ARA8190 : Research Themes, Theories and Skills in Archaeology I

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


This module will cover two main areas.
1)It will introduce key theoretical and methodological questions in archaeology through a series of case-study seminars. Each seminar will be led by a member of archaeology staff and will develop advanced understanding of a particular theme. The themes will relate to the current research strands in Archaeology at Newcastle, and will refer to particular issues linked to each academic staff member’s own research. It will also deliver field training and subject specific skills.

Outline Of Syllabus

Outline syllabus, intended as a guide only; week-by-week topics may be slightly different to the following:

Theory Seminars to include: Landscapes, Bodies, Material Culture
• Workshops: Digital illustration
• Workshop: Employing regional and national archives in the UK.
• Workshop: Studying material culture and museum collections.
Summative Assessment: Theory Essay to be submitted
• Workshops: Using databases in archaeology.
• Workshops: Introduction to using GIS in archaeological research.
• Workshop: Who is afraid of statistics?
• Workshop: Using radiocarbon dates and Ox Cal.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture21:002:00Statistics, C14
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion121:0012:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading111:0011:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching81:008:00Theory seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops102:0020:00Databases, illustrations, C14, GIS, maps and archives, statistics
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops21:002:00library resources, museum resources
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork57:0035:00Field training
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study101:0010:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

In Semester 2, Students will be assisted by formal sessions on ‘Advanced library skills’ (practical) and a ‘dissertation workshop: preparing your outline’ (small group teaching). These sessions will occur in weeks 2 and 3 after an initial introduction to the dissertation in week 1. They will each have to give a ten minute presentation on their outline submission. They would have already benefited from an oral communication skills training session as part of ARA8090 in semester 1. A series of sessions will help to prepare students with various skills in academic research including networking, publishing work, and applying for jobs and careers. There will be training leading up to the Postgraduate Conference in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology which is designed to help with preparing for the MA Dissertation.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M1002000 word essay
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The dissertation proposal will link to ARA8099 in Semester 3. It must be based on a clearly defined research
question and an associated set of data of archaeological sources. A methodology will then be created for the
analysis of the data/sources, and the proposal as a whole structured according to the AHRC headings for research
project proposals.

The subject of the essay will relate to one of the theoretical lectures in weeks 1-4. The essay will assess
understanding of and ability to critically analyse data and published interpretations relating to key themes in
archaeological theory. It will also provide the opportunity to demonstrate an ability to apply relevant analytical and/or presentational methods.

The project and linked tutorial will assess your knowledge and understanding of some of the key archaeological
research methods and skills discussed during in the module. The project must be based on a clearly defined research question and an associated set of data or archaeological sources. A methodology will then be created for the analysis of the data/sources, putting into practice at least two of the following skills: critical analysis of published sources; studying collections of material culture; using regional and/or national archives; employing the www for research; using GIS in research; databases and/or statistics in archaeology; and employing radiocarbon dates.

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

This module can be made available to Erasmus students only with the agreement of the Head of Subject and of the
Module Leader. This option must be discussed in person at the beginning of your exchange period. No restrictions
apply to study-abroad, exchange and Loyola students.

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

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