ARCH00010 Introduction to Archaeology

Academic Year 2023/2024

Archaeology explores how people in the past and present used places and objects to inhabit worlds that were often very different from our own. This module provides an introduction to this exciting and engaging subject, giving you a background understanding of archaeological principles, methods and techniques. It introduces the history and development of archaeological thought and demonstrates how archaeologists reconstruct the ways that people lived in and understood their landscapes. From this basis the course traces how archaeologists interpret past societies from the objects and places they created and used and how that archaeological record survives to the present and is recorded. The module aims to provide a sound basis from which to engage with archaeological study at degree level.

The module is taught through lectures and tutorials, and there will be a visit to the National Museum of Ireland (Tuesday 20th February - week 5).

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

1. Review the history and development of archaeology as a modern discipline. (K)
2. Demonstrate understanding of how the range of evidence of past peoples is interpreted and presented (K, S)
3. Critically evaluate key issues in modern archaeological practice. (K)
4. Demonstrate ability to engage constructively in group discussions (S)
5. Submit written work which is coherently argued, backed up by evidence, well-presented, and documented in an academic format (S)

Indicative Module Content:

The module will include units on the following topics. If possible (pandemic-dependent) there will be a fieldtrip to the National Museum of Ireland in Week 4 or 5.

- What is archaeology, and where did it come from?
- Discovering the deep past, and starting to date it
- Thinking about things
- Organising and dating the past
- Surveying the landscape
- Excavation
- Monuments and meanings
- Meeting the people
- Recreating past worlds
- A brief archaeology of Ireland
- Revision/assignment preparation

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Autonomous Student Learning






Field Trip/External Visits




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This module uses in class sessions with a combination of lectures and discussion. The assessment is split into three parts. There are multiple-choice questionnaires each week for a small proportion of your overall grade, this encourages you to do your readings and take notes in class. You have a written assignment mid-term to consolidate your learning and to provide feedback on the way to write third level essays. Finally, you will carry out some independent research for a short assignment at the end of the module (with full bibliography and in-text citations). 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Essay: 1500 word essay chosen from range of topics with formative feedback on a draft. Week 8 n/a Graded No


Assignment: Assignment (Week 13): Review of an object on display at the National Museum of Ireland. You will be asked to pick one object from a list of items and address three questions about it. Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Multiple Choice Questionnaire: Fortnightly MCQ based on lecture/tutorial content Throughout the Trimester n/a Alternative linear conversion grade scale 40% No


Carry forward of passed components
Remediation Type Remediation Timing
In-Module Resit Prior to relevant Programme Exam Board
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Online automated feedback

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Ongoing automated feedback on MCQs throughout semester allowing students to asses their engagement. Personal and class feedback on draft of essay (non-assessed). Individual and collective feedback on essay and final assignment.

Core texts
Two options are suggested, either of which will give you good introductory material and examples relevant to the lectures:
Greene, K. and Moore, T. 2010. Archaeology: an introduction (5th edition). Abingdon: Routledge.
James Joyce, Short Loan Collection, 930.1 GRE
This book is linked to a useful website:
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
There are several successive editions of both of these books – use the most up-to-date you can find.
Additional reading
You may also find these books useful as alternative/supplementary reading:
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
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
Dr Neil Carlin Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Ms Thomond Coogan Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Maureen Doyle 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) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Tues 11:00 - 12:50