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Learn to be an Archaeologist: Digging the Reconstructed Celtic Village at St Fagans Museum

Level 3, 10 Credits.

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Are you interested in local history and archaeology? Did the recent Channel 4 Time Team excavations of the Iron Age hillfort at Caerau catch your eye and inspire you to want to be an archaeologist? This is an exciting new course which will help you to discover how and why archaeologists dig up the past. Through stimulating and fun classes and practical sessions you’ll learn how to excavate an archaeological site, develop new skills and understand some of the methods involved in archaeological discovery.

Who is this course for?

Anyone with an interest in archaeology and history. It will provide an opportunity for students to learn how and why archaeologists examine the past, and encourage and provide opportunities for students to discover more for themselves about their local archaeology and history.

Course structure:

The course will comprise classroom and practical sessions:

Classroom session (2 hours): General introduction to the course
• What is archaeology?
• What do archaeologists do?
• Basic introduction to periodisation (the order in which things happened).
• The basics of excavation – why and how.
• Scientific excavation methods: interpretation and expertise.
• Assessment 1 set (see below).

Practical sessions 1-4 (four hours each)

• Students will be introduced to the basic identification of archaeological features, basic excavation techniques and recording methods during the actual excavation of the St Fagans Museum Celtic Village.
• Assessment 2 set (see below).

Learning and Teaching

The course is taught in one, two-hour classroom session, and four, four-hour practical sessions, delivered over the course of five days. This includes the following teaching and learning methods:

• Classroom lecture and discussion: this session introduces basic information about excavation theory, method and practice.
• Practical individual and group work: students will work individually and in small groups to apply what they have heard in the lecture by excavating the remains of the ‘reconstructed’ Iron Age village to a given case study. Students will be taught how to identify, record and excavate archaeological features.


There will be no formal examinations but there will be two pieces of assessment:

Assessment 1 is a short class quiz on archaeological methods and processes. This will demonstrate that students have understood the basics of why and how archaeologists excavate sites.

Assessment 2 is a short portfolio. Students are required to identify, record and excavate a small archaeological feature and produce field notes including a measured section drawing and a context description.

Reading suggestions

The tutor will recommend books, articles and web sources.

Library and Computing Facilities

As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University library and computing facilities. You can find out more about these facilities on our website under Student Information, or by ringing the Centre on
(029) 2087 0000.

Accessibility of Courses

Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and Dyslexia screening. Please contact the Centre on (029) 2087 0000 for an information leaflet.

Further Information

A range of further information can be found on our web site or in Choices. This includes the times and dates of courses and an explanation of accreditation and credit levels.