Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2018-2019 (archived)


Department: Archaeology


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


  • 40 credits of Archaeology modules at Level 2


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To enable students to unite practice and theory through the critical analysis of new discoveries and research.
  • To encourage students to reflect on what they learned at Levels 1 and 2 in their options modules.
  • To enable students to engage research driven method and theory, current archaeological research and debate contemporary issues.


  • This module is based around a critical reflection on current issues and breaking stories in World Archaeology including current research in the Department of Archaeology.
  • Students will use recent events to revisit at a more advanced level the themes familiar from level 1 and 2.
  • These themes will situate current discoveries and research into the theoretical, cultural and social context of archaeological practices.
  • Such themes include:
  • The influence of cultural, social and political factors on archaeological thought and the presentation of discoveries;
  • The role of archaeology in contemporary society and culture;
  • The interaction of theory and practice in archaeological research.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • At the end of this module the student will:
  • Have developed an advanced knowledge of intellectual background of the reporting of archaeological discoveries from a variety of perspectives;
  • Have discussed and evaluated in depth a series of case studies using a series of concepts in terms of their archaeological, cultural, social and political relevance.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module students will have developed the following subject skill:
  • Applying key skills (see below) to core concepts and debates pertaining to contemporary archaeological practice, theory and impact.
Key Skills:
  • By the end of this module students will have developed competence in the following key skills:
  • Critical analysis of primary and secondary data;
  • Self-reflection on knowledge and skills acquired and developed;
  • Accessing library resources;
  • Undertaking independent study and research;
  • Preparation and effective communication of interpretations and arguments in written form.

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

  • Students will produce a summatively assessed seminar write-up in which they engage in critical reflection upon the current intellectual state of archaeology.
  • (The research for this write-up will be partly reading, and partly discussion in a series of classroom seminars).
  • 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 are closely aligned with the specialist research interests and experience of the staff teaching the module. Elements of the teaching cover topics at the frontiers of knowledge and this allows students to be trained in current, critical approaches to understanding and interpreting archaeological research.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 10 1 per week 1.5 Hours 15
Lectures 5 1 per fortnight 2 10
Preparation and Reading 175
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Portfolio/Essay 5,000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Seminar presentation.

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