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The University of Southampton

ARCH2024 Archaeological Survey for Landscapes and Monuments

Module Overview

Archaeologists have long been fascinated with historic and prehistoric landscapes, monuments and ruins and the response of early antiquarians (John Aubrey, William Stukeley etc.) was often to sketch or plan these special places, often before there was any thought of excavating them. Thanks to key individuals and organisations in the 20th century (e.g., O.G.S Crawford at the Ordnance Survey) surveying has played a vital role in the evolution of the discipline of archaeology in the U.K. and recent advances, largely technology driven, have enabled us to look at individual sites, and even entire landscapes, in much greater detail and using digital techniques that would have amazed those early pioneers of archaeological planning. This practical module will concentrate on teaching students how to survey using state of the art equipment (Total Stations, GPS etc.), how to download and process this data using specialised software, how to create maps and plans using industry standard software (CAD and GIS), as well as how to integrate these within a written report and interpret modern survey data. The module will also look at the history of survey in Archaeology, as well as relevant case studies, often carried out by those involved with teaching the module.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • the history of archaeological survey
  • the development of new methodologies and techniques of survey
  • awareness of current best practice in archaeological fieldwork
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • ability to recognize, describe and evaluate archaeological monuments
  • analyse their relationship to one another, and their place in the wider landscape context
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • demonstate numeracy and basic trigonometry skills
  • work as a team
  • demonstrate computational skills
  • the ability to publish and present survey data
  • demonstrate the ability to undertake archival research
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • ability to use specific types of survey equipment, and understand their application and limitations in the field
  • ability to use relevant specialist computer software to process and publish survey results to publication standard


The module is designed as an introduction to archaeological survey methods and practice, and aspects of field survey data processing and publication. Students will learn the fundamental methods of field survey and be involved at a practical level with techniques of surveying, use of a total station, GPS and resistivity survey, and the processing of such data for publication. This will be reinforced by an intensive week of surveying over the Easter vacation, the data from which forms the basis for the assessed project undertaken by the students.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods will include: • lectures to introduce key themes and case studies; • practicals to familiarise students with the survey equipment e.g., total station, GPS etc.; • practicals with software required for presentation of survey data e.g., ArcGIS & AutoCAD. Learning activities include • critical reading of texts on the theory and practice of archaeological survey • research of visual as well as written sources • familiarisation with specialist software

Preparation for scheduled sessions5
Wider reading or practice5
Practical classes and workshops20
Completion of assessment task68
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Bettess, F (1998). Surveying for Archaeologists. 

Bowden, M. (Ed.) (1999). Unravelling the Landscape. 

Clark, A. (2001). Seeing Beneath the Soil. 

Swallow, Watt and Ashton (1993). Measurement and Recording of Historic Buildings. 

Chapman, H. (2006). Landscape Archaeology and GIS. 

Aston, M. (1985). Interpreting the Landscape. 

Howard, P (2007). Archaeological Surveying and Mapping: Recording and depicting the landscape. 



Individual Digital Presentation


MethodPercentage contribution
Desk-based assessment  (1500 words) 25%
Project  (3000 words) 75%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (2000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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