AR2T2-Archaeologies: Past, Present and Future

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 Duncan Garrow


Type of module:

Summary module description:
This module focuses on how and why archaeologists across the world have excavated and interpreted the material remains of past societies over time (from some of the earliest interpretations of the past in the ancient Near East and Classical Greece and Rome to the modern day). The module is global in outlook and international in scope. As well as outlining the history of archaeology, the module also explores many of the key theoretical approaches that archaeologists are currently using to interpret the past, including anthropology. One of the central aims of the module is also to consider where the discipline’s ideas might go in future. The kinds of issue the module will cover include: the development of the discipline from 18th century Antiquarian treasure-hunting to 21st century post-modern ideas; theories of evolution; the relationship between archaeology and anthropology; sex, gender and identity; ethnicity; materiality; the power of objects; the ethical implications of doing archaeology; and heritage management.

To provide students with an overview of the history of archaeology and archaeological ideas

To outline the major developments in archaeological thinking over the past 200 years

To discuss some of the key theoretical ideas which have arisen within archaeology in recent decades, and to assess their impact on our understanding of archaeological sites

To investigate how archaeology has been influenced by wider society, and in turn how archaeology can influence people’s broader understandings of the world

To consider the future of archaeology and archaeological theory.

Assessable learning outcomes:
On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate a thorough knowledge of key aspects of the history of archaeology

2. Discuss key theoretical concepts in archaeology developed over the past 30 years

3. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different archaeological ideas

4. Discuss the relationship between archaeological ‘theories’ and the interpretations of the material record those theories are used to interpret

5. Demonstrate a clear understanding of how archaeological theory might develop in future

Additional outcomes:
Participation in seminars will enable students to develop and apply their communication and presentation skills through structured discussion sessions. Research and analytical skills will be developed through participation in seminars and completion of the written coursework components. Contributions to the module’s ‘wiki’ will enable students to appreciate and enhance the academic value of online resources. Production of the group presentations will enable students to develop their ability to present archaeological information and complex ideas to an audience, and to enhance their teamworking skills.

Outline content:
This module focuses on the history of archaeology, and especially archaeological ideas, in the long-term. It also considers many of the key concepts that have underlain much recent archaeological interpretation. The main issues the module will cover include the development of the discipline from 18th Century Antiquarian treasure-hunting to 21st century post-modern ideas. The kinds of subject that will be covered include: theories of evolution; sex, gender and identity; ethnicity; materiality and the power of objects; and the ethical implications of doing archaeology.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
This course is taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, group discussions and debates, student presentations, directed reading, assignments and a field trip.

There will be 10 main teaching sessions. Each session will last two hours, divided into a one hour lecture, and a one-hour discussion/seminar.

As a 10 credit module, the module should involve 100 hours of study time: attending lectures and seminars, general background reading, preparing for seminars, reading for, and writing, your written coursework, preparing for the final presentation and contributing to the ‘wiki’. You should therefore expect the following sort of workload:

Lectures – 10 hours
Seminars – 10 hours
Field trip – 5 hours
Reading for essay – 20 hours
Essay writing – 15 hours
Reading for seminars – 20 hours
Wiki entries – 5 hours
Presentation preparation – 5 hours
Background reading for lectures – 10 hours

Reading List:

Johnson, M. 2009. Archaeological theory: an introduction. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell [a great introduction to archaeological theory]

Hodder, I. 2012 (ed.). Archaeological theory today. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Trigger, B. 2006. A history of archaeological thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10
Seminars 10
External visits 5
Guided independent study 75
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 70
Oral assessment and presentation 30

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:
One essay, 2000 words (70%)
One group seminar presentation + wiki (30%)

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:

The Module Convener 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.

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

Reassessment arrangements:
Re-submission of coursework in August/September

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: 20 April 2018


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