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Last modified: 28 Jun 2018 10:27

Course Overview

This course provides an introduction to how archaeological discoveries are made, the types of questions we can ask about past human societies using the evidence of their material remains, and the range of methods that archaeologists can draw on to try to answer the questions that excite them. By visiting archaeological sites, focussing on some of the world's most spectacular archaeological discoveries, and discussing some of the department's own original research projects, we will explore what the discipline of archaeology adds to our understanding of the human past and present, and what tools and techniques archaeologists employ in different environments.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 1
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Dr Joshua Wright

Qualification Prerequisites


What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Either Programme Level 1 or Programme Level 2
  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

  • AY1004 Archaeology in Action: an Introduction (Dl) (Studied)
  • KL105I Archaeology in Action: an Introduction (Studied)

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

The aim of this course is to introduce students coming to archaeology for the first time to the range of questions archaeologists ask about past societies and the very wide range of interdisciplinary methods they use to answer these questions. This course aims to introduce you to the excitement of archaeological discoveries, and to stimulate you to think about what it is about our past that interests and excites you. By the end of the course, you will be able to: define archaeology as a discipline distinct from other disciplines that study human history and culture; explain a brief history of archaeological endeavour; outline key ethical issues related to the acquisition and study of human remains and material culture; explain at least five key questions that the archaeological discovery of material culture and human remains tends to stimulate about past human societies; explain the key methods that archaeologists use to study the social structures, settlement patterns, diet, mortuary practices, and belief systems of past human societies; discuss how archaeological projects conducted in different environments differ in their approaches, methods, and potentials

Associated Costs

This course includes a one-day field trip. Students will be asked to make a nominal contribution towards the cost of the field trip. Estimated cost will be £15.

Further Information & Notes

This course is compulsory for all archaeology degree programmes.

This course includes a one-day field trip, which will involve some off-road walking over gentle terrain. Students may be asked to make a nominal contribution towards the cost of the field trip. Adjustments will be made for distance learning students and those with mobility issues, who are encouraged to contact the course coordinator at the beginning of the course.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt: Continuous assessment (50%) and 1 two-hour written examination (50%). Students who achieve 15 or over in the continuous assessment may be exempt from the final examination. Resit: 1 two-hour written examination (50%) plus original continuous assessment carried over (50%)

Formative Assessment

Online quizzes provided by the textbook publisher and tied to the weekly readings.


Students receive instant feedback from the online quizzes and an opportunity to keep trying them. Feedback on the summative assessment will be on a feedback sheet that has a marking rubric table and space for comments, as well as comments written directly on the assessments themselves.

Course Learning Outcomes


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