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The University of Southampton

ARCH6412 Professional Practice

Module Overview

This module is designed to equip students with the essential core skills to engage with higher-level archaeological practice within the UK and overseas. By this, we refer to activities beyond routine fieldwork procedures such as survey and excavation. The module provides a skills base for individuals to undertake the management of archaeological projects, from their initial design through to post-excavation analysis and publication. It provides instruction on how published, grey literature and other forms of data (e.g. from Historic Environment Records) can be effectively gathered, assessed and assimilated to provide information packets for Heritage Impact Statements, desktop assessments and research reports. Coverage is given to work with archives and legacy data (e.g. old excavation archives); the preparation of reports for publication, including editing, proof reading and management of graphic content; and academic writing, with a particular focus on preparation of archaeological texts for publication. Overall, the module provides a base essential for anyone wishing to develop a senior role within the heritage and commercial archaeological sector, or academic archaeology.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Knowledge of the processes and workflows applied in the archaeological sector and heritage industry
  • Knowledge of project planning and implementation
  • Knowledge of report production for publication
Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Familiarity with the structure and organisation of archaeological practice within the UK
  • Detailed knowledge of how to design and manage archaeological projects, including post-excavation analysis
  • Instruction in the preparation and writing of project designs, Heritage Impact Statements, desktop assessments and professional archaeological reports
  • Detailed knowledge of the publication process with explicit reference to archaeological reports


The module will be delivered through a combination of weekly lectures, seminars and role-play practicals, and two fieldtrips. The topics typically covered are as follows: • Overview of the structure of UK archaeology as currently practised by professional bodies – commercial archaeological units, governmental, local authority and non-governmental heritage bodies, museums engaged in archaeological practice/management and the HE sector. • Archaeological project management, with a focus on the creation of research designs and written schemes of investigation, project planning, risk identification and mitigation, and budgeting. • Management of post-excavation projects • Preparation of Historic Environment impact assessments • Report writing for archaeological purposes • Engaging with archives and legacy data • Preparation of reports for publication (including use and commissioning of graphical content, editing and proofreading).

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures Seminars Role-play practical sessions Fieldtrips

Preparation for scheduled sessions10
External visits6
Follow-up work30
Completion of assessment task10
Wider reading or practice50
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

MoRPHE project management.

CIfA Standards and Guidelines.

Hunter, J. & Ralston, I. (2006). Archaeological Resource Management in the UK: An Introduction. 

Heritage Impact Assessments.

Ritter, R.M (2002). The Oxford Guide to Style. 

Connah, G. (2010). Writing about Archaeology. 


Assessment Strategy

The module utilises both formative and summative methods of assessment. Formative assessment will take the form of (1) a submitted draft for the project design element of the summative portfolio, and (2) through evaluation of individual student performance within the role-play practicals. Final assessment will be through a portfolio of written and illustrated work. The assessments have been designed to encourage the acquisition of skill sets common in current professional archaeological practice, and will thus help with student employability.


Project design


MethodPercentage contribution
Portfolio 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Portfolio 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Field Trips

Fieldtrip and materials costs will be covered within the programme.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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