Introducing Archaeology: Sites, Artefacts, Theory and Practice


Discover the discipline of archaeology and develop your expertise with this unique online course.

Introducing Archaeology offers a broad introduction to the processes of investigating past societies. We examine a wide range of case studies from around the globe to discover the methods and techniques archaeologists use, and learn what they can tell us about how people lived and died in their ancient worlds.

We gain fascinating insights into all of the key stages of an archaeological project: from the initial phases of research in libraries and archives, through processes of site survey and excavation, to the post-excavation analysis of artefacts and materials.

We then adopt a global perspective to look at current threats to important archaeological sites around the world, and explore how you can get involved and make a meaningful contribution to this exciting discipline.

This course is delivered entirely on our Online Campus and it is very flexible. You will work through the six modules at your own pace, and engage with the materials and activities any time that suits you. As a general guide, most students commit to between 2 and 3 hours per week of study time.

The programme is designed as an introduction to archaeological principles and practice, so no prior knowledge or experience is required. If you do have some experience, there will be opportunities for you to build upon this by engaging more deeply with specific topics of interest.

Never studied online before? All registered students get FREE access to our Preparing for Online Learning masterclass, to help you get the most out of your studies.

All materials you need to complete Introducing Archaeology are included and provided online – you will not be required to purchase any books. Upon successful completion of the course, you will be awarded a Level 3 Certificate of Completion in Archaeology: Sites, Artefacts, Theory and Practice.

Please see below for further course details and syllabus.



Panorama of sacred site Monte Alban in Mexico

Course Details

Next start date:

Continuous enrolment – sign up any time.

Course duration:

Six weeks of guided tuition.

Level of study:

Level 3 Certificate.

Student time commitment:

Recommended 2 to 3 hours per week (flexible).

Learner support:

Learners are fully supported by the tutor throughout the course.



Learning outcomes

Upon completion of the course, participants should be able to:

  • Discuss the development of archaeology as a discipline, including major theories and approaches;
  • Evaluate the significance of key sites and archaeological case studies from a range of countries and periods;
  • Describe some of the key methods and techniques used in modern archaeological fieldwork, survey and artefact analysis;
  • Identify major current issues in the protection of important heritage sites;
  • Develop a personal action plan for becoming more involved in archaeology after the course.

Syllabus overview

In this course we explore the following topics:

  • What is archaeology? Exploring definitions;
  • Desk-based and archival research;
  • Field survey;
  • Excavation: strategies and techniques;
  • Archaeological recording;
  • Principles of archaeological photography;
  • Artefacts: processing and analysis;
  • Conservation issues: protecting world heritage;
  • Want to be an archaeologist? Getting involved.

Tutor profile

Dr. Mark Anderson is Head of the Akkadium School of Anthropology and Archaeology. He is a Teaching Fellow at Imperial College London, and a tutor in archaeology and anthropology at the Oxford University Department for Continuing Education.

Mark is a Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute, a Member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He is the author of Marothodi: The Historical Archaeology of an African Capital.

Additional information

Academic prerequisites

This course is open to anyone, and no prior knowledge or experience of archaeology is required. The only prerequisite is a healthy curiosity about past societies and a willingness to engage and contribute to course discussions.


Upon successful completion of this course, participants will receive an Akkadium College Level 3 Certificate in Archaeology: Sites, Artefacts, Theory and Practice, and an academic transcript with details of completed modules and learner achievements.

Technical requirements

The course materials and discussions are shared completely online in a virtual learning environment (VLE), so you will need access to an internet-connected computer or mobile device, and basic computing skills. Our team will be on hand to give you both academic and technical support as needed.

Other information

Please note that places on Certificate courses are limited to harness the educational value of small-group learning. However, most courses run multiple times throughout the year. If your preferred course is fully booked, please ask us about the next available opening.