OU Teams Up With The British Museum For Its First Archaeology Course

By 24 Hour Museum Staff | 26 March 2008
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Shows a photograph of a hole in the ground in which is buried several gold necklaces.

Gold torcs from Snettisham, Norfolk, found in 1990 and dating to the Iron Age. © British Museum

The Open University will be launching the first academic course to receive accreditation from The British Museum in May 2008 when it begins a new short course called Archaeology: The Science of Investigation.

Devised in partnership with the British Museum and the York Archaeological Trust, the science short course will allow students to develop an appreciation of the processes involved in the discovery, investigation and interpretation of a wide variety of artefacts and archaeological sites.

"The course is suitable for anyone who either has a general interest in archaeology or is a keen amateur archaeologist, and who wants to know more about how the scientific methods of investigation, processes and techniques used within archaeology really work,” said Course Chair Dr Arlene Hunter.

"One of the most exciting aspects of this course however, is that it has been produced in partnership with The British Museum and the York Archaeological Trust,” She added. “These partnerships have allowed the course to gain access to a wide range of archaeological sites and examples that otherwise would not be possible.”

Students will have direct access to the conservation laboratories within the British museum, access to specially commissioned interviews with key scientific and conservation staff, and the personal thoughts of Neil MacGregor, the Director of the British Museum on future developments within archaeology.

photo of two men in hard hats working at archaeological dig

The Hungate dig has unearthed many important archaeological finds - not least these communal toilets revealed in June 2007. Photo: Michael Andrews © York Archaeological Trust

The partnership with the York Archaeological Trust will also offer privileged insights into the work of the field archaeologist, with staff from Dig Hungate – one of the largest excavation projects in the city of York in the last 20 years.

A series of specially created films from the Hungate dig are also to be created as training resources for the course that will offer an introduction to a range of different surveying and excavation techniques used in the field, as well as concise overviews of a variety of finds and features as they being excavated and recorded by the archaeologists.

"Dig Hungate is due to continue until 2012, and will provide regular updates and year round behind the scenes access to the excavation as it progresses,” added Dr Hunter.

SA188 – Archaeology: The Science of Investigation begins in May 2008 with registration for the first presentation closing on Friday May 16. There will be two more presentations in 2008 and two in 2009.

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