Field Excavation and Recovery Methods - SE818

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
Spring 7 15 (7.5) checkmark-circle


This module will teach students the steps from finding human remains (mapping and carrying out a survey) to taking the remains into the lab for analysis. Students gain experience in designing and laying out an excavation grid, learning how to record and photograph human remains and contextual evidence found in the field. Finally the students will have hands on learning experience in recording and bagging the finds and creating a chain of evidence. This module will look at the challenges of a single and multiple burials and mass disasters.


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours



Spring term

Method of assessment

3500 word field report (60%), 2500 word essay (40%)

Indicative reading

Hestler, T.R., Shafer, H.J and Feder, K.L. (2009) Field Methods in Archaeology:7th edition Routledge
Dupras, T.L., Schultz, J.J., Wheeler, S.M. and Williams, L.J. 2011 Forensic Recovery of Human Remains: Archaeological Approaches

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1. have a systematic understanding of how to survey and knowledge of identification methods
2. have comprehensive understanding of how to record burial layout, orientation and location of
human remains and contextual evidence.
3. have comprehensive understanding of how to excavate human remains and how to recover
contextual evidence.
4. have systematic understanding of how to photographing, label and bag human remains and
contextual evidence.


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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