Archaeology MA

  • Programme duration: Full-time: 12 months   Part-time: 24 months
  • Programme start: Autumn 2021
  • Entry requirements: You will require a good 2:1 or equivalent undergraduate degree should be in Archaeology or related fields such as (but not limited to): Anthropology, some science subjects (Biological, Physics, Geology, Geophysical), and History and Geography.
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Module details

Due to the impact of COVID-19 we're changing how the course is delivered

Students in the MA Archaeology programme complete:

  • Dissertation: (60 credits)
  • Required Taught Modules: (45 credits)
  • Optional Taught Modules:  (75 credits)

 

Compulsory modules

Ace MA and MSc Dissertation (ALGY600)
LevelM
Credit level60
SemesterWhole Session
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

This module aims to give you the opportunity to produce a lengthy piece of work ( 15000-20000 words *) on a topic of your choice. * Footnotes, bibliography and appendices are included in the word count;

The module dissertation will enhance your abilities in the realms of collection, analysis and interpretation of primary material, and the development of critical response in the use of secondary sources;

The purpose of the MA dissertation is to demonstrate that you can identify an issue or problem, research, assemble and analyse the available evidence, present convincing and coherent arguments on the basis of that evidence, and locate the results within the broader context of modern scholarship.

The dissertation should be based at least in part on primary data or sources, and the choice of topic must take into account the accessibility of such materials.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Identify a research-related issue or problem.

(LO2) Design and conduct a scheme of work to explore that issue.

(LO3) Assemble, analyse and appropriately cite both academic literature (references) and primary evidence (sources).

(LO4) Present a coherent and clear set of data and arguments in order to analyse and interpret the data.

(LO5) Use evidence to unfold a continuous and coherent argument that will enable them to make conclusions relating to the problem stated in the introduction of the dissertation.

(S1) Produce a text written and presented to a professional standard

(S2) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Academic writing (including referencing skills)

(S3) Critical thinking and problem solving - Critical analysis

(S4) Time and project management - Project management

Research Skills for Ace M-level Students (ALGY601)
LevelM
Credit level30
SemesterFirst Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

This module will provide students with a set of skills that is necessary for the development, structuring and presentation of their dissertation topic (which can be later applied to PhD research) alongside transferable skills (clarity of written expression, critical faculty, advanced level ability to structure and present arguments in a range of media, and project management) applicable to academic and non-academic work environments; The module also aims to develop your abilities to engage with current historiographical and theoretical debates appropriate to MA level in an informed, analytical and critical manner.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Show advanced critical understanding of the sources and methodological approaches appropriate to specific research topics.

(LO2) Synthesise arguments and data from published material.

(LO3) Make a critical judgement of the relative strengths and weaknesses of research questions and arguments.

(LO4) Show an awareness of ethical issues in research.

(LO5) Show advanced critical understanding of current historiographical and theoretical debates.

(S1) Critical thinking and problem solving - Evaluation

(S2) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Presentation skills - visual

(S3) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Presentation skills - written

(S4) Time and project management - Personal organisation

(S5) Skills in using technology - Online communications skills

Special Subject (ALGY731)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

This module is designed to ensure that the topic chosen for your dissertation is one that you will be able to pursue successfully;

By the end of the module you will have tested the feasibility of your dissertation project, defined the scope of study and the way the research may be carried out;

The module will also provide you with the opportunity to undertake detailed reading and discussion on a specified geographical period / area.

You will also have the opportunity to consider the importance of public engagement with research and to work with your peers and with colleagues in the department and the museums to develop small research-based activities through which to share themes from your research with a non-academic audience.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Understand and independently assess a range of theoretical approachesto past societies

(LO2) Critically appraise the interpretation of archaeological data

(LO3) Identify and reflect upon key issues in archaeological interpretationthat are relevant to your dissertation.

(LO4) Embark on your dissertation with a clear idea of the secondary andprimary sources to be consulted

(LO5) Outline the appropriate theoretical frameworks and methodologicalapproaches to be deployed in your dissertation

(S1) Critical thinking and problem solving - Critical analysis

(S2) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Presentation skills – oral

(S3) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Presentation skills - written

(S4) Time and project management - Personal organisation

Optional modules

Research Themes in the Neolithic of the Near East (ALGY656)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterFirst Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

This module aims to examine the conceptual frameworks and research methods used in investigating the development of the world's first agricultural, pastoralist and sedentary communities, all changes fundamental to the development of complex and modern society.

