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 20 Location Durham


  • Any one of: Ancient Civilisations: Sources, Approaches & Methods (ARCH1151), Scientific Methods in Archaeology 1 (ARCH1041), Applied Archaeological Methods (ARCH1081), Historical and Archaeological Methods & Sources (ARCH1161) OR Archaeology Practicals (ARCH1061).


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • ARCH2212 Advanced Skills in Archaeology (40 Credits)


  • * All modules marked with this symbol form part of an Accredited CIfA pathway
  • To train students in advanced technical and applied techniques for scientific, field and public archaeology.
  • To provide understanding of the context of these applied methods and techniques and their correct application, purpose.
  • To equip students with a range of transferable skills relevant to employment and training beyond archaeology.
  • To make students aware of the opportunities for careers using the skills acquired during their degree course.


  • This module builds on archaeological skills and knowledge developed at level 1 and offers advanced skills training in key areas of applied archaeological method. It delivers a sound knowledge of core professional techniques related to the recording and analysis of classes of primary archaeological materials, and thus develops skills required for their analysis and interpretation. Using hands-on and case-study-led, short independent projects supervised by academic staff, students can choose two options from the following list of which a selection will be available in any one year. TWO advanced skills are to be chosen, ONE in Term 1 and ONE in Term 2 from the list available.
  • Advanced Skills List:
  • Ceramics Analysis
  • Advanced Materials Analysis
  • GIS and Mapping
  • Remote Sensing and Drones (only if GIS training has been undertaken)
  • Geoarchaeology
  • Landscape Survey (Geophysics, GPR, ERT)
  • 3D Imaging and Photogrammetry
  • Standing Buildings Recording
  • Introduction to DNA Analysis
  • Isotopes Analysis
  • Osteoarchaeology: Identification and Analysis of Human Skeletal Remains
  • Zooarchaeology
  • Bones Identification
  • Experimental Archaeology in the Botanic Garden
  • Lithics Analysis
  • Palaeolithic Arts Experiments
  • Numismatics
  • Luminescence Dating
  • Inscriptions for Archaeologists: Hieroglyphs
  • Glass
  • Statuary
  • Grave Stone Recording
  • Visual Presentation
  • Maps and Archives
  • Artefact Cataloguing
  • Working with Relational Databases
  • Any additional subject, as agreed by the Chair of Education Committee.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • A critical understanding of two core areas of archaeological practice.
  • Advanced understanding of the development of each technique.
  • Advanced knowledge of the purpose of each technique.
  • Knowledge of the context of the techniques and their varied applications in archaeology.
  • Clarification of the nature of the data set, investigation methods and safety arrangements.
  • Knowledge of compliance with organisation and legal requirements in the collection of data.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • An ability to independently apply learned techniques in two core areas of archaeological practice.
  • An ability to independently analyse and interpret archaeological data.
  • An ability to record and reference information accurately.
  • An ability to collect information to achieve research objectives.
  • An understanding of approved procedures and safe practices.
  • An ability to present results in a professional format according to the conventions of archaeological publication.
Key Skills:
  • An ability to evaluate critically the purpose, use and application of relevant professional skills, including the identification of any constraints.
  • An ability to participate effectively in group work in the field and/or class discussion.
  • An ability to ensure that safe working practices are observed and that hazards identified in the workplace are dealt with appropriately and reported promptly.
  • An ability to bring an independent project to a successful conclusion.
  • An ability to apply archaeological ethics and technical standards.
  • An ability to ensure that tools and equipment are used safely.
  • An ability to apply collection methods consistently and draw justifiable conclusions.
  • An ability to consult expert advice when additional information is required.
  • An ability to record investigation data clearly and accurately and store them securely for later analysis.
  • An ability to present results accurately in a professional format and in a manner appropriate to the audience.

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

  • The options are taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials, workshops, and practicals (in the field museum or classroom) and self-guided projects.
  • Lectures 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 ensure discussion and feedback between tutors and students individually and 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.
  • Classroom and museum practicals involve demonstrations and hands-on exercises using archaeological materials and facilities, undertaken in small to medium sized groups.
  • Field practicals are designed to provide students with a solid grounding in the principles and practices of specific applications and to facilitate the development of field, analytical and presentational skills, through systematic identification, recording and statistical treatment of archaeological material and data.
  • Workshops are designed to provide students with a solid grounding in the principles and practices of specific applications and to facilitate the development of analytical and presentational skills, through systematic identification, recording and statistical treatment of archaeological material and data.
  • Independent projects, provide opportunity for self-guided learning comprising independent data capture, analysis and interpretation, personal study, research and evaluation guided by lecturers, directed training, and reading lists of specialist books, articles and web-sites.
  • Assessment content varies but each option is summatively assessed through an independent project report or a series of exercises compiled into a report of 2000 words accompanied by appropriate supporting material (e.g. illustrations, maps, catalogue entries).
  • Formative assessment options vary between training components but comprise one of the following types of assessment: group presentations, essay or report plans, annotated bibliographies, practical tests, computer tests, practical assignments.
  • 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. Students explore the processes by which knowledge is produced and presented, and develop skills in those processes.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 4 2 per term 1 hour 4
Practical work 8 4 per term 3 hours 24
Tutorials 2 1 per term 1 hour 2
Self Guided Project Work 2 12 hours 12
Preparation and Reading 158
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Reports A & B Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Report A 2000 words plus suitable supporting material 50%
Report B 2000 words plus suitable supporting material 50%

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