ARMMEA-Field Methods and Experimentation in Environmental Archaeology

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: Prof Martin Bell


Type of module:

Summary module description:
The techniques used in assessing the geoarchaeological and environmental archaeological potential of sites as part of the planning and development process are reviewed. Practical field skills are developed in using key techniques. The student learns how to write a geoarchaeological and environmental archaeological contribution to an assessment report. The contribution of field experiment and methods to the investigation of geoarchaeological and palaeoenvironmental problems is reviewed.

• We examine current field methods and professional practice. This is in the context of the planning process and conservation strategies.
• Knowledge is acquired on the applications of coring, test pitting and other assessment methods including the core description and graphical presentation and the assessment of the biological potential of contexts sampled.
• We consider what experimental approaches can contribute to an understanding of the sediments, biological evidence and artefacts which archaeologists encounter in the field.

Assessable learning outcomes:
The ability to prepare an assessment of an archaeological site buried in sediments as part of the planning process. The exercise includes coring, core description identification of the potential of biological evidence and graphical representation of the survey data. The report forms the assessed component of the course.

Additional outcomes:
• Working as part of a team to produce the data required in a field exercise.
• Skills in the evaluation of appropriate methods and technique.
• An appreciation of the role of experimental methods in the solution of archaeological and palaeoenvironmental research questions.

Outline content:
• Archaeological assessments, the planning and legal process in relation to archaeology, nature and earth science conservation, including 'green developments'
• Coring and test pitting • Graphical representation of field results
• Archaeological geophysics: archaeological survey methods and interpretation and techniques applicable to deep stratigraphy.
• The role of experimental methods in geoarchaeology
• Case studies and critique of the application of geoarchaeological and other palaeoenvironmental methods.

Global context:
Environmental assessment is a key part of the sustainable use of resources and environments and is part of the planning system in most countries. This course looks at the contribution of geoarchaeological techniques to heritage and environmental conservation.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The course includes lectures and practical sessions on core description, geophysics and land-claim. There is a one-day coring exercise, which forms the basis for a written assessed report. The contribution of experiment to the development of geoarchaeology is considered in a lecture and in field visits to Butser Experimental Farm. This forms part of a one day visit to English Heritage’s Centre for Archaeology at Fort Cumberland, Portsmouth. Case studies include the geoarchaeology of land claim.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 17
Tutorials 1
Practicals classes and workshops 9
Fieldwork 10
External visits 10
Guided independent study 53
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Report 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:
1 field assessment report.
Relative percentage of coursework: 100%

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:

Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information:

Assessment requirements for a pass:

Reassessment arrangements:
Resubmission of coursework by 22nd August, but it cannot carry forward more than a pass mark.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 20 April 2018


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