a Beginners' Guide to Archaeology

Ref: C2337531

Interested in the recent Richard III excavation? Want to know more about how archaeology works? This course is for you. We will look at how archaeologists know where to dig, what methods they use, how they know how old something is, and more. Everyone welcome; no previous knowledge assumed.

Course aim

The aim of this course is to introduce learners to some of the basic principles of archaeology. We will address questions such as how do archaeologists know where to dig, what methods do they use, and how do they know how old an artefact is.

Who is the course for?

What topics will this course cover

We will take a topical approach with each session focusing on a different aspect of archaeology. This will include, amongst others, basic stratigraphic principles, dating techniques and surveying techniques. We shall begin each session with an introduction to the topic of that session and then focus in on specific elements that illustrate significant points relating to that topic. Learners will be encouraged to contribute to discussions. We will be looking at a range of primary and secondary sources, and be using PowerPoint presentations to assist in learning and reinforcement.

What will it be like?

WEA classes are friendly and supportive. You will be encouraged to work together with your fellow students and tutor. You will be asked to share your ideas and views in the class and work with the group to give and accept feedback in a supportive environment. The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you to be actively involved in your learning. You may be asked to undertake work to support your course outside of your class.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

1. Describe the basic principles of stratigraphy 2. List at least three different methods of dating used in archaeology 3. Discuss the different methods of dating used in archaeology including the basic principles of each and their pros and cons 4. Discuss the difference between invasive and non-invasive archaeological investigation 5. List at least three different techniques used by archaeologists to investigate a site

How will I know I'm making progress?

Learners will receive informal feedback from the tutor as well as be asked to review their own progress through the individual learning plans.

What else do I need to know, do or bring?

Learners will require a notepad and pen. They may also find it useful to have a folder in which to store handouts and notes.

Reading and information sources

Essential reading will be provided.

What could the course lead to?

The tutor can provide you with information about what you can do next with the WEA and other local providers. A Giving Information and Advice county leaflet is available with useful local information. What Next? leaflets are available from your tutor or programme organiser to help you with your choices. If you would like to discuss what options are available or how to obtain guidance, please contact your programme organiser.

Download full course outline

a Beginners' Guide to Archaeology Course Outline

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You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2016
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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