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BA Archaeology / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

Course unit details:
Doing Archaeology 2

Unit code CAHE20502
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Archaeology
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


 Our understanding of the past is founded on archaeological data, but where does this data come from? Who produces it?  And how does that influence the narratives that are written? This course critically examines this question by examining how archaeological practice produces knowledge of the past, both in the field and in the lab, how museums and the heritage industry consumes this knowledge (and produces new knowledge), and how this past is presented to and consumed by the ‘general public’.  This course with reveal that doing archaeology is very much a social, cultural, political and interpretive act.

However, this is also a practical course; as well as these theoretical debates, you will also learn a suite of practical skills, including archaeological illustration, archaeological photography, digitisation of archaeological drawings, standing building survey, archival research and writing and presenting archaeology to a variety of audiences. Furthermore, you are given the opportunity to ‘specialise’, selecting assessment tasks that allow you follow your own archaeological interests, and build a portfolio of work that showcases and demonstrates your archaeological skills and experience to relevant employees in the future.  Together, the practical and theoretical elements of this course will equip you with a range of skills directly relevant to careers in the heritage sector, and a critical knowledge and understanding of why being a skilled practitioner in the heritage sector is important in the production and consumption of our understanding of the past.



 -To expand on students’ established knowledge and understanding of archaeological fieldwork practices from ‘Doing Archaeology I’, to develop a working knowledge and practical experience of a range of survey and post excavation processes

-To ensure students understand how these techniques are used in the interpretation of archaeological finds and features

-To introduce students to the wider social, cultural and moral debates surrounding the authorship and ownership of archaeological data and its uses and to contextualise students’ own fieldwork experiences within these debates.

-To introduce students to a range of non-fieldwork career pathways in the heritage sector, and to develop a familiarity with key skills within these roles.

-To allow students the opportunity to choose which further skills required by employers to equip themselves with,  as a means to enhance employability along a range of career pathways in the Professional Heritage Sector, as well as developing wider transferable skills to enhance general student employability.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course students will have:

-An enhanced understanding of archaeological fieldwork practices, including:

-Practical experience in undertaking a standing building survey, including survey, technical drawing, archival research and written historic context

-An understanding of the aims of artefact drawing, and a practical experience of drawing lithic and ceramic material

-An understanding of the aims of archaeological photography (technical and non-technical) and the techniques used.

-An understanding of the aims, techniques and conventions employed in the digitisation of archaeological technical drawings and artefact illustrations.

-An understanding of the importance of presenting and communicating archaeological data and interpretations to different audiences, and a practical experience of tailoring writing to meet specific readers

-A critical understanding of the contingent nature of archaeological knowledge and the construction of data

-A critical awareness of the inter-relationship between practice, data and interpretation


Knowledge and understanding

-An understand of your role in the production and dissemination of archaeological data and narratives

-An understanding of the finite nature of the archaeological resource, and the need for correct processes of excavation, recording and conservation

-An understanding of the key debates and issues surrounding authorship and ownership in heritage, particularly in contexts of research, public outreach and community projects

-An understanding of how your choices within this module are beneficial in enhancing your employability, within the heritage sector and beyond.

Intellectual skills

-Critical consider and understand the significance of archaeology and heritage within the context of research, commercial work and public engagement

-Critical reflect and evaluate your personal role in archaeological fieldwork

-Express complex and developed arguments in a clear and appropriate manner, through critical written work and group debates

-Consult and understand a range of opposing, conflicting or different arguments and engage in a process of decision making in order to draw reasoned conclusions.

Practical skills

-Ability to undertake archaeological artefact illustration of a range of lithic and ceramic materials, following correct conventions.

-Ability to digitise a range of archaeological drawings (excavation and post excavation) using appropriate software and following correct conventions.

-Ability to undertake technical and non-technical photography in archaeology, tailoring outputs for specific audiences.

-Ability to present archaeology to different audiences through technical and nontechnical writing.

-Ability to understand and interpret written and drawn stratigraphy.

-Ability to undertake a level 4 standing building survey through survey, technical drawing and archival research .

Transferable skills and personal qualities

-Information retrieval: ability to independently gather, select and synthesise material from a variety of sources, and to critically evaluate its significance.

-Literacy: the ability to produce written work using appropriate language for a target audience, and to collect and integrate evidence to formulate points, descriptions and arguments

-Computer Literacy: ability to use word processing software, online resources and the use and manipulation of available material for use in formal assessment.

-Teamworking: recognising and identifying views of others and working constructively with them to achieve team goals.

-Time Management: ability to schedule tasks in order of importance.

-Research: ability to plan and implement an effective research project

-Improving own learning (through feedback): ability to improve one's own learning through planning,monitoring, critical reflection, evaluate and adapt strategies for one's learning, including a critical engagement with assessment feedback.

Assessment methods

Draft CV 0%
Reflective Museum Analysis 35%
Individual Skills Portfolio 65%


Feedback methods

Feedback for Assessment 1 and all elements of assessment 2  will be provided through turnitin, within 15 working days, in line with Faculty of Humanities and SALC feedback policies.

Further opportunity of formative feedback is offered within the draft CV exercise as part of the week 1 seminar

Recommended reading

Core Texts

The core text books for this course will be:


Lucas, G. 2012 Understanding the Archaeological Record. Cambridge: Cambridge University

Press. [also available as an e-book from the library website]


Lucas, G. 2001 Critical Approaches to Fieldwork: Contemporary and Historical Archaeological

Practice. London: Routledge. [also available as an e-book from the library website]


Two handy and thorough reminders on the archaeological process can be found in:

RCHAMS. 2011. A practical guide to recording archaeological sites. Edinburgh: The Royal

Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland [Link on Blackboard]


Schofield, J. et al., 2011. Archaeological Practice in Great Britain: A Heritage Handbook. New York: Springer. [available from Springer as an e-book]


Core readings from Introduction to Archaeological Practice will also be useful in refreshing student’s memories on key techniques:

Henson, D. 2012. Doing archaeology : a subject guide for students. London: Routledge. [This

can be accessed from the library website as an e-book]


Grant, J, Gorin, S, and Fleming, N. 2015 (4th Edition). The Archaeology Coursebook: Anintroduction to themes, sites, methods and skills. London: Routledge. [This can be accessed from the library website as an e-book and there is also a web companion for the 3rd edition and a link for the fourth edition]


Greene, K, and Moore, T. 2010 (5th Edition). Archaeology: An Introduction. London: Routledge. [This can be accessed from the library website as an e-book and there is also an updated web companion]


Renfrew, C, and Bahn, P. 2016 (7th Edition). Archaeology : Theories, methods and practice.

London: Thames and Hudson. [The 6th edition also has a web companion]


Wilkinson, P. 2007. Archaeology: What it is, where it is, and how to do it. Oxford: Archaeopress.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Seminars 33
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Hannah Cobb Unit coordinator

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