Understanding the Past - Introduction to Archaeology
This module will provide you with an introduction to archaeology as a discipline. It covers the development of the subject and examines methods for discovering, recovering and analysing archaeological remains. Archaeological prospection/survey, excavation, post-survey/excavation analysis, approaches to dating and an introduction to frameworks of social interpretation are all themes addressed within the module. The teaching is delivered in a mix of lectures, seminars, practical classes, computer workshops and a field trip, on average taking up two hours per week across a full year.
Introduction to Archaeological Science
The use of methods from biological and earth sciences has transformed the practice of archaeology from the discovery of radiocarbon dating to establish chronology in distant prehistory to the use of stable isotope analysis to trace the movements and diet of past populations. This module will introduce you to some of the key developments in archaeological science over the last 50 years and will show you how scientific methods have dramatically changed our understanding of the past. The teaching is delivered in a mix of lectures, seminars and practical classes on average taking up about 2 hours per week across a full year.
Forests to Farmers: Prehistoric Archaeology of Britain
This module provides an overview of the archaeology of the British Isles from the earliest traces of human activity until the Roman invasion of Britain. It will introduce you to key concepts in prehistoric archaeology through study of the major archaeological finds and sites of the period from henges to the hillforts of Wessex. The teaching is delivered in a mix of lectures and seminars, on average taking up about 4 hours per week across the autumn semester.
Rome to Revolution: Historical Archaeology of Britain
This module provides you with an overview of the archaeology of the British Isles from the Roman invasion, covering Anglo-Saxon, Viking and medieval periods, up to the industrial revolution. Using key sites and discoveries, students will be introduced to the challenges of understanding the archaeology of periods partially documented in textual sources. The teaching is delivered in a mix of lectures and seminars, on average taking up about 4 hours per week across the spring semester.
Great Discoveries in Archaeology
In this module the staff of the archaeology department will share the sites and discoveries that not only inspired them but have also been major benchmarks in the development of the discipline. Each lecture focuses on a major discovery or theory that has fundamentally changed previous held interpretations of the past. The module also looks at the personalities and ideologies that have shaped our discipline, noting how changing perspectives on gender, ethnicity and class have in turn shaped ideas about the past. The teaching is delivered in a mix of lectures and seminars, on average taking up about 2 hours per week across the autumn semester.
Grave Matters: The Archaeology of Death, Burial and Commemoration
This module examines the many types of archaeological evidence represented through the treatment of human remains from prehistory until the early modern period. You will learn how the study of human remains can give insights into past diets, social status, health and attitudes towards different members of society, while the study of burial practices can tell about the structure of societies and their beliefs. The teaching is delivered in a mix of lectures and seminars, on average taking up about 2 hours per week across the spring semester.
Archaeological Research: Theory and Practice
The excitement of discovery and research is the foundation of everything we do as archaeologists. This module is aimed at helping you to develop more advanced research skills and to discover the methods that are used in major archaeological research projects. In particular you will be introduced to the concepts and methods that you will put into practice in your third year dissertation or independent project. The teaching is delivered in a mix of lectures and seminars, on average taking up about two hours per week across the year.
Archaeology and Society: Heritage and Professional Skills
This module will introduce the structure and context of the professional archaeological sector in the UK, and issues and debates in cultural heritage. It will outline the process of working in archaeology, the various career options, the training required and the type of work carried out by commercial units, museums, and local and national government heritage originations. This will include contact and presentations by real archaeologists working in the various sectors covered. In the spring term, students will apply their knowledge and develop their research and presentation skills in a group heritage project focused on the presentation of a local historic or archaeological site.
Archaeological Evidence 1 and 2
These two modules run across the full academic year and will allow you to focus on developing archaeological skills and understanding archaeological evidence. They will be taught in 5-week intensive blocks of three-hours a week; each student will chose two specialised topics per semester, choosing from options including Glass, Metallurgy, Zooarchaeology, Archaeobotany, Building Survey, Lithics, Ceramics, and Human Skeletal Remains. Each topic is taught in a 5-week intensive block using lectures and seminars covering 3 hours per week across the academic year.
