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Archaeology A Level at Thorpe St Andrew School and Sixth Form

Course description

Archaeology is studying mankind’s past through the investigation of material remains. By studying where people lived, what they ate, what they wore and even how they died, you can piece together a picture of societies throughout the ages. There are so many skills involved that you will find Archaeology a fascinating area of study. There is Art (using decorative styles of pottery to identify where things were made), Technology (for example, carbon dating), Geography (understanding the lay of the land in times gone by), History (known events, such as wars), Religious Studies (where people gathered together) and Classical Civilisation (understanding people and cultures in the past).

Why study Archaeology?

Archaeology can open the door to a surprising number of career options. Of course you might go on to study the subject at university with a view to undertaking fieldwork and specialising in a particular period or topic. However, knowledge of Archaeology can also be useful in other jobs (Tourism and Heritage, Town and Country Planning, Environmental Science, Forensic Science or Local Government). Archaeology is a natural fit with subjects such as Classical Civilisation, Environmental Studies, Geography, History, History of Art and Sociology. Even if you have decided that you want a career in another area like Technology or Business, you will find that studying Archaeology broadens your perspective.

Course content

AS Modules

Unit 1 – Religion and Ritual
The unit provides the opportunity to study past civilisations through the surviving of religious and ritual artefacts, locations and specific structures with a concentration on Prehistoric Britain 30,000BC-50BC. Belief systems, mortuary practices and activities relating to beliefs will be explored in depth.

Assessment – Examination Percentage of overall A Level qualification = 20%

Unit 2 – Archaeological Skills and Methods
Within this unit a thorough study of practical methods archaeologists use to undertake an investigation will be studied. The rationale for excavation, processes of excavation, on-site recovery of artefacts and recording techniques will be explored. Candidates will learn how sites are discovered, recorded, dated and interpreted. This unit will lead to a solid understanding of the ‘tools of the trade’ for archaeologists.

Assessment – Examination Percentage of overall A Level qualification = 30%

A2 Modules

Unit 3 – World Archaeology
The unit includes a study of three generic themes in archaeology: people and society in the past, sites and people in the landscape, economics and material culture. You will examine contemporary issues in world archaeology such as cultural resource management; archaeology and identity; archaeology and evolution.

Assessment – Examination Percentage of overall A Level qualification = 30%

Unit 4 – Archaeological Investigation
You will have the opportunity to undertake research and fieldwork on a site of your choosing. The personal study will be a piece of coursework consisting of 3,500 to 4,000 words. The ability to acquire, select and organise relevant knowledge will be tested, as well as the ability to use and understand appropriate skills in the analysis of archaeological questions. Throughout the investigation you are also expected to evaluate material, reaching an appropriate conclusion about your chosen site.

Assessment – Coursework Percentage of overall A Level qualification = 20%

Entry requirements

A background in History is useful but not essential. Geography, Sociology, Chemistry and Geology are all related disciplines.

Future opportunities

We hope to make site visits an integral part of the course and have forged good relations with Norfolk County Archaeologists.

What kind of career does this subject/qualification prepare me for?

Apart from Archaeology itself, this qualification enhances skills applicable to a wide range of studies and occupations.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Thorpe St Andrew School and Sixth Form directly.

Last updated date: 14 October 2015
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