Module Provider: Archaeology
Number of credits: 40 [20 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Summer / Autumn / Spring module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Prof Grenville Astill


Summary module description:
Through a mixture of lectures, supervisory meetings and workshops, student research skills will be enhanced as will their ability to plan and carry out a major piece of independent research.

The module aims to improve students' understanding of archaeological methods and thought, and to enhance their research skills and sense of self-reliance, by engaging them in a major piece of independent, supervised learning.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module, it is expected that the student will be able:

  • to plan, organise and carry out a major piece of sustained work;
  • to frame a problem and identify or design methods required for its solution;
  • to engage in-depth with a genuine research question, and to understand and critically assess previous approaches to, and solutions of, this question or similar problems;
  • to demonstrate critical self-awareness by putting his or her own approach to, and solution of, the question in a wider context of intellectual and research history;
  • to identify, assemble, organise and analyse data and information relevant to the description, discussion and solution of the question;
  • to present their work in accurate and lucid writing, and summarise question, evidence and approach orally in clear and concise words.

Additional outcomes:
The dissertation project requires the use, and encourages the improvement, of a range of essential, transferable skills, including problem-solving, information handling, numeracy, IT and communication skills.

Outline content:
Dissertation topics cover a wide range, including the study of primary and/or published sources as they relate to problems in our knowledge of the past; the strengths and weaknesses of particular ideas which have been proposed to interpret and understand the archaeological record; and the ways in which archaeology is studied, preserved, and communicated to the wider community. Methods and approaches may include small-scale fieldwork or environmental sampling, the analysis of a clearly defined body of primary data, and/or the application of original ideas which contribute to archaeological debate. Topic and approach may relate to a particular Part 2 or 3 module taken by the student, but the choice is not limited to the range of teaching available in a particular year.

General reading:

Swetnam, D. 1997. Writing your dissertation: how to plan, prepare and present your work successfully. Plymouth: How to Books.

Initial, subject-specific reading will be provided by individual supervisors

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Following a dissertation briefing in the Spring Term of Part 2, students submit an outline dissertation proposal at the start of the Summer Term of Part 2. On this basis, each student is then assigned a supervisor, or two joint supervisors, responsible for guiding and advising the student's work on the dissertation. During the Summer Term of Part 2, students attend dissertation workshops and draft a research design, which must be revised and submitted by the end of this term. They give an oral presentation in the middle week of the Autumn Term of Part 3, attend dissertation skills sessions in the middle week of the Spring Term of Part 3 (to help with final illustrations and data analysis), and submit a dissertation by the end of the first week of the Summer Term of Part 3.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 1 6
Seminars 4
Tutorials 1 2 1
Demonstration 4 4
Practicals classes and workshops 4
Guided independent study 90 83 200
Total hours by term 95.00 90.00 215.00
Total hours for module 400.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Dissertation 85
Project output other than dissertation 5
Oral assessment and presentation 10

Other information on summative assessment:
Students will prepare a research design (c. 2 sides of A4; 5%) and an oral presentation (10 minutes; 10%), and write a dissertation of 12,000 words (85%). All elements will be assessed. The dissertation is to be submitted by the end of the first week of the Summer Term of Part 3.

Formative assessment methods:
In addition to the assessed work, all students are expected to hold regular meetings with their supervisor, to discuss progress and research development, and to receive feedback on written work.

Penalties for 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:
    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-submission of coursework

    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: 21 December 2016

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