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Unit information: Advance Archaeological Techniques in 2020/21

Unit name Advance Archaeological Techniques
Unit code ARCH10020
Credit points 10
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Prior
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Anthropology and Archaeology
Faculty Faculty of Arts


The course consists of nine full days of archaeological excavation and survey plus two day of Lectures and workshops in the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology in the University of Bristol. You will be taught how to excavate archaeological features and how to record them. You will learn archaeological drawing methods, the use of record sheets, photography and 3D digital photogrammetry along with terrestrial and geophysics surveying techniques.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this unit will enable students to successfully:

1. Identify a range of features that archaeologists frequently work on, such as buried remains, monuments, earthworks, standing buildings and landscapes.

2. Describe and employ field skills used by archaeologists to investigate and record archaeological features, sites, monuments and landscapes (including the completion of context sheets, section and planning drawing and basic matrices, and the keeping of a complete, organised and well-presented site notebook).

3. Identify and explain a range of British archaeological sites and monuments.

4. Identify and use appropriate techniques in the field for archaeological excavation, survey and geophysics.

Teaching details

9 days of excavation and survey/geophysics; x1 field trip to sites of historic/archaeological interest; x 2 days of Lectures and practical workshops.

Assessment Details

1. Formative assessment (required to pass): A series of practical tasks during the excavation which will include excavation and recording skills, survey and geophysical skills (Assesses ILOs: 2 & 4): students must complete at least 5 skills to a competent level for credit.

2. Summative Assessment: Notebook (100%) (Assesses ILOs: 1, 2, 3, 4)

Reading and References

Catling, C. 2009. Practical Archaeology. London: Lorenz Books

Collis, J. 2001. Digging up the Past: an intro to archaeological excavation. Stroud: Sutton.

Drewett, P. 2011. Field Archaeology: an introduction. Routledge.

Gater, J. & Gaffney, C. 2003. Revealing the Buried Past: geophysics for archaeologists. Stroud: Tempus

Greene, K. 2010. Archaeology: an introduction. London: Routledge.

Renfrew, C. & Bahn, P. 2012. Archaeology, Theories, Methods and Practice. London: Thames & Hudson

Roskams, S. 2010. Excavation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.