The Archaeology of the Roman Empire
This module provides an overview of the archaeology of the Roman Empire, developing themes encountered in the first year Rome to Revolution module. It traces the development of the Roman world and examines the archaeology of the Empire’s provinces. Specific themes in this course include towns, villas and the countryside, and housing the army among other related topics. For this module you will have a combination of lectures and seminars, on average taking up about 2 hours per week across the year.
The Medieval World
This module considers the archaeology of Europe and the Mediterranean from the end of the Roman Empire to the high Middle Ages (from c. AD 400–1400). Key topics include: the formation of post-Roman societies; rural settlement; the emergence of central places and the development of towns; trade and exchange; and the introduction of Christianity and the role of the Church. The lectures and seminars, totalling around 2 hours per week, will explore integrated approaches to archaeological evidence incorporating landscapes, standing buildings, excavated sites and material culture.
This module will provide you with a broad introduction to current methods & practice of Underwater Archaeology. The module focuses on themes such as lake dwellings, shipwrecks, submerged cities & sunken harbours. Case studies are used ranging in space from Scandinavia to Australia and in time from 1500 BC to the last century. Among the issues tackled will be: methods and techniques of underwater excavation; post-excavation processing of underwater material; problems of conservation and wet finds processing; shipwrecks from 1200 BC: the ship as a symbol; sunken harbours, cities and processes of submergence; lake dwelling & freshwater archaeology; cultural resource management vs. treasure hunting.
This module examines the background to the rise of the 'classical' urban civilisations of Mediterranean Europe, concentrating on Greece and Italy. It takes a long chronological perspective, with emphasis on the Bronze Age in the Aegean (Minoan Crete and Mycenaean Greece) and Italy and the development of Iron Age societies in Greece and Italy (including the Etruscans), and what we can learn about them through archaeology. For this module you will have a combination of lectures and seminars, on average taking up about 2 hours per week
Making of the Modern World
This module considers archaeological approaches to the creation of the modern world, through the study of British and European societies and their impact around the globe from the end of the medieval period to the present day (from c. AD 1400 – 2000). Students will study key themes including the development of early European colonial empires and the maritime world system, the archaeology of plantations and slavery, the growth of consumption, industrialisation and urbanisation, and archaeological approaches to our contemporary world, and how archaeological evidence provides new insights into the lives of those who are normally ‘hidden from history’.
Dissertation in Archaeology
This module involves the preparation and production of an approved topic of 12,000 words, not including edited material. This will involve the culmination of the range of reading, learning and graphic and photographic skills acquired during the first two years of the course. The final dissertation must be in accordance with the regulations. For this module you will have a one 1-hour tutorial and a one 1-hour and a half seminar to study for the module.
The Archaeology of Anglo-Saxon England
This module considers the archaeology of England from the end of the Roman occupation until the Norman conquest. You will focus on the question of the Romano-British survival and the impact of Romano-British culture on the Anglo-Saxon incomers, on the archaeology of the early state in England, on the development of town and rural settlement patterns, on the role of the church in society and on the Danish impact on England. For this module you will have a combination of lectures, seminars and field trips over the course of 11 weeks.
The Archaeology of the Medieval City
The aim of this module is to provide you with a broad knowledge of the archaeological evidence for the development of cities and urban life in the later medieval period AD 1000-1500, with a focus on English towns and cities in their wider Europe context. The module will explore the integration of varied sources of archaeological evidence including urban landscapes, buildings and material culture, and particular emphasis placed on interdisciplinary approaches to urban economic and social life. For this module you will have a combination of lectures, seminars, workshops and a field trip over the period of 11 weeks.
