Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2018-2019 (archived)

Module ARCH3581: Advanced Professional Training

Department: Archaeology

ARCH3581: Advanced Professional Training

Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2018/19 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • 40 credits of Archaeology modules at level 2


Excluded Combination of Modules


  • To provide students with an understanding of professional practice within the archaeology and heritage sector including:
  • Practical experience in archaeology through working on an excavation, in a museum, in a lab based project or similar appropriate placement;
  • To provide students with an understanding of project design and public dissemination.


  • This module contains a key element of practical experience in vocational archaeology acquired through a placement carried out during the summer between Levels 2 and 3.
  • During following term the students reflect on their experience on their placement to develop an understanding of the practical knowledge and skills they acquired.
  • They will also develop their own ideas for a furture project related to their placement and learn how to articulate them in relation to common archaeological project design structures.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Understanding of the role of practical work in archaeological research.
  • Appreciation of the inter-relationship of theory and practice in the archaeological process.
  • An understanding of how and when to deploy particular techniques of investigation and recording in a practical project.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Technical and interpretive skills pertaining to archaeological research related to the placement undertaken.
  • An ability to reflect on the outcome of a practical archaeological project.
  • An ability to understand the role of project design in organising practical and/or research work.
  • An ability to produce written work for an informed public audience.
Key Skills:
  • Competence in a wide range of transferable skills, including reading, assimilating, investigating, and criticising complex data and interpretations.
  • Framing archaeological work through common project design structures.
  • IT skills including writing for websites.

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

  • The module is taught through a practical placement and a tutorial in which students feedback and reflect on their experience.
  • The placement must be completed prior to the start of the module, normally in the immediately preceding summer.
  • Tutorial presentations will provide the students with practical experience in making oral/visual presentations.
  • A series of lectures on project management in archaeological contexts will provide students with the skills to develop their own ideas for projects in the same area as their placement project.
  • The student will then write a project management document for a large scale project relating to their placement.
  • The project management plan assignment will assess their ability to develop and articulate this project, while the lectures will explain the major steps involved.
  • A session on writing blog posts will provide students with an understanding of how to write for an informed public audience.
  • The placement report blog post will assess the student's understanding of the project in which they have been involved, their ability to reflect on a particular aspect of the placement and their ability to communicate these clearly.
  • Research is embedded into the teaching of this module through practical work where students experience the process of research and develop skills in conducting archaeological research. Students develop research skills in the specialist area of the placement and have the opportunity to acquire a research ethos.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Briefing session 1 Once in preceding year 1 hour 1
Tutorial 1 Once in Term 1 2 hours 2
Lectures 5 Term 1 1 hour 5
Placement 1 1 block of 15 days in the summer 6 hours per day 90
Preparation and reading 102
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Placement Portfolio Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Placement description and critique (essay) 2000 words 30%%
Project management plan 3000 words 50%%
Blog post 1000 words 20%%

Formative Assessment:

Formative 1500 word work experience diary.

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