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Durham University

Postgraduate Module Handbook 2021/2022

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2021-22. The current handbook year is 2022-23

Department: Archaeology

ARCH40145: Conservation Theory and Method

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 45 Availability Available in 2021/22
Tied to F4K507 Conservation of Archaeological and Museum Objects (Professional Practice)
Tied to F4K707 Conservation of Archaeological and Museum Objects (Dissertation)

Prerequisites

  • None.

Corequisites

  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.

Aims

  • To provide the knowledge required to plan the conservation of archaeological and museum objects in a professional manner.
  • To develop an understanding of the evolution of the field, its organisation and present day aims as well as the methodologies it employs.
  • To develop the student's understanding of how ethical factors influence the development of conservation approaches.

Content

  • The module covers the physical, chemical and biological decay mechanisms for archaeological and museum object materials, the theoretical underpinning for conservation treatments and the development of the subject of conservation. A progression of seminars are designed to engage students in ethical debates to develop their judgement skills.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • A substantive understanding of the history and organisation of conservation, and the key ethical ideas and debates that underpin it.
  • A detailed understanding at an advanced level of archaeological and historic materials and technologies, in order to appreciate and recover the information contained in every object.
  • A detailed knowledge of the physical and chemical basis for the decay, stabilisation and conservation processes of ancient and historic materials.
  • An understanding of the diverse contexts within which conservation is undertaken and their impact on project planning and development.
  • A well-developed understanding of the ethical underpinning needed for pro-active decision-making in conservation work.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Mastery of the research and skills relevant to assessing emerging conservation approaches.
  • The module covers the physical, chemical and biological decay mechanisms for the materials from which archaeological and museum are made as well as the theoretical underpinning for conservation treatments and the development of the subject of conservation. A progression of seminars are designed to engage students in ethical debates and to build their judgement skills regarding treatment methodology and theory.
Key Skills:
  • Communication in written, image, computer and verbal formats to a professional standard.
  • Demonstrate to a professional standard, an ability to undertake research, collect information (data) and critically evaluate it, and to draw appropriate conclusions.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Teaching is primarily provided through lectures, seminars, site visits and DUO. Learning is primarily achieved through independent study, lectures, discussions, visits, observing objects their decay and treatment. Assessment is achieved through essays & short answer test.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 21 2 42
Seminars 9 1.5 13.5
Visits 2 5 10
Self-study 384.5
Total 450

Summative Assessment

Component: 2 essays Component Weighting: 67%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 1 3000 words 50% 1
Essay 2 3000 words 50% 1
Component: Examination Component Weighting: 33%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Examination Q15, 2 hours 100% 1

Formative Assessment:

The formative consists of two short writing projects (1500 words and 2000 words) which build the skills needed for accessing, assessing and undertaking conservation research.


Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University