The module aims to explore the behaviours of these 'Neolithic' communities across the Near East and Europe. We will question when these phenomena appeared, why they might have appeared and how human societies responded to their new opportunities and pressures;

The module aims to examine how much distinctive ritual practices, art, new forms of identity and new sorts of engagements with their landscapes characterized these communities. The West Eurasia scope of the module will provide and opportunity to see how much Neolithic behaviour varied as it first developed and then spread from the Near East (SW Asia) into Europe;

The module will identify key themes in current research into the Neolithic and provide students some choice about the themes upon which we will focus. The module thus aims to develop an understanding of the problems and potential of a range of research tools available to a rchaeology in gaining an understanding of these changes and knowledge of ancillary disciplines relating to human palaeoecology, archaeobotany and archaeozoology;

The module aims to engage students with the research approaches and practices that typify the investigation of key issues in European and Near Eastern prehistory, including an evaluation of primary archaeological evidence;

The module aims to promote and enable the development of students' critical and analytical approach to evidence and the combined use of different sources of evidence;

The module aims to promote and enable the development of students' ability to construct and express effective verbal and written argument at a research level.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students successfully completing the module will achieve an understanding of key research issues in the Neolithic of Europe and the Near East as well as the origins of agriculture more generally. They will have engaged with some of the relevant primary source material/data relevant to these issues. They will themselves have conducted research relevant to these issues on a small scale. Students successfully completing the module will appreciate some of the methodological issues of using archaeological evidence as sources for understanding such early societies.

(LO2) Students successfully completing the module will achieve an understanding of when sedentism and farming appeared, why they might have appeared and how human societies responded to their new opportunities and pressures.

(LO3) Students successfully completing the module will develop an understanding of the problems and potential of a range of research tools available to archaeology in gaining an understanding of changes in human behaviour in the Neolithic and knowledge of ancillary disciplines relating to human palaeoecology, archaeobotany and archaeozoology.

(LO4) Students successfully completing the module will further develop critical and analytical approaches to evidence and the combined use of different sources of evidence.

(LO5) Students successfully completing the module will further develop their ability to construct and express effective verbal and written argument.

(LO6) The module also enables students to foster transferable skills (not all directly tested in the assessment), e.g. listening and note-taking skills; analytical reading; identification, recall and deployment of material relevant to a particular question; awareness of controversy in technical literature; succinct written exposition; succinct oral presentation and discussion of prepared material; time-management.

(S1) Research skills - All Information skills

(S2) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Presentation skills – oral.

(S3) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Presentation skills - written.

(S4) Improving own learning/performance - Reflective practice.

(S5) Time and project management - Personal organisation.

(S6) Critical thinking and problem solving - Critical analysis.

(S7) Critical thinking and problem solving - Synthesis.

(S8) Research skills - Awareness of /commitment to academic integrity.

Issues in Egyptian Settlement Archaeology (ALGY676)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

This module is designed to promote key skills in the collection, analysis and interpretation of primary material (archaeological and textual) relevant to a reconstruction of the nature and organisation of settlement in ancient Egypt;

It will use detailed case-studies to encourage students to develop their ability to formulate and present independent argument using this archaeological and textual material as data;

It will further encourage the presentation of such argument and analysis in a coherent format as might be appropriate for publication.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) An understanding of the primary material (archaeological and textual) relevant to a reconstruction of the nature and organisation of settlement in ancient Egypt.

(LO2) An understanding of theoretical approaches which have been applied in the study of settlement archaeology in Egypt.

(LO3) The ability to formulate and present independent argument using this archaeological and textual material as data.

(LO4) The ability to present this argument and analysis in a format as might be suitable for academic publication.

(S1) Communication (oral, written and visual) - presentation skills – oral

(S2) Communication (oral, written and visual) - presentation skills - written

(S3) Critical thinking and problem solving - critical analysis

(S4) Communication (oral, written and visual) - academic writing (including referencing skills)

(S5) Critical thinking and problem solving - evaluation

Economies and Exchange in the Ancient Near East (ALGY688)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

To introduce students to key issues, methods and evidence essential to the conducting archaeological and historical research on production and trade in the Ancient Near East;

To introduce students to the possibilities and problems of combining the evidence from ancient texts and archaeological materials to produce interpretations of developments in the past.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students successfully completing the module will have developed a critical appreciation of key debates regarding the nature of economic activity in the Ancient Near

(LO2) Students successfully completing the module will gain significant experience in absorbing, synthesising, and using unfamiliar archaeological and historical evidence for the purposes of investigating questions of general historical and cultural significance.

