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Choosing a research question - help required
#1
I've started the lower sixth at college and we've been set a research project that can be on anything we like, which will then count as AS level or GCSE depending on how we do.

Now, I've been interested in archaeology for a while now and I've done volunteer work with my local unit and even got on a dig which was awesome! So I've been thinking I should do the project on something archaeological as it's one of my A levels and I'm looking to take it further. However, the project has to have a title which is a question, so I couldn't just do say "Iron Age Hill Forts" but would have to do something like "How were Iron Age hill forts constructed?" and I'd need to write a 5,000 word essay and have 5-20 sources so it'd need to be relatively easy to find information on.

So does anyone have any suggestions for a topic I could do?
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#2
Hi mate,

Where in the UK are you situated? If there were certain types of site or monument in your area then you could easily do some photo survey to add to the written sources you will use. If you did not want to focus on one specific type of site or period you could perhaps write on something like "How are different cultures and ethnicities represented in the archaeological record in *insert your region here*?".

Just a couple of thoughts and the coffee has not kicked in yet.

Good luck and please let us know what you decide on.

BK
Belhaven is your friend
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#3
Is there a particular period in which you are interested? Also, if you can, use the county HER in your research. In the future that can only be to your professional benefit to have experience of such. You say you have volunteered at your local unit - ask them if there are any suitable sites and/or 'grey literature' for your topic. There are always people at units who enjoy bringing on the next generation of archaeologists; without taking up all their time develop a professional relationship with them and ask their advice on what you are doing. Whether it is going to be possible for much longer or not, you can always leave a copy of your essay if it's up to scratch at your local studies centre.
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#4
Hello, The important thing is to choose a topic you're interested in. No point writing about medieval pottery if you're into the Iron Age. As for questions: 'To what extent is...' is a good way of starting e.g. 'To what extent were hillforts X and Y built for defence? To what extent can stone circles be considered religious sites?' etc. Finding 5-20 sources won't be as hard as you think. Lot's of good stuff on line. The CBA research reports held by ADS are free to view (google ADS CBA Research Reports) and will be of use. If your 6th form has access to JSTOR you'll have access to lots of archaeological journals in electronic format... and of course your local library. Good luck!
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#5
Or you could explore archaeology as a proffession and bring it up to date: What effect has ppg 16 had on british archaeology?

What is the value of british archaeology given the proposed cuts to the heritage sector?

Its a side ways approach but it may provide you with an interesting perspective on the proffession, and in a cynical way may well provide you with some really good contacts for the future as you could contact local and national units/bodies, university lectures and proffessional archaeologists
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#6
You could always go for something completely different.

Can Chris Anderson's "Long Tail Theory" provide answers to Archaeological questions?

If you have a small number of well documented sites "X" how would they compare to a very large data base of sites "X" which have not been studied by archaeologists, would sample size have an impact?

The cost of building a database for such a purpose is within the grasp of most people these days, this would make an excellent final year degree project.

Examples - Data Mining

Transfer of bank details from Europe to USA and USA to Europe happen this year.

Government agencies in the Internet http://lewisshepherd.wordpress.com/2008/...long-tail/
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#7
Bier Keller Wrote:Hi mate,

Where in the UK are you situated? If there were certain types of site or monument in your area then you could easily do some photo survey to add to the written sources you will use. If you did not want to focus on one specific type of site or period you could perhaps write on something like "How are different cultures and ethnicities represented in the archaeological record in *insert your region here*?".

Just a couple of thoughts and the coffee has not kicked in yet.

Good luck and please let us know what you decide on.

BK

I'm in Huntingdonshire, Cambridgeshire but I don't think we're meant to be doing a practical investigation, just a desktop essay sort of thing from all written material, although practical investigation is part of my A level archaeology. I'm wondering about doing something on Roman Britain or just something classical in general as it's one of the things I'm interested in and as said, no practical work is required if even allowed. Just not sure how to work the question so it isn't just a catalogue type thing.
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#8
You could try the portable antiquities scheme website they have a list of research questions to be answeared at different acidemic levels, and in different areas of the uk and are willing to give help to anyone wanting to have go it may be worth a look
Archaeology is the peeping Tom of the sciences It is the sandbox of men who care not where they are going; they merely want to know where everyone else has been.
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