Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2020-2021 (archived)


Department: Archaeology


Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2020/21 Module Cap Location Durham


  • Any one of: Ancient Civilizations of the East (ARCH1111) OR Archaeology in Britain (ARCH1071) OR Cities in Antiquity (ARCH1131)


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • The module is designed to provide students with a sound knowledge of key theory, evidence, problems and research methods that lie at the core of archaeological research related to the formation, development and organisation of Egypt, the Ancient Near East and the Aegean in the 2nd millennium BC.
  • To provide an insight into the theories and methodologies employed and the impact that the nature of the dataset or its use can have upon the way in which the past is constructed.


  • The module examines the definitions and organizational characteristics of ancient societies through a focus on a number of geographical areas, selected from: Egypt, the Ancient Near East and the Aegean.
  • There is a focus upon the relationship between the nature of the evidence base, the analytical possibilities and their offers, and the kind of reconstruction that have been proposed, the relationship between documentary and archaeological evidence, and the nature of eonomic, socio-political and cultural developments in these societies.
  • This is examined through a close consideration of the material evidence pertaining to aspects such as burial practices, settlement data, and evidence for inter-regional contact, as viewed in the context of different theoretical frameworks.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module the student will have: i) developed a sound knowledge of key aspects of basic data and cultural sequences in the defined geographical areas ii) gained direct experience of working with archaeological evidence iii) developed communication skills through participation in problem solving exercises and artefact handling classes.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Develop a broad range of core technical and interpretive skills pertaining to archaeological data.
Key Skills:
  • Develop competence in a wide range of transferable skills including reading, assimilating, investigating and criticising complex data and interpretation.

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

  • This module is taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and an artefact handling session in the Oriental Museum.
  • Lectures will address key evidence.
  • Close engagement with the data will be provided through a combination of seminars, and problem-orientated or artefact handling session.
  • The former will ensure the effective communication of key information, and will be assessed by an examination, the latter will develop students' skills in data analysis, communication and presentation, which are assessed by an evidence-based essay.
  • Self guided learning.
  • 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 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. 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 20 1 per week 1 Hour 20
Seminars 4 2 per term 1 Hour 4
Practicals 1 As arranged 1 Hour 1
Preparation and Reading 175
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Assessed essay Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 3,000 words 100%
Component: Examination Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
examination 2 hours 100%

Formative Assessment:

Formative assessment may include a range of quizzes, short answer tests and other short assignments related to the learning outcomes of the module.

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