ARMS6-Field Course: Earth Science and Archaeological Investigations in the Field

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:

A 5-day conducted fieldclass in North Norfolk and the Fenland provides the opportunity to visit a wide range of types of archaeological site (Palaeolithic to Post-medieval), examine many types of sediment and consider diverse geomorphological contexts. Field investigations are conducted at key sites and the implications of the observations for landscape management and planning issues are reviewed.

The module aims to develop: *Knowledge and understanding of the field study of sediments, landforms, soils and archaeological sites based on visits to a wide range of case studies. *Skills in field observation, recording and data analysis. *Field skills in relation to the following key aspects of archaeological and environmental assessment: Pleistocene sediments, wetland sediments and environments, coastal processes and sediment types, the use of geological resources. *Skills in the recognition of archaeological sites and artifacts in a field context.

Assessable learning outcomes:
The ability to evaluate interpretations and hypotheses using personal field observation and data gathering
The ability to evaluate the processes responsible for the deposition of a range of types of sediment
An appreciation of the processes of landscape formation and the opportunities which landscapes offered to past human communities
Accurate and clear recording of field observations
A questioning approach to the evaluation of field hypotheses
The ability to make a rapid geoarchaeological assessment of a transect of landscape in the context of a hypothetical planning application

Additional outcomes:

  • The ability to work as part of a group
  • Ability to identify a range of types of archaeological site and artefact
  • Communication skills in field discussions, daily seminar on observations and seminar presentation of the transect exercise

Outline content:
A field course based on the north Norfolk coast and Fenland
Holocene lake sediments, vegetation history and archaeology
Pleistocene and Holocene coastal sediment sequences and coastal archaeology
Pleistocene sediments and landforms
Holocene soils and fieldwalking on archaeological sites
The identification and use of building s tones: Roman to post-Medieval
Holocene sediments of the Fenland and associated archaeological sites
Project day: assessment of a dryland-coastal transect

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
At each site visited students are expected to observe the broader context on maps and on the ground, to engage in discussion of the observations on that site and the way in which those observations may be interpreted. They also prepare a field record of observations on each site in a notebook. Field exercises are carried out involving data gathering and analysis leading to the evaluation of specific hypotheses relating to the sites visited.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Tutorials 3
Fieldwork 50
Guided independent study 47
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Report 100

Other information on summative assessment:
Field notebook.

Formative assessment methods:
Field-based discussion and analysis of geological and archaeological stratigraphy to enhance knowledge and understanding.

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:

Length of examination:

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: 31 March 2017

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