Practical Aims and Methods in Archaeology

Module code: AR1009
Module co-ordinator: Dr Jeremy Taylor

This module will expand upon (and deepen your understanding of) the topics and issues covered in Archaeology: the essentials as well as providing greater practical experience of archaeological techniques used in excavation, survey and post-excavation analysis. We will begin with some guidance on the structure and organisation of archaeology before considering the practicalities of archaeological research and study. You will gain hands-on experience in a range of practical techniques used to:

  • Locate archaeological sites
  • Understand their developmental history and biography
  • Date them
  • Contextualise them within their contemporary environments
  • And extract understanding from their material remains.

Topics covered

  • Key sites and key figures
  • Cultural Value: archaeology and the National Planning Policy Framework (PPG16, PPS5 and beyond)
  • Field-walking and remote sensing
  • Geophysical survey in practice
  • Thinking in a stratigraphic fashion
  • Relative dating
  • Absolute dating
  • Recording standing remains
  • Processing and interpreting environmental data
  • Archaeologies of archaeology: key themes revisited


  • 8 two-hour practical classes
  • 3 two-hour fieldwork sessions
  • 128 hours of guided independent study 


  • Essay, 2,000 words (60%)
  • Practical exercises (40%)
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