ARCH20510 Archaeology of Landscapes

Academic Year 2023/2024

Landscape archaeology explores the often complex relationships between people and their environments by investigating how people shaped the land around them, how landscapes may have been perceived (including symbolic and ideological meanings of landscapes), and how culture and nature can shape each other.

Taking a multi-disciplinary approach, this module will explore how archaeologists encounter, investigate and interpret archaeological landscapes. The module will introduce students to concepts and theoretical approaches in landscape archaeology. The module will reveal the wide variety of methods that can be drawn upon to investigate landscapes, including cartographic and other documentary sources, field survey and excavation, imaging (including aerial photography, GIS, LiDAR and geophysical surveys), palaeoenvironmental studies and oral histories. A case study-based approach will demonstrate how these methods can be applied, the results considered, and narratives developed about past societies and environments.

Through well-illustrated lectures, the module will draw upon case studies from around the world, from early prehistory to early modern societies. Active learning through in-class discussions will enable students to develop a deeper understanding of the topic. A one-day fieldtrip will also be undertaken to complement the lectures and enable students to put their learning into practice (Thursday 2nd November). The fieldtrip will require suitable outdoors clothing (hiking boots or similar, waterproof trousers, etc.).

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module, students should be able to:

1. Understand key theoretical and methodological approaches towards investigating archaeological landscapes.
2. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of applying different approaches in landscape archaeology.
3. Characterise key debates concerning ancient landscapes from a multi-disciplinary perspective.
4. Understand how archaeology can help us adapt to landscape and climate change in the world today.

Indicative Module Content:

Five themes will be explored:
1) Concepts and theory in the study of archaeological landscapes.
2) Methods.
3) Characterising landscapes.
4) Creating a sense of place.
5) Archaeology, the Anthropocene and climate change.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Autonomous Student Learning




Field Trip/External Visits




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Lectures that include active/task-based learning
Fieldtrip to put learning into practice.
Critical writing skills developed through two assessments 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

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
Project: Illustrated project on an archaeological landscape. Week 6 n/a Graded No


Essay: 2500-word essay on an archaeological landscape. Week 12 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?

Week 6 Project: written feedback within 4 weeks after submission deadline. Week 12 Essay: written feedback within 4 weeks after submission deadline. The initial project will help you develop your ideas, and feedback from the project is intended to help you construct your final essay.

David B, Thomas J (eds) (2016) Handbook of landscape archaeology. New York: Routledge. UCD Library eBook.

Ashmore W, Knapp BA (2012) Archaeologies of landscape: contemporary perspectives. Oxford: Blackwell. James Joyce Library, 930.1 ASH (copies in Short Loan Collection)

Hicks D, McAtackney L, Fairclough G (2016) Envisioning landscape: situations and standpoints in archaeology and heritage. Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press. UCD Library eBook.

Howard P, Thompson IH, Waterton E, Atha M (2019) The Routledge companion to landscape studies (2nd edition). Abingdon: Routledge. UCD Library eBook.

Kluiving SJ, Guttmann-Bond EB (eds) (2012) Landscape archaeology between art and science: from a multi- to an interdisciplinary approach. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. UCD Library eBook.

Layton R, Ucko PJ (1999) The archaeology and anthropology of landscape: shaping your landscape. London: Routledge. UCD Library eBook.

Tilley C (1994) A phenomenology of landscape: Places, Paths and Monuments. Oxford: Berg. James Joyce Library, 936.1 TIL (copies in General and Short Loan Collection).

Tilley C (2016) Interpreting landscapes: geologies, topographies, identities (Explorations of Landscape Phenomenology 3). Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press. UCD Library eBook.

Wiley J (2007) Landscape. London: Routledge. James Joyce Library, 304.2 WIL (copies in General and Short Loan Collection).
Name Role
Mr Adam Collins Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Erin Crowley-Champoux Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Stephen Davis Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Floor Huisman Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Penny Johnston Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Helen Lewis Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Professor Aidan O'Sullivan Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Jessica Smyth Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Professor Graeme Warren 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 12:00 - 12:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 Thurs 09:00 - 09:50