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ARA8119 : You are what you make: the archaeology of technology and production

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Chloe Duckworth
  • Lecturer: Dr Chantal Conneller, Dr Mark Jackson
  • Visiting Lecturer: Mr Richard Carlton
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


Look around you. We live in a world in which almost everything has been made, modified, and adapted by humans. From the chair you are sitting on, to the window you look out of, to the field that you see in the distance: all were constructed thanks to a web of knowledge and skill that is known as technology.

Archaeology is the only discipline that studies human technology over a long time-period, to examine both how we shaped it, and how it has come to shape, and define, us. This module will provide you with the toolkit you need to investigate the social aspects of the technologies used to transform, modify, and create materials. You will learn how to apply key archaeological and anthropological principles to case studies ranging from the earliest development of stone tools, and the oft-overlooked skills of woodworking and textile manufacture, to making pottery, extracting metals from their ores, and creating glass from sand.

Lectures will delve into archaeological case studies from different periods and regions, and relate these to broader themes and methods. In seminars you will have the chance to use your new knowledge to challenge assumptions about technology, and how it relates to social factors such as identity and power. In practical classes, you will get a taste of the ways in which experimental archaeology informs us about technological choices, from smelting metals, to flame-working glass beads. The assessments will provide postgraduate students with essential academic skills, including the presentation of a poster at a mini-conference, and the drafting of a research proposal aimed at a UK or European funding body

Outline Of Syllabus


Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials111:0011:001 lecture p/w. Remote contact.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion541:0054:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical112:0022:00IN-PERSON practical classes including lecture and seminar components.
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading113:0033:00Three hours of reading (or viewing video resources and other materials) per week.
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading801:0080:00N/A
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
ARA3129You are what you make: archaeology and experiment
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will provide students with the key theoretical concepts and the structured knowledge base required for this subject.

A minimum of two guided readings will be given in advance of each seminar, increasing the depth of knowledge gained from the lecture subject given in that week, and preparing students for an in-depth discussion in the seminar itself.

Practical classes will provide students with experience of experimental design, the formulation of a scientific research project, problem-solving, group work, interpersonal communication, and adaptability. They will also provide the skills required for the experimental design part of the module assessment (experimental design and creation of academic poster).

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Poster2M50A2 or A1 poster. Must contain a combination of text and images. Maximum 1500 words. Minimum font size 11
Research proposal2A502500 words
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Prob solv exercises2MProblem-solving and team-work skills developed in the course of practical classes.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

1. Academic posters will be created and presented in a student mini-conference, providing experience of project-design, innovative communication, and peer assessment (students will have the opportunity to provide peer-to-peer feedback at the conference). Students will be expected to design their own research question based upon the learning undertaken in the module. This will employ advanced skills to conduct research and demonstrate the element of professional activity expected from scholars presenting their research at an academic conference.

2. Written coursework will provide the students with the opportunity to apply the theoretical elements taught in the module, to synthesise and critically analyse academic literature, and to identify areas in which novel research is needed. Students will design their own research question, with help and guidance from the module leader or lecturers, and this will be presented in the form of a research proposal, designed according to the priorities and demands of a selected UK or European funding body. The research proposal will develop essential skills for the academic career path, and transferable skills for other employment options, including professional archaeology.

All Erasmus students at Newcastle University are expected to do the same assessment as students registered for a degree.

Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending semester 1 only are required to finish their assessment while in Newcastle. This will take the form of an alternative assessment, as outlined in the formats below:

Modules assessed by Coursework and Exam:
The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be one essay in addition to the other coursework assessment (the length of the essay should be adjusted in order to comply with the assessment tariff); to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Modules assessed by Exam only:
The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be two 2,000 word written exercises; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Modules assessed by Coursework only:
All semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be expected to complete the standard assessment for the module; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.
Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending the whole academic year or semester 2 are required to complete the standard assessment as set out in the MOF under all circumstances.

Reading Lists