ARCH10010 Exploring Archaeology

Academic Year 2019/2020

Archaeology explores how people in the past created and inhabited worlds that were often very different from our own. Archaeologists gain unique insights into the human condition by investigating the material remains from past societies, enabling new understandings of what it is to be a person in many different cultural contexts. This module will give you a general introduction to this exciting and engaging subject, enabling you to understand basic archaeological principles, methods and techniques. We will explore how archaeologists reveal the past – investigating how people lived, how they created and used objects, what they ate, what they looked like, and what happened at the end of their lives. The module is taught by 11 lively and well-illustrated lectures, 6 small-group tutorials, one compulsory class fieldtrip to a prehistoric landscape and one visit to a museum, all providing you with practical opportunities to investigate ancient landscapes, objects and materials yourself. Exploring Archaeology is a useful module for students from across all subjects in the university, in particular social sciences, arts and humanities, earth and life sciences, medicine, veterinary studies, engineering and architecture.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students should be able to:
1. Demonstrate an understanding of how archaeologists recover different types of evidence.
2. Review the range of methods used in archaeological investigation.
3. Visit an archaeological site or museum exhibition and be able to adopt an archaeological perspective to what they experience.
4. Construct an essay on a topic in archaeology.

Indicative Module Content:

Introduction: what is archaeology?
What materials survive from the past?
How did people in the past live with materials, and how do archaeologists study artefacts?
How do we find archaeological landscapes?
How do we investigate archaeological landscapes?
How were societies organised?
What were their living conditions like?
How did they change and shape their environments?
What did they look like, and what foods did they eat?
What happened at the end of their lives?
Using the past to understand the present.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours




Field Trip/External Visits


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Lectures that include active/task-based learning.
Tutorials that include peer and group work.
Critical writing skills developed through final assessment (essay). 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Requirements:


Learning Exclusions:


Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Additional Information:
Archaeology PhD students (DRHSC001 Z117, DRHSC001 Z118) may audit only

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Continuous Assessment: Fortnightly online MCQ test (10 questions per test) Throughout the Trimester n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Project: Project based on museum visit (1000 words) Week 5 n/a Graded No


Essay: Essay (1500 words) Week 11 n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Fortnightly Multiple Choice Quiz: feedback on completion of each quiz. Week 5 Project: written feedback 3 weeks after submission deadline. Week 11 Essay: written feedback after submission deadline (beginning of following semester).

CORE: Renfrew, C. and Bahn, P. 2016. Archaeology: theories, methods and practice (7th edition). London: Thames and Hudson.
James Joyce Library, Short Loan Collection, 930.1 REN

Carver, M. 2009. Archaeological investigation. London: Routledge. James Joyce, Short Loan Collection, 930.1 CAR

Grant, J., Gorin, S. and Fleming, N. 2008 The archaeology coursebook: an introduction to themes, sites, methods and skills. London: Routledge. James Joyce, Short Loan Collection, 930.1028 GRA; Also full text online via UCD library

Greene, K. and Moore, T. 2010. Archaeology: an introduction (5th edition). Abingdon: Routledge. James Joyce, Short Loan Collection, 930.1 GRE

Scarre, C. (ed.) 2013. The human past: world prehistory and the development of human societies (3rd edition). London: Thames and Hudson. James Joyce, Short Loan Collection, 930.1 SCA
Name Role
Professor Aidan O'Sullivan Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.  
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 Mon 10:00 - 10:50
Tutorial Offering 1 Week(s) - Autumn: Odd Weeks Mon 15:00 - 15:50
Tutorial Offering 2 Week(s) - Autumn: Odd Weeks Wed 12:00 - 12:50
Tutorial Offering 3 Week(s) - Autumn: Odd Weeks Tues 13:00 - 13:50
Tutorial Offering 4 Week(s) - Autumn: Odd Weeks Mon 15:00 - 15:50
Tutorial Offering 5 Week(s) - Autumn: Odd Weeks Tues 13:00 - 13:50
Tutorial Offering 6 Week(s) - Autumn: Odd Weeks Wed 16:00 - 16:50
Tutorial Offering 8 Week(s) - Autumn: Odd Weeks Tues 11:00 - 11:50
Tutorial Offering 11 Week(s) - Autumn: Odd Weeks Wed 12:00 - 12:50