(LO3) Students successfully completing the modue will be introduced to core methods used to investigate production and trade by means of both archaeological and textual evidence (e.g. faunal and archaeobotanical analysis; analysis of seals and sealings; analysis of ancient book-keeping and other administrative practices; provenancing of artefacts and raw materials). Particular attention will be given to the critical and effective interpretation of the results of these methods.

(LO4) Students successfully completing the module will further develop their ability to construct and express effective verbal and written argument.

(S1) Improving own learning/performance - Reflective practice

(S2) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Listening skills

(S3) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Academic writing (including referencing skills)

(S4) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Presentation skills – oral

(S5) Time and project management - Project planning

(S6) Critical thinking and problem solving - Critical analysis

(S7) Research skills - All Information skills

Roman Frontier Systems: From the Late Republic to the End of the Fourth Century Ad (ALGY698)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

This module will not only explore frontiers as manifestations at the highwater mark of Roman imperial history but as a vehicle for assessing the cultural evolution of frontier societies. As the frontiers of Britain are already provided for with modules on Hadrian’s Wall in the School's portfolio of modules, the emphasis of the module will be on frontiers of the rivers Rhine and Danube as well as those of the Near East (especially that in the province of Arabia) as well as in North Africa and the Eastern Desert region of Egypt.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) On successful completion of this module, students will have gained an appreciation of the range of scope and high quality of the archaeological evidence for the frontiers of the Roman empire. This will bring out the different devices and systems that evolved in response to particular problems in particular sectors of the frontiers.

(LO2) Students will have enhanced their understanding of the history of the Roman provinces as well as imperial policy decision making through exploring how frontiers systems were built and evolved over time.

(LO3) Students will have acquired an appreciation of some of the ways that frontiers and zones of cultural interaction might be variously interpreted.

(LO4) Students will have developed transferable skills in terms of presentational skills by means of class presentations and follow-up discussions.

(S1) Communiucation skills

(S2) Team (group) working respecting others, co-operating, negotiating / persuading, awareness of interdependence with others

(S3) Positive attitude/ self-confidence A 'can-do' approach, a readiness to take part and contribute; openness to new ideas and the drive to make these happen

Deciphering Symbols: Approaches to An Understanding of the Earliest Symbolic Behaviour (ALGY761)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

This module seeks to provide students with an understanding of the role of symbolism in definitions of modern humans;

This module aims to provide students with an understanding of a diversity of specialist approaches to the recognition and interpretation of symbolism;

This module aims to provide students with a critical appreciation of the strengths and weakness of symbolic interpretations of the earliest 'symbolic artefacts'.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will gain an understanding of the importance of symbolic behaviour to a definition of modern human behaviour

(LO2) Students will gain a critical appreciation of competing approaches to, and definitions of artistic and symbolic behaviour

(LO3) Students will gain a critical appreciation of different models for the origins of symbolic behaviour in hominins

(LO4) Students will gain a critical appreciation of methods for the recording and analysis of the archaeological evidence of symbolic behaviour

(LO5) Students will learn to integrate specific bodies of archaeological evidence into sociological and anthropological models of early hominin  life

(LO6) Students will learn to critically appreciate the material and technological complexities in producing early parietal art images

(LO7) Students will critically assess the interpretation of a form of symbolic material culture as a case study

(S1) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Academic writing (inc. referencing skills)

(S2) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Presentation skills – oral

(S3) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Influencing skills – argumentation

(S4) Information skills - Critical reading

(S5) Working in groups and teams - Time management

Bronze Age and Iron Age Britain (ALGY786)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

To provide an advanced understanding of later prehistoric studies;

To provide an opportunity to practice a critical method in approaching prehistoric material.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will be able to demonstrate an advanced knowledge of the primary archaeological evidence, and an understanding of the different types of social organisation that characterise the Bronze Age and Iron Age in Britain.

(LO2) Demonstrate critical study skills, prepare original material for seminar sessions, and lead both seminar discussions and tutorial sessions with confidence.

