ARCH10170 Making the Past

Academic Year 2022/2023

Archaeology is the discipline of things, exploring how people make their own worlds through material culture. This can include houses, personal dress and jewellery, tools and equipment, cooking utensils, amongst many other things. The stories of all things includes the raw materials used to make them, the skills, knowledge, techniques and practices involved in the making, and the use, wear, repair and discard of them into the soil. This module introduces you to how people made things in the past. You will work together as a class in a practical experimental archaeology week, outdoors in the open air, using genuine raw materials (plants, clay, stone, flint, wood, textiles, etc) to make various replicas of archaeological objects. You will make things, and thereby gain genuine personal insights into the material worlds of the past.

The module will have 2 introductory lectures at very start of trimester 2. This practical course is then taught over one week at UCD School of Archaeology's Centre for Experimental Archaeology and Material Culture (CEAMC), Monday-Friday, 7th-11th March, 2022. A concluding lecture is then held in late March 2022.

CEAMC is UCD School of Archaeology's experimental archaeological facility on the UCD Campus (in Roebuck district). Do dress for practical outdoors activities in Irish weather. For further information on CEAMC, see weblinks below.

UCD CEAMC website is here

UCD CEAMC on YouTube

UCD CEAMC on Twitter

UCD CEAMC on Facebook

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Having taken this module, you will be expected to:

1. Understand how making things in the past required raw materials, knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques
2. Consider how experimental archaeology can be applied to investigate archaeological evidence
3. Have developed your writing, reading, critical thinking, verbal communication, and study skills

Indicative Module Content:

Wk 1: Introduction to the module and to experimental archaeology
Wk 3: Fieldtrip to tour CEAMC on the University College Dublin Campus
Mid-term break: March 7-11, 2022: Practical Fieldweek at CEAMC
Wk 10: Class Gathering to reflect on the field week at CEAMC

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Autonomous Student Learning








Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
3 Lectures that include active/task-based learning.

1 Practical intensive week at UCD Centre for Experimental Archaeology and Material Culture (CEAMC), 7-11 March, 2022 (during the mid-term break)
Working together with class mates of all abilities, using your hands to work materials and make things

Encouragement of questioning of assumptions about the past, critical thinking, creativity & writing skills developed through essay and learning journal

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: Short essay (800 words). You will write an essay on how experimental archaeology can be used to investigate an aspect of past material culture, based on readings and videos provided in Brightspace. Week 5 n/a Graded No


Journal: You will participate in a practical "making things" field week at UCD Centre for Experimental Archaeology and Material Culture (CEAMC), and complete a Learning Journal reflecting on your experiences. Week 12 n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn 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?

Week 5 Essay: written feedback 3 weeks after submission deadline Week 12 Learning Journal: written feedback 3 weeks after submission deadline.

Name Role
Assoc Professor Meriel McClatchie Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Brendan O'Neill Lecturer / Co-Lecturer