The University of Southampton

ARCH1005 Archaeological Methods for Fieldwork and Analysis

Module Overview

How do archaeologists find sites, gather data and proceed to make sense of archaeological traces? This module provides a detailed introduction to fieldwork methods and analysis, covering site prospection techniques (e.g., aerial photography and geophysical survey), the basics of environmental and maritime archaeology, the study of standing buildings, scientific dating techniques and excavation. The content is delivered through a combination of lectures and weekly practical sessions, and culminates with a dedicated training excavation, where the skills and knowledge learned during the module are put into practice in a real research environment.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• Introduce you to the conventional and scientific methods used in archaeological fieldwork and analysis.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • How archaeological resources may be discovered;
  • Archaeological fieldwork and recording methods;
  • Recognition of the contribution of scientific techniques to archaeology.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Critically evaluate archaeological knowledge claims based on fieldwork;
  • Critically evaluate field methods and field based data described in archaeological reports.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Present diverse work as a portfolio;
  • Apply the principles of the scientific process and the use of basic scientific terminology.
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Assist with carrying out archaeological surveying and fieldwalking;
  • Understand the principles of geophysical survey;
  • Interpret aerial photographs;
  • Record and draw archaeological remains;
  • Carry out basic excavation techniques;
  • Understand principles of underwater surveying;
  • Understand techniques of environmental analysis;
  • Understand principles of radiometric dating.


This module introduces you to the main field and laboratory techniques of practical archaeology. These include regional and site survey methods, the principles of excavation, dating techniques, environmental reconstruction and sampling, and the special requirements of underwater archaeology.

Special Features

The module includes a two week field school, that will run in weeks 36 and 37. Combined honours students will normally attend for one week (the second week); single honours students may be required to attend for both weeks, but this will depend on the size of the year group. You will participate in a supervised archaeological excavation, normally non-residential. The field school is a required, compulsory, element of the module for all archaeology students (both single and combined honours), but is optional for non- archaeology students. Demonstrations and laboratory sessions will require access to a teaching laboratory. Some sessions will also take place outdoors, in the open spaces at the Avenue campus. One FSS studentship (90 hours), to assist with the training excavation (80 hours) and some of the practical sessions (mainly the outdoor ones, 10 hours).

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: • Lectures • Laboratory sessions (practicals) • Demonstrations Learning activities include • Fieldwork participation • Self-Study

Independent Study74
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Greene, K. (2010). Archaeology: An Introduction. 

Renfrew, C. and Bahn, P. (2012). Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice. 

Drewett, P (2000). Field Archaeology. 

Barker, P. (1993). Techniques of Archaeological Excavation. 

Hester, T., Shafer, H.J. and Feder, K.L. (1997). Field Methods in Archaeology. 


Assessment Strategy

Assessments designed to provide informal, on-module feedback: Discussions during laboratory work, classes and demonstrations. Staff and peer comment during field sessions.


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (1500 words) 50%
Portfolio  (2000 words) 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (3000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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