(LO3) Students will be able to present their own arguments in seminars and essays, supported by relevant case studies and original analyses, and show a critical awareness of how these work to develop current debates in the field.

(S1) Critical thinking and problem solving - Critical analysis

(S2) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Academic writing (including referencing skills)

Themes in the Archaeology of Roman Britain (ALGY634)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

The aim of this module is to explore some of those areas in which the 'new' Roman archaeology is making a fresh and distinctive contribution to our understanding of Britian in first five centuries of the first millennium A.D. A number of themes which might be explored include urbanisation, aspects of the relationship between military and civilian structures, the economy, and religion and how these various themes relate to the debate about the depth and direction of the acculturation of the Roman province.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will continue to develop and deepen their knowledge of experience of Roman Britain, derived either from previous Roman modules and/or the methods and techniques of historical archaeology.

(LO2) Critical understanding of the nature of the discipline will now be based on the work of recent decades and will focus more on research strategies and theory than by the repetition of the accepted chronological and thematic framework for a narrative description.

(LO3) Their appreciation of the range of influences on the subject will lead to a better understanding of archaeology as a whole and of the cross-disciplinary nature of scholarly research in general. In particular they will learn to use Roman archaeology as a vehicle for studying processes which have a great deal of modern relevance, including acculturation, the relationship between town and country and the ways that archaeology can illustrate and explain both common and disparate cultural traditions in north-west Europe.

(LO4) On successful completion of this module, students should have gained an appreciation of the range of scope and high quality of the archaeological evidence for the study of Roman Britain.

(LO5) Students will have enhanced their understanding of the history of the province.

(LO6) Students will have acquired an appreciation of some of the current 'theoretical' debates in Romano-British studies.

(LO7) Students will have developed transferable skills in terms of presentational skills by means of class presentations and follow-up discussions.

(S1) Communication skills

(S2) Problem solving/ critical thinking/ creativity analysing facts and situations and applying creative thinking to develop appropriate solutions.

(S3) Team (group) working respecting others, co-operating, negotiating / persuading, awareness of interdependence with others

(S4) Self-management readiness to accept responsibility (i.e. leadership), flexibility, resilience, self-starting, initiative, integrity, willingness to take risks, appropriate assertiveness, time management, readiness to improve own performance based on feedback/reflective learning

Researching Urban Communities in the Near East, 5000-500 B.c (ALGY646)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

The nature and development of urban communities are issues central to an understanding of modern day life. Throughout the module it is intended that students will examine concepts of urbanism in an advanced fashion. Students will also engage in critical evaluation of research strategies and analytical approaches that allow us to appreciate the development and nature of early urban communities in the Near East through the archaeological and textual record. By 3000 BC the Near East had witnessed the appearance of the world's first cities and states.  This module investigates concepts and analytical methods suited to the analysis of these early cities on the basis of archaeological evidence.

In particular, this module aims to go beyond the traditional archaeological focus on external catalysts for initial urbanisation and look instead at the relations that constitute cities and how these might be both reflected in and shaped by the forms, layouts, and structures of urban settlements. This aim requires students to grasp core concepts regarding the spatial organisation of cities;

To appreciate the problems and potential of both the available archaeological and textual data;

To develop a critical analytical sense of how primary archaeological examples might be analysed in order to form arguments regarding the nature, form and development of cities in the ancient Near East;

To learn to utilise key tools, especially software, designed to facilitate the spatial analysis of archaeological site plans.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students successfully completing the module will achieve an understanding of key research issues in Near Eastern archaeology and studies of urbanism.

(LO2) Students  successfully completing the module will have engaged with relevant primary source data.

(LO3) Students successfully completing the module will themselves have conducted research relevant to these issues on a smallscale.

(LO4) Students successfully completing the module will have gained a basic critical understanding of tools and methods relevant to the study of urban forms and structures in the ancient Near East.

(S1) Numeracy/computational skills - Problem solving

(S2) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Presentation skills – oral

(S3) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Presentation skills - written

(S4) Critical thinking and problem solving - Problem identification

(S5) Critical thinking and problem solving - Critical analysis

(S6) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Academic writing (inc. referencing skills)

(S7) Skills in using technology - Using common applications (work processing, databases, spreadsheets etc.)

