ARCH06049 2019 Archaeological field studies

General Details

Full Title
Archaeological field studies
Transcript Title
Archaeological field studies
100 %
Subject Area
ARCH - Archaeology
ESCI - Environmental Science
06 - NFQ Level 6
05 - 05 Credits
Start Term
2019 - Full Academic Year 2019-20
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
Marion Dowd, Shirley Markley, James Bonsall
Programme Membership
SG_SAPPL_H08 201900 Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Applied Archaeology SG_SAPPL_B07 201900 Bachelor of Science in Applied Archaeology SG_SAPPL_C06 201900 Higher Certificate in Science in Applied Archaeology

This module will comprise five full days of practical instruction, covering a number of essential archaeological techniques and methodologies in addition to a five day mini excavation at the end of the semester. Topics covered will include planning (ground plans and sections), site photography, on site treatment of artefacts and samples, on site health and safety, excavation strategies and techniques. The mini excavation will provide practical experience in excavation techniques, feature recording, the taking of samples and the bagging/labeling of finds.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;


Apply basic archaeological fieldwork techniques.


Demonstrate awareness of key recording techniques and attempt their application.


Differentiate soil horizons and stratigraphic contexts.


Comply with best practice in site excavation techniques and the treatment of recovered artefacts.


Demonstrate ability to take instruction and work in groups.


Demonstrate understanding and compliance with site based health and safety regulations.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

The purpose of this module is to replicate as closely as possible, training and experience in the core skills associated with archaeological excavation. This module will comprise 100% practical learning and will involve detailed instruction coupled with practical exercises to both introduce and hone skills and techniques. All practical exercises will be written up by students within a log book that will be submitted and assessed at the end of the module.

Module Assessment Strategies

70% of the module's marks will be awarded for the completion of practical exercises associated with each the 5 day's topics and the 5 day mock excavation. 30% of the module's marks will be awarded for the content and presentation of the logbook.

Repeat Assessments

Unsubmitted or failed logbooks can be resubmitted. Missing over 30% of the practical exercises will result in a need to repeat the missed/failed practical elements.

Indicative Syllabus

Day 1 ‑ Site Planning: Ground Plans, Sections and Profiles. This will include setting up for plans, use of planning frame, offsets, different scales, taking levels, drawing standards and conventions, trouble shooting.

Day 2 ‑ Field Trip to an ongoing excavation. 

Day 3 ‑ Site photography. Including setting up, use of ranging rods, photo boards, feature photography, trench/cutting photography, light and shadows. 

Day 4 ‑ On Site Health and Safety/Manual Handling. This day will cover health and safety issues associated directly with archaeological excavation in a number of different environments which can be taught in association with  the provision of a Safe Pass course. Practical exercises relating to manual handling, including lifting, digging and using wheelbarrows.  

Day 5 ‑ First Aid for Finds. Techniques and principles relating to the recovery of archaeological finds, samples and other materials from archaeological contexts, including handling, bagging, labelling, storage and transport.

Mock excavation (5 Days). Run over five consecutive days at the end of the Semester 2, this small excavation will take place on campus. While the excavation may not include any archaeological deposits, students will gain valuable experience in excavation techniques and recording. This will include laying out cuttings, desodding, excavation by trowel, shovel and mattock, sieving soil, finds recovery, identification of features and soil horizons, feature recording and further opportunities to put into practice planning, photography and on site health and safety.

Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

Coursework & Continuous Assessment
100 %

Coursework Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Log Book Continuous Assessment Written Report 30 % End of Semester 1,2,5
2 Practical Practical Practical Evaluation 70 % OnGoing 1,2,3,4,5,6

Full Time Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Practical Science Laboratory Practical 5 Weekly 5.00
Total Full Time Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 5.00 Hours

Required & Recommended Book List

Required Reading
1990 Archaeological Site Manual Museum of London Archaeology Svc
ISBN 0904818403 ISBN-13 9780904818406

Publication of this third edition of the London Department of Urban Archaeology's manual places their considerable experience within everyone's reach. It has been designed 'for use in the field and covers the methods and techniques employed by MOLAS in both recording and excavation. It is arranged in sections from simple contexts such as deposits and cuts, through the associated activity of environmental sampling, to more complex features such as masonry and timber structures. Further sections deal with skeleton and coffin recording and finds recovery.' The 1994 edition has new sections on photography, surveying and suggestions for the contents of a site archive. Although it is based on work in an urban environment, it is adaptable to other conditions. A5, loose leaf format. (Museum of London, 3rd edition 1994)

Module Resources

Non ISBN Literary Resources


Journal Resources


URL Resources

Other Resources

Outdoor clothing, boots.