Skip to content
Main menu hidden.

Landscape Archaeology: Field Cartography and Surveying Skills, 15 Credits

Swedish name: Landskapsarkeologisk metodik

This syllabus is valid: 2022-02-07 and until further notice

Course code: 1AR073

Credit points: 15

Education level: Second cycle

Main Field of Study and progress level: Landscape Archaeology: Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements

Grading scale: VG Pass with distinction, G Pass, U Fail

Responsible department: Department of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies

Revised by: Head of Department of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, 2022-02-11


This course provides the student with advanced knowledge and skills concerning the methods and techniques needed for the study of landscape archaeology. Through a mix of lectures, seminars, fieldwork and other practical exercises they will explore a variety of themes that together reflect the broad range of contemporary issues in landscape studies. 
The lectures and seminars are designed to provide a broad range of examples, from Swedish and European contexts, in order to acquaint the student with the complexities of natural and anthropogenic landscapes. Fieldwork is designed to develop skills in observational survey, cartographic analysis, archival research and aerial photography. 
The course consists of two modules: 
1. Field Methods and Techniques  
2. Research skills in landscape studies 
Module 1. Field Methods and Techniques 
This part of the course is primarily aimed at the analysis of a chosen landscape and the generation of data that is of sufficient quality to enable interpretation of the various aspects of landscape development.  

Module 2. Research skills in landscape studies 
This part of the course focusses on the desk-based elements of landscape studies. These are designed to complement the field days and extended field visits aimed at introducing the student to the various landscapes that are the focus of study in module 1. 
Some elements of the field-based components of the course will be run in parallel with the course Environmental Archaeology: Field and Laboratory Method.

Expected learning outcomes

On completion of the course the student will be able to:
Knowledge and understanding:
  • Outline the various methods used in landscape studies and discuss their efficacy and demonstrate insight into current research and development work.
  • Demonstrate specialised methodological knowledge and understanding in terms of the most appropriate techniques and methods of analysis necessary to study a specific landscape, to include both an overview of the field and specialised knowledge in certain areas.
  • Examine the variety of field evidence appropriate to the discipline and use these techniques to interpret the landscape in a logical, comprehensive manner.
  • Assess the efficacy of the methods that are used and determine whether these are fit for purpose. 
Skills and abilities:
  • Demonstrate the ability to plan and use appropriate methods and undertake advanced tasks within appropriate timeframes.
  • Make relevant field observations.
  • Undertake field work in good collaboration with other participants.
  • Demonstrate the skills required for participation in research and development work or employment in some other qualified capacity.
  • Collect and present data, e.g. from field sampling, in a coherent and logical manner.
  • Produce a risk assessment for fieldwork as the basis for the practical elements in module 2.
  • Analyse the results produced during the field- and desk-based elements and place them in their appropriate archaeological, environmental and landscape context.
  • Recognize and be able to document observations and results obtained during fieldwork and research in order to deliver a coherent report
  • Synthesize a multi-faceted dataset and present the results a coherent, logical manner 
  • Manage their time effectively
  • Demonstrate IT skills in data management and interpretation
  • Prepare and present an overview of their project in the form of a lecture
  • Produce and communicate the results of the fieldwork in written professional standard report. 
Judgement and Approach:
  • Examine the variety of techniques appropriate to the discipline and use these techniques to interpret the landscape in a logical, comprehensive manner.
  • Present a desk-based assessment of the techniques available and demonstrate knowledge and understanding in terms of their viability and application.
  • Demonstrate a broad understanding of the ways in which researchers have thought/think about landscapes both in the past and currently.
  • Determine which aspects of students learning are the most appropriate for studying their chosen landscape.
  • Demonstrate insight into the potentials and limitations of research and ensure that students research is used responsibly.
  • Produce a report capable of being understood by non-subject specialists that conforms to expected professional standards.

Required Knowledge

A Bachelor's degree or equivalent first-cycle qualification comprising of at least 180 ECTS or a corresponding qualification from an internationally recognized university. Specific entry requirements are 90 ECTS in any of the following subjects, Archaeology, Environmental Archaeology, Geography, Geology, History, Anthropology, Classics, Biological and/or environmental sciences, or an equivalent/ related subject. Proficiency in English equivalent to Swedish upper secondary course English B/6. 

Where the language of instruction is Swedish, applicants must prove proficiency in Swedish to the level required for basic eligibility for higher studies.

Form of instruction

Instruction includes indoor lectures, group work, seminars, supervision, laboratory work and outdoor field studies. Module 1 is given in classrooms at the university as well as in the computer lab HUMLab, and partly in the field. Module 2 is given in classrooms at the university, but mainly in the field. Due to logistical reasons, commuting to a place other than Umeå is required, with overnight stays in a place other than Umeå.

Examination modes

Module 1. Field Methods and Techniques. Examination is based on seminars and written work by groups and by individuals. Examination is based on group seminars and on individual achievement in the form of a written essay (home exam) in accordance with the grading scale VG, G or U.  
Module 2. Research Skills in Landscape Studies. The written examination is in the form of a final report generated by the field work. Students are graded individually in accordance with the grading scale VG, G or U. 
Active participation in both modules is compulsory.  Examination is based on practical, vocal and written assignments in classrooms and in the field. The student will be expected to demonstrate a high level of critical thinking, analytic skills and interpersonal abilities commensurate with advanced studies. The ability to work independently as well as an integral part of a team is essential. Fieldwork is conducted in groups but examination is individual. 
Assessment criteria and documentation methods for individual work initiatives are presented by the examiner at the start of the course. The quality and degree of active participation in the preparatory work (module 1), the field work (module 2) and the finale report are taken into account when grading. Active participation can mean that a grade can be raised from G to VG. 
Students who fail the examination have a right to retake the examination within two months after the first examination, and once again within a year. A student who has passed an examination may not be re-examined.  
Students who have twice failed an examination for a course or part of a course have the right at the next re-examination opportunity to request from the head of education at the Faculty of Humanities that a new examiner be appointed for future re-examinations unless there are special reasons to the contrary. 
Deviations from the examination form of the syllabus can be made for a student who has decisions on pedagogical support due to disability. Individual adaptation of the examination form should be considered based on the student's needs. The examination form is adapted within the expected study results of the syllabus. At the request of the student, the teacher responsible for the course, in consultation with the examiner, must quickly decide on the adapted examination form. The decision should then be communicated to the student. 
In the event that the syllabus expires or undergoes major changes, students are guaranteed at least three examination sessions (including the regular examination) according to the regulations of the syllabus on which the student was originally registered for a maximum period of two years from the end of the previous syllabus or the course has ceased to be offered.

Other regulations

In granting a university degree, this course may not be combined with any other course that has a similar content. In case of uncertainty, the student should consult the Director of Studies at the Department of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies at Umeå University.


The literature list is not available through the web. Please contact the faculty.