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Unit information: Managing the Past in 2015/16

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Unit name Managing the Past
Unit code ARCH35012
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Mark Horton
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Anthropology and Archaeology
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

The unit provides an introduction to intellectual, organisational and statutory basis for the conservation and interpretation of the heritage of Britain and more widely. It will cover sites, buildings, monuments, museums and galleries, objects and landscapes and deal with issues such as conservation dilemmas, media, tourism, and ecology. A number of fieldtrips and practical projects will form part of the unit. Two weeks will also be required on the Department's summer excavation.


This unit is designed to let students develop transferable skills, to help decide whether they wish to have a career in archaeology and the heritage sector, and to provide them with a wider understanding of social and public policy towards the heritage. It will be different to the 'academic archaeology' so far been taught on the programme, by providing basic professional management skills for those working in the heritage sector. For those who do not wish to pursue a professional career in archaeology, many of the issues discussed will be of importance in the wider professional and civic life.

Intended Learning Outcomes

At the end of the unit, a successful student will be able to:

  1. Explain the heritage sector and its organisational structure
  2. Summarise statutory and non statutory regulations relating to heritage assets
  3. Access interpretative and educational strategies, including media
  4. Describe principles of conservation management planning
  5. Review project management
  6. Compile a professional - level report on a heritage asset
  7. Access archaeology as a practical process, including health and safety and risk assessment

Teaching Information

One two-hour lecture each week. One day long field trip. Ten days of participation in the department's summer excavation.

Assessment Information


Single conservation management report on Heritage Asset, on a site (or building, museum or object) chosen by student, to identify significance, conservation issues, public access and display and interpretation. 3,000 words, with illustrations. (ILOs 1-7)

Although this unit is assessed by a single conservation management report, the work involved includes at least 2 site visits, visits to the Historic Environment Records, interviewing site managers and other public officers.

Reading and References

  • Clark, K. 2001 Informed Conservation. English Heritage.
  • Darvill T.C. 1999 'The past into the present' in The Archaeology of Britain (eds. Hunter, J & Ralston. I), Routeledge, pp. 297-315.
  • Darvill, T. and Fulton A. 1998. MARS: the Monument at Risk Survey. The main report. English Heritage.
  • Darvill, T.C. 1987. Ancient Monuments in the Countryside: an Archaeological management review
  • English Heritage 1998 Avebury World Heritage Management Plan.
  • English Heritage 1999 Stonehenge World Heritage Site Management Plan (available on CDRom).