ARCH41270 Archaeological Field Methods

Academic Year 2022/2023

ARCH41270: Archaeological Field Methods will introduce you to some key principles in archaeological investigations, principally through short archaeological excavations of key features in UCD Centre for Experimental Archaeology and Material Culture (e.g. the burnt-down early medieval roundhouse, ironsmelting areas, pottery firing features and other 'archaeological sites' within CEAMC. An experienced archaeologist will guide you in such key archaeological field recording and processing techniques as excavation methods, site planning, sampling, retention of archaeological finds, and traditional methods of recording features (e.g. drawing, photography, use of feature sheets, and other methods). An emphasis is placed on understanding the basic archaeological methods used in fieldwork and applying skills in practice, including text, illustrations, artefact studies, and understanding how we represent the excavated record by various means.

The assessment will be the submission at end of term of a portfolio of written text, drawings and photographs, so that you can display the techniques acquired during the course. This assignment may involve the submission of parts of the portfolio in sequence, but the portfolio will be graded as one submission at end of trimester.

NB: This module will be run almost entirely out of doors in CEAMC, under Covid-19 safe conditions, during the Spring break 2021. You should ensure that you are available for the module for BOTH weeks of the spring break. Further details about the module will be communicated, and it is subject to change under Covid-19 conditions.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module you should be able to:
- Understand how archaeologists approach the investigation of sites and features
- Perform basic tasks using key pieces of archaeological equipment
- Record features in the field
- Critically appraise the techniques utilised
- Consider appropriate excavation strategies and methods to achieve define goals
- Work in groups to manage and undertake a field or other project
- Present your project portfolio to a professional standard

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Small Group


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
See module description 
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
Journal: A reflective learning journal, with written notes, sketches, and personal observations on the process of archaeological excavation. Week 10 n/a Graded No


Portfolio: Portfolio of written text, drawings and photographs and other records that build towards an 'excavation report, so that you can display the techniques acquired during the module. Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded 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, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback will be provided through Brightspace.

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