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Exploring Welsh Landscapes

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Making use of Welsh case studies, this module is designed to introduce students to the methodological and theoretical approaches utilised in landscape archaeology.

Landscape archaeology examines how past societies used and perceived the environment around them and, as a discipline, borrows techniques and theories from several other fields of study.

The majority of sessions for the course will have a practical focus, aiming to give students a 'hands-on' experience of using landscape approaches to examine the environment of the past. It includes a field trip to a local archaeological site (location to be confirmed), but please note that students are required to arrange their own transport.

Students are required to arrange their own transport.

Learning and teaching

Learning and teaching are undertaken by means of small group work. This is a 10-credit course, so there will be two-hour meetings once a week (20 contact hours in all) which will include group discussion, exercises, source analysis and presentation of material on video and/or DVD.


  • Session 1: Introduction to landscape archaeology
  • Session 2: Maps and GIS in landscape archaeology
  • Session 3: Measured survey in landscape archaeology
  • Session 4: Geophysical survey
  • Session 5: Remote sensing/Aerial photography 1
  • Session 6: Remote sensing/Aerial photography 2
  • Session 7: Environment and landscape
  • Session 8: Landscape and theory
  • Session 9: Module conclusion and student presentations of project reports
  • Field trip to an archaeological site in the local Cardiff region (location and time to be confirmed).

The aim is ensure that the classes are enjoyable and stimulating for all. This will encourage the development of knowledge and understanding of the topics and ideas discussed in the course.

Coursework and assessment

To award credits we need to have evidence of the knowledge and skills you have gained or improved. Some of this has to be in a form that can be shown to external examiners so that we can be absolutely sure that standards are met across all courses and subjects. The most important element of assessment is that it should enhance your learning.

Our methods are designed to increase your confidence and we try very hard to devise ways of assessing you that are enjoyable and suitable for adults with busy lives. You will not have a formal examination but you will be asked to produce one of the following pieces of written work:

  • Project Report (1500 words): Produce a report providing the results of your analysis of either:
    • a measured survey
    • a geophysical survey
    • one or a group of aerial photographs containing archaeological features (survey data or aerial photographs can either be provided by the tutor or independently sourced).


  • Essay (1500 words): Essay questions set by the tutor. Students also have the option to write on a topic of their own choosing, in agreement with the tutor.

Reading suggestions

Key texts

  • Aston, M. 1985 Interpreting the landscape: Landscape Archaeology and Local History.  London, Routledge
  • Bryan, P., Blake, B., and Bedford, J. 2009 Metric Survey Specifications for Cultural Heritage. Swindon, English Heritage
  • Heritage, E. 2008 Geophysical Survey in Archaeological Field Evaluation. English Heritage Research and Professional Services Guideline
  • Wilson, D. 2000 Air Photo Interpretation for Archaeologists. Stroud, Tempus.

Recommended Texts

  • Bates, F. 1998 Surveying for Archaeologists. Durham, Penshaw Press
  • Crew, P. and Musson, C. 1996 Snowdonia from the Air: Patterns in the Landscape. Penrhyndeudraeth, Snowdonia National Park Authority
  • Edwards, N. (ed.) 1997 Landscape and Settlement in Medieval Wales. Oxbow Monograph 81. Oxford, Oxbow Books
  • England, H. 2015 Geoarchaeology: Using earth sciences to understand the archaeological record. Historic England
  • Roberts, K (ed.) 2006 Lost Farmsteads: deserted rural settlements in Wales.  CBA research report 14.  York, Council for British Archaeology
  • Tilley, C. 1994 A Phenomenology of Landscape: Places, Paths and Monuments. Oxford, Berg Publishers
  • Bell, M., Caseldine, A., and Neumann, H. 2000 Prehistoric intertidal archaeology in the Welsh Severn Estuary.  York, Council for British Archaeology

Library and computing facilities

As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University’s library and computing facilities. Find out more about using these facilities.


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.


21-23 Senghennydd Road
CF24 4AG