ARCH20630 Archaeological Field Skills

Academic Year 2022/2023

This module is an introduction to the skills of Archaeological Fieldwork, obtained primarily through participation in a two week training excavation held at Glendalough in Co. Wicklow. The recovery of data in the field is central to archaeology - although not all archaeologists are fieldworkers - and a basic understanding of how this data is created through the craft of fieldwork is central to the discipline. Field skills will include practical tasks, such as cleaning, defining and excavating features, but also a wide range of recording and sampling processes: from archaeological survey through to filling in context sheets and soil descriptions and laboratory analysis of samples. The latter will be facilitated by a small number of follow up sessions in the Archaeology laboratories during the Autumn Trimester.

Fieldwork is a fundamental community building experience for archaeologists, and the Glendalough fieldschool a key part of the life of the School. We are committed to running an excavation that is open for all, and any students with potential health or access concerns should discuss this with the module coordinator as soon as possible - we have always been able to tailor the programme to individual's needs.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

- demonstrate familiarity with key field work skills
- prepare a portfolio highlighting key skills obtained
- understand the relationship between field work and post excavation
- demonstrate an understanding of the nature of archaeological field work environments
- work in small teams

Indicative Module Content:

Archaeological Field Skills students will participate in the UCD School of Archaeology Glendalough Fieldschool (August 19th - 30th 2019). This is a major excavation focusing on the evolution of the Glendalough valley and combining research, management, outreach and teaching objectives. A small number of follow up laboratory sessions will take place in Autumn. Students will be required to develop a portfolio highlighting the range of skills they have obtained.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning






Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
- much of this module is based on active/task based learning in the field, recorded through a portfolio 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
ARCH20100 - Archaeological Fieldwork

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Portfolio: Portfolio demonstrating the skills obtained during the module Week 6 n/a Other Yes


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
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback will be provided throughout the practical work. Formal feedback on the portfolio provided individually, with summary for whole class.

Name Role
Dr Neil Carlin Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Mr Conor McDermott Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Rob Sands Lecturer / Co-Lecturer