Introduction to Archaeological Principles and Techniques 2023-24
School Of History, Law And Social Sciences
Module - Semester 2
What is archaeology?; what archaeologists study; the history of archaeological principles and techniques; Survey and prospecting 1; Survey and prospecting 2; Excavation process; Post-excavation and dating techniques; Technology and materials and experimental archaeology; Environmental Archaeology 1; Environmental Archaeology 2; People.
-threshold -Threshold students (D- and D) will have done only a minimum of reading, and their work will often be based partly on lecture notes and/or basic textbooks. They will demonstrate in their written assessments some knowledge of at least parts of the relevant field, and will make at least partially-successful attempts to frame an argument which engages with archaeological controversies, but they will fail to discuss some large and vital aspects of a topic; and/or deploy only some relevant material but partly fail to combine it into a coherent whole; and/or deploy some evidence to support individual points but often fail to do so and/or show difficulty weighing data (thereby relying on unsuitable or irrelevant data when making a point). Alternatively or additionally, the presentation of the work might also be poor, with bad grammar and/or punctuation, careless typos and spelling errors, and a lack of effective and correct referencing.
-good -Good students (B- to B+) will demonstrate a solid level of achievement and depth of knowledge in all the criteria in the C- to C+ range, and will in addition exhibit constructive engagement with different types of archaeological writing and interpretation. Ideas will be communicated effectively and written work will include a good range of reading and demonstrate a clear understanding of the issues and of the existing interpretations expressed in a well-structured, relevant, and focused argument. Students at the top end of this band will engage with and critique the ideas that they come across, and synthesise the various interpretations they find to reach their own considered conclusions. Written work will be correctly presented with references and bibliography where appropriate.
-excellent -Excellent students (A- and above) will show strong achievement across all the criteria combined with particularly impressive depths of knowledge and/or subtlety of analysis. In written work, they will support their arguments with a wealth of relevant detail/examples. They will also demonstrate an acute awareness of the relevant historiography and give an account of why the conclusions reached are important within a particular archaeological debate. They may show a particularly subtle approach to possible objections, nuancing their argument in the light of counter-examples, or producing an interesting synthesis of various contrasting positions. Overall, the standards of content, argument, and analysis expected will be consistently superior to top upper-second work. Standards of presentation will also be high.
-another level-Students in this band (C- to C+) will demonstrate a satisfactory range of achievement or depth of knowledge of most parts of the module, and will make successful, if occasionally inconsistent, attempts to develop those skills appropriate to the study of archaeology at undergraduate level. In the case of the written assessments, the answers will attempt to focus on the question, although might drift into narrative, and will show some evidence of solid reading and research. The argument might lose direction and might not be adequately clear at the bottom of this category. Written work will be presented reasonably well with only limited errors in grammar, punctuation, and referencing, and not to the extent that they obscure meaning.
- Demonstrate a basic knowledge of the development and current practice of archaeology, as well as an understanding of different types of archaeological evidence and how they may be investigated.
- Demonstrate a mastery of basic study skills, particularly the ability to follow a course of reading, make effective notes, and benefit from seminar discussions.
- Present relevant arguments in presentations, essays and examinations, supported with evidence.
- Show awareness that archaeology may be interpreted in different ways.
The essay question will test knowledge and understanding of aspects of archaeological principles and techniques. Answers will be graded by considering scope of reading; content (the adequacy of knowledge displayed); directness and clarity of argument; analysis (ability to back argument with evidence and awareness of alternative interpretations); presentation; and use of scholarly apparatus [see student handbook for assessment criteria in these areas]. Answers will be expected to show a range of knowledge that goes at least some way beyond lecture notes and a basic textbook, to show some awareness of the different ways archaeological evidence can be interpreted; and to demonstrate a basic mastery of study skills
Exam (Centrally Scheduled)
The ‘take-home’ test takes the form of 20 short questions on the basic principles and techniques of archaeological practice (e.g. answers will comprise of one or a few words). This will test your knowledge of the main principles and techniques employed by archaeologists to study the past This assessment will test your knowledge of different archaeological principles and techniques. This material will be covered in lectures and seminars throughout the course, and so attendance throughout the semester is essential.
The aim of this assignment is to use the research skills learnt in seminars to find research materials for yourself and to assess them critically through a written report. You will be organised into groups of four/five, and required to carry out the literature search as a group – (the groups and their assigned topics will be provided in the first seminar and will be placed on Blackboard). You will need to work together in your group, collaborating online to write a list of all the relevant material that you have identified. This stage of the project needs to be completed by Reading Week (leaving you two weeks to write the assessment). Once you have collated all the relevant material, you will then need to work independently to write the report (see point 2, below: please do not work together to write the critical comments, as each piece of written work submitted must be produced independently and the Turn-It-In submission on Blackboard will identify instances where bad practice or plagiarism has occurred). However, you may certainly choose to critically assess the same publications as others in your group, if you wish, and you can certainly continue to help one-another when it comes to study skills and referencing styles, etc.)