24th November 2016

Academic Specifications


Field School Academic Specifications

Pre-requisites for academic accreditation: Current enrolment on an undergraduate, or postgraduate, programme of study in archaeology, anthropology or related discipline at any recognised UK or overseas higher education institution.

UK HEI Level:  5 (2)

Academic Credits: UK 20 (ECTS Credits 10 – US Credits 5)

Contact hours: 40 (formal instruction)

Directed study hours: 140 (supervised field work/excavation activity)

Independent study hours: 20

Excavation Director: Dr Duncan Wright


Bishop Grosseteste University’s Archaeological Field School provides students with an opportunity to take part in a live archaeological project. Students will gain a thorough practical knowledge of the methods and techniques used by archaeologists to survey, record and excavate archaeological features. The module will also provide an opportunity to gain skills in geophysical survey methods, and the processing and interpretation of recovered archaeological artifacts and ‘ecofacts’. By engaging in such activities students will develop a range of skills in site identification, recording methodologies, conservation evaluation, problem solving, public interpretation and project management. Such skills will be of direct benefit to students in supporting their work on a variety of class-based, laboratory-based and live field projects throughout various elements of their degree programmes. The module will provide an opportunity for students to fulfill the field work experience requirement demanded by a range of programmes offered by a number of HE institutions both in the UK and abroad.



Having successfully completed this module, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a knowledge and critical understanding of the methods and techniques appropriate to a modern archaeological field project and the concepts that underpin them;
  • Have an awareness of, and ability to apply, evaluate and critically reflect on appropriate methods of archaeological recording, excavation and post-excavation tasks with a minimum of direction;
  • Use a range of appropriate fieldwork and post-excavation techniques to gather, analyse and synthesise archaeological data of a complex nature, and propose solutions to problems arising from that process;
  • Effectively communicate information, arguments



This module will be taught through lectures, field and laboratory workshops, and directed activities – principally in the form of supervised archaeological recording and excavation. Lectures will take the form of interactive class and site-based instruction, supported by field visits where appropriate. Workshops will be used to explore particular aspects of the archaeological process both on-site and in a post-excavation laboratory context. The directed activities will allow students to develop their practical skills in a live project environment. The required completion of a field journal will encourage reflective and critical evaluation of student learning.




  • Archaeological site identification and evaluation
  • Archaeological project management
  • Health and safety management
  • Geophysical site survey techniques
  • Excavation strategy and decision making
  • Stratigraphic (single-context) recording systems
  • Completing archaeological context descriptions
  • Plan and section drawing
  • Basic surveying and levelling (including DGPS)
  • Archaeological photography
  • Understanding archaeological artefacts
  • Issues in environmental archaeology
  • The post-excavation process



Excavation Field Journal (comprising a daily account of training delivered and skills attained, augmented with a critically reflective commentary) and supplemented by a short report on a selected archaeological method or technique (100%)



Barker, P.A. (1993) 3rd edition. Techniques of Archaeological Excavation. London: Routledge.

Greene, K. (2010) 5th edition.  Archaeology: An Introduction. London: Routledge.

Jones, M.J., (2002) Roman Lincoln: Conquest, Colony & Capital. Stroud: The History Press Ltd.

Roskams, S. (2000) Excavation (Cambridge Manuals in Archaeology). Cambridge: CUP.

Spence, C. (ed.), (1990/1993) Archaeological Site Manual. London: Museum of London.