Seeing Beneath the Soil

University of Reading

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Seeing Beneath the Soil

  • Host University

    University of Reading

  • Location

    Reading, England

  • Area of Study


  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Module Provider: Archaeology
    Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
    Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
    Non-modular pre-requisites:
    Modules excluded:
    Module version for: 2016/7
    Summary module description:
    This module introduces students to a variety of geophysical methods which help both archaeologists, geographers and environmental scientists investigate and map the subsurface to solve problems or answer questions without the need for intrusive and destructive excavation. The entire process is covered in an engaging and informal manner - from methodology to data acquisition and processing, to analysis and interpretation. There will be opportunities for students to collect their own data in the field. No previous knowledge in geophysics is expected.
    This module aims to introduce students to the wide array of shallow geophysical techniques increasingly vital to the professional working environment in Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science. It will develop skills in field surveying techniques and introduce software packages which could be employed on field-projects, in dissertations later during your course, or within careers after graduation.
    Assessable learning outcomes:
    By the end of the module it is expected that the student will be able:
    - To build-up experience in the acquisition of data
    - To work as part of a team
    - To recognise the risks and therefore the need for risk-assessments working in the field
    - To process and analyse geophysical data
    - To interpret geophysical data using a graphics package
    - To structure and draft a formal report
    - To discuss confidently the role and practice of geophysics in archaeology
    - To understand the professional geophysics framework
    Additional outcomes:
    Teamwork and fieldwork skills will be developed by informal field classes, and experience will be obtained in writing professional reports. Numeracy will be enhanced through surveying, data gathering, and processing. Skills in visual analysis will also be developed in interpreting the results. ?Geophysics Café? discussion sessions will build confidence in using unfamiliar processing software packages, and give students chance to see how current landmark studies such as the ongoing discoveries at Stonehenge, Silchester, and King Richard III are directly attributable to geophysical investigation.
    Outline content:
    The module will comprise a range of formal taught study sessions developing a basic knowledge of the techniques. These will be partnered by ?Geophysics Café? sessions, in which more informal training and discussion will be encouraged, as students engage in new software packages and discuss and assess current geophysics case studies. Practical fieldwork sessions will encourage the students to put what they have learnt into practice, and process their collected data. As part of the assessment, the students will write a short geophysical report, either using their own collected data, or data previously collected at Silchester.
    Global context:
    This is a technique that is utilised globally in archaeological heritage management, and past students have gone on to work in the Near East, North Africa, Italy and France on field projects after developing their skills in this module.
    Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
    A mixture of lectures, informal discussion, and practical sessions. This is very much a learning-by-doing module, with supervised workshops and the opportunity to contribute to fieldwork on research projects within SAGES.
    Contact hours:
    Lectures 4
    Seminars 16
    Fieldwork 12
    Guided independent study 68
    Total hours by term 100.00
    Total hours for module 100.00
    Summative Assessment Methods:
    Method- Percentage
    Set Exercise 30
    Report 70
    Other information on summative assessment:
    The assessed elements comprise a data analysis exercise as you get used to using the specific geophysics software and a project report (which is built up over the term, comprising the processing, analysis and interpretation of data).
    Formative assessment methods:
    As this module is fieldwork and workshop-based, feedback is constant and iterative as students compile their project report.
    Requirements for a pass:
    Requirements for a pass: 40%

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits are converted to semester credits/quarter units differently among U.S. universities. Students should confirm the conversion scale used at their home university when determining credit transfer.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.


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