(S8) Research skills - All Information skills

Regionalism in Archaic Greek World (ALGY689)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterFirst Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

Introduction to key themes in the archaeology of Archaic Greece; Regional case study of one area of the Archaic Greek world, examining a range of key issues including state formation, identity, religion, inter-state warfare, and cultural interaction; Introduce principal forms of Greek art and architecture of the Geometric and Archaic periods, with their stylistic development and social context, and local varients thereof within the case study region.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Outline the broad chronological, geographical and historical framework of the Archaic Greek world (and associated regions)

(LO2) Identify the principal forms of material culture that archaeologists utilise to understand the Archaic Greek world

(LO3) Discuss key concepts such as state formation, identity, and acculturation and outline the processes of societal interaction and social change that underlay the changing material record

(S1) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Presentation skills – oral

(S2) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Presentation skills - written

(S3) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Academic writing (inc. referencing skills)

(S4) Critical thinking and problem solving - Critical analysis

(S5) Working in groups and teams - Listening skills

(S6) Information skills - Critical reading

Pyrotechnology: Theory, Evidence and Experiment (ALGY740)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

To enable students to explore the role of pyrotechnology in human development, what pyrotechnology is, and how its many facets interrelate with contemporary social and technological systems;

To introduce students to some of the theoretical frameworks and ideas surrounding the harnessing of heat by humankind to modify and enhance the material world around them;

To consider how scientific methods can be used to understand pyrotechnological processes, to learn how these processes work and how they may have been understood in the past;

To gain basic practical experience/understanding of key pyrotechnologies and have the opportunity, through project work, to investigate questions about pyrotechnology through research in the library, laboratory and the field.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will gain an understanding of the nature of pyrotechnology and its importance to human development and of the main theoretical arguments about the interpretation of the current body of evidence.

(LO2) Students will gain a practical grounding in the skills required to identify, analyse and interpret pyrotechnological remains.

(S1) Communication, listening and questioning, respecting others, contributing to discussions

(S2) Global perspectives demonstrate international perspectives as professionals/citizens; locate, discuss, analyse, evaluate information from international sources; consider issues from a variety of cultural perspectives, consider ethical and social responsibility issues in international settings; value diversity of language and culture

(S3) Information literacy online, finding, interpreting, evaluating, managing and sharing information

(S4) Literacy application of literacy, ability to produce clear, structured written work and oral literacy - including listening and questioning

(S5) Numeracy (application of) manipulation of numbers, general mathematical awareness and its application in practical contexts (e.g. measuring, weighing, estimating and applying formulae)

(S6) Problem solving/ critical thinking/ creativity analysing facts and situations and applying creative thinking to develop appropriate solutions.

(S7) Research management developing a research strategy, project planning and delivery, risk management, formulating questions, selecting literature, using primary/secondary/diverse sources, collecting & using data, applying research methods, applying ethics

(S8) Self-management readiness to accept responsibility (i.e. leadership), flexibility, resilience, self-starting, initiative, integrity, willingness to take risks, appropriate assertiveness, time management, readiness to improve own performance based on feedback/reflective learning

Artefacts and Analysis (ALGY737)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterFirst Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

This module will provide the theoretical framework and practical instruction in the scientific investigation and interrogation of archaeological artefacts. Students will also gain a working knowledge of the main analytical techniques used in the analysis of archaeological material and how to chose appropriate techniques to address specific types of question;

Basic introductory instruction will be given in the main types of optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and in chemical analysis of artefacts;

A central theme of the module is that, while the scientific study of archaeological artefacts can be used to address cultural and historical questions, that study has to be approached from within a firm archaeological context. Furthermore, the data generated by that study need then to be interpreted within the appropriate cultural framework, with as broad an understanding as possible;

Artefacts from the Departmental study collections and Museum will be studied during the practical sessions and a practical project studying a variety of artefact types resulting in a detailed written report forms part of the final assessment.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students who take this module should gain an understanding of the analytical techniques used to investigate archaeological artefacts.

(LO2) Students will gain some practical experience of the analysis of archaeological materials and a basic grasp of the skills set required to undertake this work.

(LO3) Students will understand the practical problems of sampling archaeological objects and their analysis, and the necessity of a fully contextualised interpretation.

(S1) Sampling, sample preparation, analytical and data analysis skills


Other appropriate modules from the CLAH module catalogue can be chosen in consultation with the Director of Studies.

*The programme detail and modules listed are illustrative and could be subject to change.