AR2F15-Experimental Archaeology and Heritage Outreach

Module Provider: Archaeology
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Prof Martin Bell


Summary module description:
An introduction to experimental archaeology and its theoretical frameworks covering a range of types of experiment and the opportunity to engage in experimental activities and to reflect on the contribution experimental archaeology can make to education and the heritage industry.

To introduce the role of experiments in archaeology, their theoretical frameworks, strengths and weaknesses.
To encourage and guide students in engagement with experimental activities including those which may provide a foundation for dissertations in Year 3.
To develop an awareness of the role of archaeological experiments in education, public engagement and the presentation and development of heritage sites.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that the student will be able:
•To evaluate the role which experiments play in archaeological research (critique)
•To identify examples of good practice in experimental archaeology (critique and notebook)
•Design, record and evaluate an archaeological experiment (notebook)
•To appreciate what experimental sites can contribute to education (critique)

Additional outcomes:
The module provides the training and opportunity for practical engagement in experimental archaeology. It will help you develop research design skills which will be particularly helpful to those proposing a dissertation project with an experimental component. Research design skills are also highly transferable to other careers and activities.
You will develop a critical appreciation of what constitutes a robust archaeological experiment.
The module will enable you to think about the contribution which experiments can make to the presentation of heritage sites which will be useful to those considering a career in the heritage industry.
The module will introduce you to the contribution of Open Air Museums to cultural identity and social diversity.

Outline content:
This module will be team taught. It will introduce students to the role and principles of experimental archaeology and the strengths and limitations of the approach. The key types of archaeological experiment will be introduced with an emphasis on best practise including: lithics; agriculture; building reconstruction; microtraces of activities and ships. There will be 3 half day practical sessions providing the opportunity for you to become involved in setting up, monitoring and recording small scale experiments with opportunities for further optional involvement beyond the teaching slots. The contribution of experimental sites to education at all levels from primary schools to thinking spaces for academics will be reviewed.

Global context:
The module will draw on examples of best practise in experimental archaeology from all parts of the world. The majority of experiments have been in North West Europe especially the UK and Denmark but examples will be included from other areas including the Near East; North America and China.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The course will be taught on the basis of 8 X 2 hour lectures and three days of experimental activities. Students will critique an experimental project or site and prepare a notebook on experiments in which they have participated.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 16
Practicals classes and workshops 18
Guided independent study 66
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 40
Portfolio 60

Other information on summative assessment:
(1) Students will prepare a critique of either a published experiment or on an experimental site which they have visited on their own (1500 words).

(2) Students will prepare an illustrated notebook / portfolio on the practical experiments with which they have been involved (2500 words).

Formative assessment methods:
Students will prepare a 200 word proposal for the experiment, or experimental site, they propose to critique for Assessment 1. This proposal is a formative piece of work which will be given a guide mark and feedback, but the proposal is not part of the assessment.
The practical experiment will involve guided design and conduct of the experiment (group activity) leading to documentation (individual activity) to produced the report (Assessment 2).

Penalties for late submission:

In accordance with University procedures on late submission.
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.
  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Resubmission of coursework by 1st August, but cannot carry forward more than a pass mark.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 31 March 2017

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