MODULE DESCRIPTION 2017-18

SPRING SEMESTER 15 CREDITS
AAP6148 INVESTIGATING ANCIENT ENVIRONMENTS
CO-ORDINATOR: GIANNA AYALA
OTHER TUTORS:

MODULE OUTLINE

This module introduces the ways in which archaeologists reconstruct past environments. Through a combination of different learning experiences (lectures, student-led seminars, practical classes and directed independent study) students will explore a variety of contemporary and ancient environments as well as enhance their understanding of the methods and professional standards of environmental reconstruction. Seminars and assessments will encourage students to apply the concepts and methods introduced in the module to their specific areas of interest. Emphasis is upon the most common analytical techniques. The intent is to provide a working knowledge of many techniques, and awareness of others, which require a more extensive practice to master and apply successfully.


BROAD ACADEMIC AIMS AND PRINCIPLES OF THE UNIT

This unit aims to:

  • Provide students with an appreciation of the important role of ancient environments in the history of human societies
  • Encourage students to engage with current research debates, and develop critical perspectives and evidence-based arguments
  • Introduce advanced methods of environmental reconstruction and situate them in the context of broader archaeological research.
  • Enable students to gain practical proficiency in sediment and soil description and analysis (including magnetic susceptibility, organics and pH).
  • Enable students to formulate and complete a desk-based project that applies methods of environmental reconstruction to examine a specific research question.
  • Foster students’ skills in presenting complex ideas, details of archaeological methods (appropriate to particular research contexts) during seminars and in extended written argument.

MEASUREABLE LEARNING OUTCOMES

By the end of this module students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of :

  • have received training in the theory & practice of environmental reconstruction of past evnironments, with an emphasis upon application to archaeological questions. This will demonstrate the practicalities of obtaining scientific data, of project design, group working to process analytical data. Students will become familiar with recent research and analytical approaches. They will be able to undertake the most common forms of analysis and interpret their results.

EXAMPLES OF LECTURE/SEMINAR TITLES/TUTORIALS

Our lectures/seminars are highly participative and taught by leaders in their field.

  • Introduction to Landscape Reconstruction
  • Practical: Theory and application of soil and sediment description
  • Investigating wetland environments
  • Practical: Theory and application of particle size, organic matter and pH
  • Investigating upland environments
  • Practical: magnetic susceptibility
  • Investigating alluvial / coastal environments
  • Investigating environmental reconstruction: pollen
  • Field Trip to Big Moor
  • Practical: Theory and application of soil and sediment characterisation and interpretation

STUDENT ATTENDANCE AND INDEPENDENT STUDY

Type

Hours

Lectures 4
Seminars 4
Laboratory Sessions 8-12
Independent Study (including preparation for assessments) 130

ASSESSMENT

Method

% of marks

Hours/Length

Essay 100% 3000 words