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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

ARCH54630: Artefact Studies

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2021/22
Tied to V6K607 Museum and Artefact Studies
Tied to F4K507 Conservation of Archaeological and Museum Objects (Professional Practice)
Tied to F4KC07 Conservation of Archaeological and Museum Objects (Professional Practice) (US Placement)

Prerequisites

  • None

Corequisites

  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.

Aims

  • To enable students to gain an understanding of the theory, practice and status of artefact studies, from both an archaeological and an inter-disciplinary perspective, with particular reference to museum collections and archives;
  • To learn about the physical properties, and traditional production and consumption, of a range of materials and products;
  • To gain and develop skills in handling, analysing, interpreting and recording a range of materials and artefacts;
  • To examine and compare the artefactual assemblages of different periods and cultures.

Content

  • This module helps students to gain an understanding of the theory, practice and status of artefact studies, from both an archaeological and an inter-disciplinary perspective, with particular reference to museum collections and archives. More specifically, students learn about the physical properties and traditional production and consumption, of a range of materials and artefacts. They also develop skills in handling, analysing, interpreting and recording a range of materials and artefacts from different periods and cultures

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • A range of major humanistic and scientific approaches, techniques, key terms, concepts, themes and debates relating to the study of artefacts.
  • The material composition, technology of production, uses and cultural context of a range of inorganic and organic artefacts from different periods and cultures collected in museums and archives.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Collect, examine, record, analyse, interpret critically, draw justifiable conclusions from, synthesise, present and acknowledge artefact-related research information (including both quantitative and qualitative information from publications, collections, databases, subject specialists and tutors), selecting and using appropriate methods carefully and accurately, in line with the aims and objectives of a research plan.
  • Handle, examine, analyse, identify, classify, interpret, document, describe and report (in written and graphic form) artefacts from different periods and cultures, using appropriate methods carefully, safely and accurately, summarising critically their physical nature, structure and composition, key features, condition, use, history, significance, age, provenance, relationship to other relevant objects, in line with a research plan.
Key Skills:
  • Use computer and information technology (e.g. word processing, databases, graphing and image processing).
  • Access library, museum, archive and World Wide Web resources.
  • Undertake advanced independent study, research and problem solving.
  • Communicate information and arguments effectively, in written, visual and computerised form, to specialist audiences.
  • Take responsibility for personal, professional and ethical development within the museum and cultural heritage sector or within academia, responding actively to critical feedback.
  • Manage time effectively, working to time-tables and meeting deadlines.

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

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 14 Weekly 1-2 hours 28
Tutorials 8 Weekly 1-2 hours 16
Seminars 1 Once 2 hours 2
Practicals 12 Weekly 1 hour 12
Fieldwork 1 Once 3 hours 3
Preparation & Reading 239
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Artefact Report Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Report 3,000 words 100%
Component: Artefact Report Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Report 3,000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

In class presentation with accompanying handout presenting an artefact the student is researching. Feedback is provided both as group feedback in class and individual 1:1 feedback and helps to identify additional avenues for research the student may explore prior to submitting their summative report.


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