Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2018-2019 (archived)

Module ARCH2191: Professional Training

Department: Archaeology

ARCH2191: Professional Training

Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2018/19 Module Cap Location Durham


  • 40 credits of Archaeology modules at Level 1.


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To provide students with an understanding based on practical experience, of:
  • the objectives and operation of a fieldwork project;
  • the processing of data and material produced by archaeological projects;
  • to make students aware of the opportunities for careers using the skills acquired during their degree course in conjunction with archaeology skills framework and archaeological skills passport;
  • fieldwork-related techniques.


  • This module provides a broad range of skills and information relevant to two key elements of professional training in archaeology – fieldwork skills and the ability to interpret a range of archaeological data.
  • Through the compulsory training excavation the students develop personal and teamwork skills and learn how to evaluate the performance and management of the excavation.
  • In the lectures the students take these field skills and explore the practicalities of designing a fieldwork project and address key aspects of post-excavation analysis.
  • Practical sessions provide experience of analysing and intepreting fieldwalking data, excavation data and geophysical data.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Understanding of the role of fieldwork in archaeological research.
  • An appreciation of the inter-relationship of theory and practice in the archaeological process.
  • Knowledge of how and when to deploy particular techniques of investigation and recording, derived from having participated in a group fieldwork project and reflected on its outcome.
  • The ability to identify and analyse a range of different archaeological materials and data.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • A broad range of core technical and interpretive skills pertaining to archaeological fieldwork and post-fieldwork analysis.
  • Surveying, excavation, recording and safety standards in fieldwork.
  • Stratigraphic analysis, the basic principles of archaeological project design and the interpretation of excavation and fieldwalking data in post-fieldwork phases of a project.
  • Presentation of archaeological data clearly and concisely in written and visual form.
Key Skills:
  • Experience of working in teams in order to facilitate specific goals
  • Reading, assimilating, investigating, criticising complex data and interpretations
  • IT skills
  • Application of the principles of project design.

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 practical excavation training, lectures and practicals.
  • The excavation must be completed prior to the start of the classroom components of the module, normally in the immediately preceding summer.
  • The excavation experience provides basic fieldwork training and opportunities to develop practical and teamwork skills.
  • Lectures will provide the background for writing-up the excavation experience as an assessed element.
  • The excavation report tests the abilities of the student to reflect on the training, to express their knowledge of the inter-relationship of theory and practice and of how and when to deploy particular techniques.
  • The Working with Archaeological Data reports assess ability to identify and analyse a range of different archaeological data, and to present that data appropriately.
  • 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. The module also enables students to explore how archaeologists produce evidence about the past, develop theories to explain it, and how archaeological evidence may subsequently be reinterpreted. The field work allows students to experience approaches to archaeological research in the field. Through practical work students experience the process of research and develop skills in conducting archaeological research.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 6 weekly 2 hours 12
Tutorials 1 once 1 hour 1
Practicals 3 2 hours 6
Fieldwork 1 once 15 days of 7 hours 105
Preparation and Reading 74
Careers Session 1 once 2 2
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Portfolio Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Excavation Report 3000 50%
Practicals Report 3000 50%

Formative Assessment:

Preparation of an abbreviated Excavation Report, (1000 word limit) with a view to preparing students for the full-length Excavation Report.

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