Rome and the Mediterranean
In this module you will examine the archaeological evidence for the Roman period in Italy and the Mediterranean from 300 BC to AD 550. The major social, cultural and economic changes of the region in this period will be discussed as well as in the context of wider historical and archaeological approaches to the Mediterranean. You’ll have an hour of lectures and an hour-long seminar for this module.
The Archaeology of Mycenaean Greece
This module will introduce you to the archaeology of the Mycenaean world and will give you familiarity with the achievements and the material culture of one of the greatest European Bronze Age civilizations of the second millennium BC, by discussing the historical, social, cultural and economic context of the period. For this module you will have a combination of lectures and workshops, on average taking up about 2 hours per week.
In this module you will learn about the prehistory of Italy from the earliest Palaeolithic settlement down to the Final Bronze Age, the premise for the complex societies of the First Millennium. Topics will include: The first farmers, early metallurgy, Lake dwelling and Terramare, The Apennine culture and the pastoral model, and the Mycenaean connection. For this module you will have a one 2-hour lecture and a one 1-hour seminar each week.
This module is about the human-animal relationships that are fundamental to all societies since they shape diets, economies, landscapers and beliefs but also cultural ideologies. The study of the human-animal interaction can provide detailed insight into the structure and worldview of past societies. This module sets out to provide new insights into mainstream archaeological questions. During the course you will investigate a wide range of issues included the hunter gatherer/ farming transition, the impact of the roman empire; the creation and meaning of ancient landscapes; expressions of social status, ethnicity and gender. For this module you will have a combination of lectures, seminars and workshops for one semester.
The Archaeology of the Silk Road
This is a discipline-bridging module taught by lecturers from across the University campus, exploring a range of archaeological, historical, geographical, biological and scientific themes for the study of the great international trade route, the Silk Road. Students will study the Byzantine and medieval Islamic Silk Roads, Renaissance Venetian luxury trade and exchange, Central Asian history and trade, 19th century perceptions of the Silk Road, scientific techniques and trade and exchange along the Silk Road and genetic studies of the movement of peoples along the Silk Road (Scandinavia, the Middle East and central Asia).
Commensal Politics: Food, Plants and Social Change
This module will provide an alternative approach to understanding society and its changes through time, linking the past to current issues of food security, sustainability, trade and social in/stability. It will explore the social role of food and plants, tackling issues such as the development of tastes, identity, social status, ethnicity, health and medicine, perceptions of nature and commensality, the creation of ‘foodscapes’ and the investigation of diet and plants that cross boundaries in space and time. For this module you will have a combination of lectures and seminars, on average taking up about 2 hours per week.
Topics in Human Evolution
This module will discuss the latest research in Human Evolution. Based on a seminar format students will choose the topics to be covered during the module, from a shortlist of 12, plus any ideas of their own. Once the topics will be decided students sign up to present (on a first-come first-served basis) and there is a short lecture on each topic to give everyone an overview. Students will then present the paper to the group and the presentations are followed by a group discussion. Topics covered will vary according to the interests of the group and in 2015-16 they included Bipedalism, brain size, Homo floresiensis (AKA the Hobbit), landscape use, hunting vs. scavenging, and responses to death and danger.
This module will introduce you in the professional analysis of archaeological plant, animal and human remains. It will be taught entirely through practical sessions, with students learning 'on the job'. Under close supervision, students will work in small groups to carry out laboratory assessments of archaeological assemblages, to the standard expected by the commercial sector. The skills and experience gained through this module will facilitate a transfer into professional archaeology. The module will be taught through three compulsory Saturday schools – attendance at all three schools is required for students to gain a pass mark.
The module will cover the full range of submerged archaeological sites from entire prehistoric landscapes through sunken cities to individual sunken settlements. As well as considering what these sites add to the archaeological record, the module will consider the processes of submergence, bringing in new evidence for the complexity of tectonic changes and human adaptations to sea-level change. For this module you will have a combination of lectures and workshops , on average taking up about 2 hours per week.
The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. The above list is a sample of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.