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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Centre for Open Learning : History, Classics and Archaeology

Undergraduate Course: Archaeology Today (LLLE07046)

Course Outline
SchoolCentre for Open Learning CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 7 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryAn introduction to the history, development and application of archaeology in a global context. This course will combine examinations of various archaeological sites and periods, with an exploration of the history of the subject and the methods and skills involved. The course will introduce students to the range of practical, methodological and theoretical approaches that archaeology uses. Students will experience the interdisciplinary approaches that archaeology has developed, through lectures, practice-based tutorials and classroom activities.
Course description 1. Introduction and a History of Archaeology
Introduction to archaeology and an outline of the course. How do we know what we know about archaeology? We will cover the development of the subject from the early antiquarians, to the budding scholars of the 20th century and into the present multi-disciplinary subject, which encompasses archives and museum collections, scientific-based digital techniques to development control and the rise of commercial archaeology.

2. Archaeological Theories & Methods
An exploration of the different theoretical frameworks and approaches that have been developed and are applied to archaeological material. In addition, students will explore the range of methods used by archaeologists to gather and analyse archaeological material (e.g. surveys, excavation, aerial photography, Lidar and more).

3. Prehistory: from the Palaeolithic to the end of the Iron Age
An introduction to the earliest periods of human life on earth, from the Palaeolithic through to the Iron Age. This will include the origins of the earliest art on earth, the transitions from stone to metal tools, the introduction of agriculture and the trends from mobile societies to sedentary lifeways. By studying a range of landscapes, sites and artefact evidence we will consider changes in cultures, technologies and settlement patterns from across Prehistory.

4. Themes in Archaeology (1): home
Thematic engagement with aspects of the subject, such as the topic of 'home', from prehistory to present, enables students to explore ranges of archaeological evidence. By using themes to investigate archaeological situations, the students will experience a range of locations around the globe and engage with different forms of evidence, to consider cultural practices, social change and archaeological methods.

5. Themes in Archaeology (2): the everyday
Developing on the previous week, we will consider a range of archaeological evidence that encompasses the 'everyday'. We shall focus on the things we take for granted, for example, toothbrushes, roads and mobile phones and discover how archaeology has developed practices to uncover the hidden biographies behind everyday objects. This will enable the students to consider how everyday objects from the past undergo a number of 'lives', and how everything has its own biography that can be traced from the raw materials used to create it, to its final act of disposal.

6. World Archaeologies
An opportunity for students to explore their archaeology. This section will enable students to lead their own research into the archaeology of their homeland. During which they will consider the approaches taken by archaeologists in their countries and how they compare and contrast with other global examples.

7. The Archaeology of the Industrial and Contemporary past
An exploration of the world today and over the last 300 years provides us with a startling image of industrialisation. Through archaeology we explore the concept of the Anthropocene and how the practice of archaeology is developing to engage with the 20th and 21st centuries.

8. Practising Archaeology today
By visiting a range of landscapes, sites and museum archives, students will gain a range of experiences of how archaeology has been practiced in the past and how it is undertaken today. They will experience different landforms, consider how human activity has altered the landscape and how archaeology has developed different techniques to survey, investigate and analyse changing landscapes. Through site visits (where possible) they will experience how archaeological sites are presented to the public and by handling artefacts from museum collections they will experience the range of crafts that humans have developed.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2022/23, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  30
Course Start Lifelong Learning - Session 3
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 29.3, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 69 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Assessment 1: oral presentation worth 30% of the final mark.
Assessment 2: one essay (2,000 words) worth 70% of the final mark due after the end of the taught course.
Feedback Students will receive written feedback for their oral assessment. They may discuss this with the tutor; students may contact the tutor for an informal discussion of progress at any time in the session. Students will receive detailed written feedback on their essay submitted after the end of the course and may discuss this with their Personal Tutor.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate, by way of coursework as required, an ability to identify the methods, practices and theories involved in archaeological exploration and interpretation
  2. demonstrate, by way of coursework as required, an awareness of key periods in archaeology
  3. demonstrate, by way of coursework as required, an ability to examine critically evidence from archaeological sites, and the methods used to investigate archaeological remains
  4. demonstrate, by way of coursework as required, an ability to analyse different types of evidence (i.e. documentary and physical, primary and secondary) and to draw reasonable conclusions from this.
  5. demonstrate, by way of coursework as required, an ability to formulate an informed view and have a basic grounding in global archaeology today.
Reading List
Barker, P. 1993. Techniques of Archaeological Excavation. London: Routledge.
Carver, M. O. H. 2009 Archaeological investigation. London: Routledge
Edwards, K. & Ralston, I. 1997. Scotland Environment and Archaeology 8000BC-AD1000. Chichester: Wiley.
Fagan, B. 2011. World Prehistory: a brief introduction. Pearson Prentice Hall.
Gamble, C. 2000. Archaeology: The Basics. London: Routledge.
Greene, K. 2002. Archaeology: An Introduction. London: Routledge.
Graves-Brown, P., Harrison, R. & Piccini, A. 2013 The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of the Contemporary World. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Hodder, I., Shanks, M., Alexandri, A., Buchli, V., Carman, J., Last, J. & Lucas, G. 1997. Interpreting Archaeology, Finding Meaning in the Past. London: Routledge.
Renfrew, C. 2006. Figuring It Out: What Are We? Where Do We Come From? London: Thames and Hudson.
Renfrew, C. and Bahn, P. 2012. Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice. London: Thames & Hudson.
Scarre, C. (ed.) 2005. The Human Past. London: Thames & Hudson.
Trigger, B. 1989. A History of Archaeological Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Source analysis
Oral communication
Critical thinking
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Sally Crumplin
Course secretaryMs Kameliya Skerleva
Tel: (0131 6)51 1855
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