an archaeologist needs to know about:
  • Textual and archival sources
  • Social, political, economic, and religious themes
  • Material cultural
  • Buildings and architectural sources
  • Human remains
  • Environmental and landscape archaeology
  • Conservation and materials
  • Dating methods

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module students will have:
  • Developed a broad range of basic knowledge pertaining to the social and scientific methods used in archaeology and those pertinent to world-wide historical and contemporary archaeology, including (a) material culture, (b) textual and archival resources, (c) social, political, economic and religious themes, (d) architecture and the built environment, (e) biological evidence, (f) physical evidence, and (g) landscape and environmental evidence, (h) dating methods.
  • Gained a basic knowledge of a range of ideas and materials that form the foundation of knowledge in historic archaeological analysis.
  • Been introduced to the fundamental issues in archaeological science, textual and material culture, political and economic themes, principally through secondary literature.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Applied transferable skills (detailed below) to historical-archaeological 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, DUO and digital learning resources (e.g. MOOC) .
  • 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 with study session/online digital teaching resource packs, 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, web-sites and digital resources.
  • Digital resources with problem-based reading sets to accompany the lectures.
  • 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 per week 2 hours 44
Tutorials 4 2 per term 1 and 2 1 in term 3 1 hour 5
Preparation and Reading 151
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Exam Component Weighting: 67%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written examination 2 hours 100%
Component: Essay Component Weighting: 33%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 1,500 words 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