Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)

Module ANTH2217: Debating Anthropology & Archaeology

Department: Anthropology

ANTH2217: Debating Anthropology & Archaeology

Type Tied Level 2 Credits 10 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap None. Location Durham
Tied to LF64


  • Being Human (ANTH1111) OR Doing Anthropological Research (ANTH1101) AND Applied Archaeological Methods (ARCH1081) OR Discovering World Prehistory (ARCH1121)


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • Biology, Culture & Society (ANTH2???), Reading Ethnography (ANTH2???).


  • To provide students with an advanced understanding of debates about the relationship between archaeological and anthropological approaches.
  • To show how archaeology and anthropology provide overlapping yet distinct perspectives on key aspects of social, cultural and biological aspects of human life.
  • To explore how common theories, concepts and approaches have moved between these discipline.


  • Lectures will cover: Historical dimensions to the development of archaeology and anthropology as distinct yet related disciplines.
  • How concepts and approaches have moved between disciplines.
  • How archaeology and anthropology have provided conflicting and/or complementary accounts of key aspects of human life.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Critical understanding of historical dimensions of the relationship between archaeology and anthropology.
  • Knowledge and critical awareness of the different ways that archaeologists and anthropologists have approached key issues of common interest.
  • Critical awareness of the similarities and differences that characterise epistemological and methodological orientations in archaeology and anthropology.
  • Understanding of current debates about the relationship between the two disciplines.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Ability to synthesise archaeological and anthropological approaches and insights.
  • Evaluation and use of competing theories to elucidate previously unfamiliar data.
Key Skills:
  • Synthesis and analysis of written and orally presented ideas.
  • Summarising and exemplifying ideas and arguments.
  • Responding to questions.

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

  • The informal components of the module utilise a variety of methods, including posting course documents and information on DUO, seminar presentation and associated oral discussions.
  • Lectures delivered by staff with anthropological and archaeological backgrounds will give a broad overview of key ideas, approaches, debates, issues and historical context.
  • Seminars provide an opportunity to critically explore a series of topics in greater depth, to make oral presentations and to debate key questions posed in the lectures
  • The summative essay tests skills of understanding, analysis, information collection and presentation, with respect to a specific issue drawing on archaeological and anthropological approaches.
  • Oral presentations and class discussions allow students to develop critical perspectives on key issues and to analyse and synthesise competing accounts from archaeological and anthropological perspectives.
  • Formative feedback will also form an integral part of the seminar discussions. Students are encouraged to utilise office hours of contributing staff for feedback and clarification on issues raised in seminars and lectures.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 7 Distributed evenly in Michaelmas Term. 1 hour 7
Seminars 3 Distributed evenly in Michaelmas Term. 2 hours 6
Preparation and Reading 87
Total 100

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 2500 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Formative assessment and feedback is integral to questions and comments on seminar presentations and debates. Written feedback will be given on a 500 word essay plan.

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