Module Catalogue 2016/17

ARA1027 : Introduction to Archaeology

  • Offered for Year: 2016/17
  • Module Leader(s): Dr James Gerrard
  • Lecturer: Dr Mark Jackson, Dr Chris Fowler, Dr Lisa-Marie Shillito, Dr Jane Webster, Dr Joseph Skinner
  • Teaching Assistant: Mr Andrew Agate
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



The aims of this module are to provide students with an introduction to:

• the history of archaeological thought and its development into current theoretical approaches;
• methods and techniques used by archaeologists to investigate artefacts, sites and landscapes;
• ways in which archaeologists and anthropologists identify features of social and cultural life;
• the role of ethics and conservation in archaeology.

Outline Of Syllabus

Outline of syllabus (To inform module choice of current students):
Although the main themes and learning outcomes remain the same, specific classes change from year to year according to which lecturers are delivering them. The module will consist of two lectures and a seminar each week for twelve weeks, and will be divided into three parts:

•       Part 1: the development of archaeological thought and practice from antiquarianism to the present day. Trends in European thought; origins of archaeology; antiquarianism; the recognition of prehistory; culture history, New Archaeology and postprocessual archaeology.
•       Part 2: fieldwork (maps, survey and aerial photography); investigating sites by excavation; dating methods; interpreting material culture.
•       Part 3: themes in social and cultural life -- economy, cosmology, death and burial; heritage and ethics.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

By the end of this module students will know:
•       the major trends in archaeology as a discipline, and how these developments reflected wider intellectual movements.
•       the principal techniques archaeologists use to recognise, investigate and conserve material evidence of the past.
•       how archaeologists and anthropologists identify, explain features of social and cultural life.

Intended Skill Outcomes

By the end of this module students will have developed the following skills:
•       using software provided by the Robinson Library to conduct searches for references to sources located in the library and in online sources;
•       being aware of differences between books, edited volumes and conference proceedings, journals and journal articles, encyclopaedias and websites;
•       providing accurate and appropriate citations of references using the Harvard System, and knowing how to construct a bibliography.
•       assessing the usefulness and reliability of various different publication media, and being aware of the importance of evaluating source material for writing effective coursework;
•       taking notes from lectures and other information sources, and avoiding plagiarism when using notes in coursework;
•       presenting coursework to a standard required by Newcastle University's criteria for assessing work;
•       engaging in interpersonal communication through working in small groups in seminars;
•       being aware of ways in which archaeological and anthropological data are used, in order to develop these skills in later modules.

Graduate Skills Framework

Graduate Skills Framework Applicable: Yes
  • Cognitive/Intellectual Skills
    • Critical Thinking : Assessed
    • Data Synthesis : Assessed
    • Active Learning : Assessed
    • Literacy : Assessed
    • Information Literacy
      • Source Materials : Assessed
      • Synthesise And Present Materials : Assessed
      • Use Of Computer Applications : Assessed
  • Self Management
    • Self Awareness And Reflection : Present
    • Planning and Organisation
      • Goal Setting And Action Planning : Assessed
    • Personal Enterprise
      • Innovation And Creativity : Present
      • Initiative : Assessed
      • Independence : Assessed
      • Problem Solving : Assessed
      • Adaptability : Present
  • Interaction
    • Communication
      • Oral : Present
      • Interpersonal : Present
      • Written Other : Assessed
    • Team Working
      • Collaboration : Present
      • Relationship Building : Present
      • Negotiation : Present
  • Application
    • Occupational Awareness : Present
    • Social Cultural Global Awareness : Present

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture241:0024:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion701:0070:0045% of guided independent studies
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading701:0070:0045% of guided independent studies
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00Research Skills Seminar
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork18:008:00Field Trips
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study161:0016:0010% of guided independent studies
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

- Knowledge outcomes will be taught through lectures and seminars in class and developed through private study, they will be assessed by essay and by examination.
- Library and research skills will be taught in seminar sessions and assessed through written work.
- Key skills will be developed in particular in seminars.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M45Information Gathering Exercise: collection of evaluated information sources on a specific topic, (2000 word)
Essay1M452000 word essay
Written exercise1M10Bibliography exercise
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise1M‘What will I get out of my degree?’ 400 words, formatted according to the course guidelines
Written exercise1MParticipation in Blackboard discussion forums, tests and seminar presentations
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Submitted work tests intended knowledge and skills outcomes, develops key skills in research, reading and writing.

All exchange students at Newcastle University including Erasmus, study-abroad, exchange proper and Loyola are warmly encouraged to do the same assessment as the domestic students unless they have compelling reasons not to do so. If this is the case, they are offered the option of writing one 3,000 word essay to be handed in by 12.00 p.m. of the Friday of the first week of the assessment period. This will replace all assessment work required of domestic students. If they wish to take up this option, students need to discuss it with their module leader, having checked with their home university that the new assessment will be accepted by them.

Students who opt for the alternative assessment because they will have to leave Newcastle University before the assessment period (excluding Erasmus students, who are contractually obliged to be at Newcastle until the end of the semester) should hand in their 3000-word essays before they go away. If this is not possible, they should tell the School exchange coordinator that they are going to submit their essays in absentia, then submit their essays through Blackboard and email copies of the essays to the School Office ( Any essay received after the deadline will be considered as a late submission.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2016/17 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2017/18 entry will be published here in early-April 2017. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.