Theory and Practice in Archaeology

Module code: AR7059 (double module)

The structures through which data is interpreted by archaeologists is known as archaeological theory, its application is known as practice. In this module we will formulate an advanced understanding of the development of theoretical approaches in archaeology as well as demonstrate an advanced understanding of how and why the application of different theoretical approaches can produce different kinds of interpretations.

You will identify the value of the long-term chronological perspective in affirming the three pillars of sustainability – economic, social and environments, and recognise the key cultural contexts within which they can be nurtured. We will also examine the historical and contemporary ethics in order to shape and implement a conscientious and informed approach to effecting a sustainable future. Upon completion of this module you should:

  • Have an advanced and critical understanding of the relationships between theory and practice in archaeology;
  • Be able to critique and place in historical context particular archaeological investigations and their data-generation methodologies, interpretive framework and conclusions;
  • Show an advanced understanding of how and why particular archaeological datasets can underpin radically different interpretations;
  • Be able to express your critiques to an advanced level in both oral and written presentations


  • 2 hours of lectures
  • 30 hours of seminars
  • 2 hours of project supervision
  • 266 hours of guided independent study


  • Oral presentation (10%)
  • Essay, 3,000 words (40%)
  • Case study critique, 3,000 words (50%)