AR2F18-Seeing beneath the soil

Module Provider: Archaeology
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr John Creighton


Type of module:

Summary module description:
This module introduces students to a variety of geophysical methods which help both archaeologists, geographers and environmental scientists investigate and map the subsurface to solve problems or answer questions without the need for intrusive and destructive excavation. The entire process is covered in an engaging and informal manner - from methodology to data acquisition and processing, to analysis and interpretation. There will be opportunities for students to collect their own data in the field. No previous knowledge in geophysics is expected.

This module aims to introduce students to the wide array of shallow geophysical techniques increasingly vital to the professional working environment in Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science. It will develop skills in field surveying techniques and introduce software packages which could be employed on field-projects, in dissertations later during your course, or within careers after graduation.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that the student will be able:
-To build-up experience in the acquisition of data
-To work as part of a team
-To recognise the risks and therefore the need for risk-assessments working in the field
-To process and analyse geophysical data
-To interpret geophysical data using a graphics package
-To structure and draft a formal report
-To discuss confidently the role and practice of geophysics in archaeology
-To understand the professional geophysics framework

Additional outcomes:
Teamwork and fieldwork skills will be developed by informal field classes, and experience will be obtained in writing professional reports. Numeracy will be enhanced through surveying, data gathering, and processing. Skills in visual analysis will also be developed in interpreting the results. ‘Geophysics Café’ discussion sessions will build confidence in using unfamiliar processing software packages, and give students chance to see how current landmark studies such as the ongoing discoveries at Stonehenge, Silchester, and King Richard III are directly attributable to geophysical investigation.

Outline content:
The module will comprise a range of formal taught study sessions developing a basic knowledge of the techniques. These will be partnered by ‘Geophysics Café’ sessions, in which more informal training and discussion will be encouraged, as students engage in new software packages and discuss and assess current geophysics case studies. Practical fieldwork sessions will encourage the students to put what they have learnt into practice, and process their collected data. As part of the assessment, the students will write a short geophysical report, either using their own collected data, or data previously collected at Silchester.

Global context:
This is a technique that is utilised globally in archaeological heritage management, and past students have gone on to work in the Near East, North Africa, Italy and France on field projects after developing their skills in this module.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
A mixture of lectures, informal discussion, and practical sessions. This is very much a learning-by-doing module, with supervised workshops and the opportunity to contribute to fieldwork on research projects within SAGES.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 4
Seminars 16
Fieldwork 12
Guided independent study 68
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Report 70
Set exercise 30

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:
The assessed elements comprise a data analysis exercise as you get used to using the specific geophysics software and a project report (which is built up over the term, comprising the processing, analysis and interpretation of data).

Formative assessment methods:
As this module is fieldwork and workshop-based, feedback is constant and iterative as students compile their project report.

Penalties for late submission:

Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy.
The following penalties will be applied to coursework which is submitted after the deadline for submission:
-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;
-where the piece of work is submitted more than one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.
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.
(Please refer to the Undergraduate Guide to Assessment for further information:

Assessment requirements for a pass:
A mark of 40% overall.

Reassessment arrangements:
Re-submission of project report in August/September.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

NONE (though general outdoor clothing and a USB stick to store data on are required)

Last updated: 20 April 2018


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