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Basics of referencing
In Archaeology, you will be expected to locate and use material that
supplements what you get from lecture notes and the set recommended
readings. To attain good marks you must make use of such supplementary
material. At this stage we do not expect much use of the research literature
(i.e., academic journals) but you should be prepared to find and use information
from books, journals and the web (although in this case you must be very critical
of the sources which can be unregulated and inaccurate).
You should use references:


demonstrate your knowledge of relevant literature

build or support your argument
give due credit to the work of others and to avoid plagiarism!
enable the reader to locate your sources for themselves

What should I reference?

If something is accepted fact, it is not necessary to reference it. For example, if
you state that Skara Brae in Orkney is a Neolithic settlement site, no reference
is required as this is common knowledge that involves no appeal to authority. If
you were to write that when excavated the site revealed many aspects of
Neolithic life without a reference, this is acceptable, as it is fairly general and
does not refer to specifics of the excavation, but you could use a suitable
reference to make your work more precise, and more impressive. For example,
you could reference the excavation report and refer to the specific material that
was found there.
Sometimes it can be difficult to decide whether or not what you want to write is
accepted fact in your discipline, or specialist knowledge that belongs to
someone else, and so needs a reference. Remember presenting someone
elses work as your own is plagiarism. This is cheating, and if we find you out
you will be punished!

If you write about someone elses ideas and opinions you MUST provide a full

If you use someone elses data you MUST provide a full reference.

You need not reference what was said by staff in lectures or tutorials. Much
lecture material involves accepted fact that needs no reference, but if you
think that it is specialist knowledge, try to find a published source that
covers the same information, and reference that instead.

If you are not sure whether a reference is necessary, give it. As you read and
write more and more, you will become more confident about what requires a
reference. Until then, play it safe.

To use references, you must:

Incorporate the reference into the text using some kind of shortened form
that identifies the work
Provide a full list of references

There are several ways to do this. Different academic disciplines, different

publishers and different people have their own preferences. See the QMLs
guide for details:
We recommend the Harvard System / author/date method.

We like it

It is widely used in both the sciences and the social sciences.

It directly identifies the author and date in the main body of the text. This
often enables us to recognise the work without having to hunt it down in
footnotes or endnotes, so your use of sources makes maximum impact.
Because it does not use footnotes to identify references, it keeps the
footnotes free for genuine notes (e.g., definitions, clarifications or
qualifications that are important to your argument, but do not fit comfortably
into the flow of the main text).

The Harvard System namechecks the author(s) of the work, and gives its date of
publication as part of the main text of your work. If your reference is to a
specific part (especially if your source is long) or if you are making a direct
quotation, you should also include the page number(s). There are subtle
variations in how you present this information. These depend on how you
construct your argument. You can write something like:
Knap of Howar is an Earlier Neolithic settlement site in Orkney (Ritchie
or something like:
Ritchie (1983) excavated the earliest recorded settlement site in the
Orkney Isles at the Knap of Howar.
both of which direct our attention to what is said in the excavation report. Thus,
as part of the list of references at the end of the piece of work (alphabetical by
surname, under the heading References), you should include the full reference
as follows:
Ritchie, A. (1983) Excavation of a Neolithic farmstead at Knap of Howar, Papa
Westray, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 113: 40121.
Exactly how a reference list is set out may vary (i.e., publishers often adopt
slightly different styles); you will notice, for example, that the bits which are
italicised and contained within parentheses will vary. The key thing is that each
reference has all the right bits in the right order: author(s); year; article or
chapter title (if applicable); book or journal title; additional source information
required (e.g., volume and page numbers, details of publisher). Be clear and
consistent. We suggest adopting the formatting styles shown in the following
Ritchie, A. 1995 Prehistoric Orkney, Edinburgh: Historic Scotland.
Chapter in book:
Robinson, M. A. 2000 Coleoptera evidence for the elm decline, Neolithic activity
in woodland, clearance and the use of the landscape, in A. S. Fairbairn (ed.),
Plants in Neolithic Britain and Beyond, Oxford: Oxbow Books, 8591.
Paper in academic journal:

Rowley-Conwy, P. 2004 How the west was lost: a reconsideration of agricultural

origins in Britain, Ireland, and southern Scandinavia, Current Anthropology,
45: 83113.
Newspapers can be tricky. It is important to provide sufficient information to
allow someone else to find the article. Best to include full details if you can:
author year, title/headline, date, section (if applicable) and page number. If
you had found this article online you should indicate this, give the URL and
show the date accessed (because Web sources often change or disappear):
Websites also are often tricky. It can be difficult to identify authors (but you
can usually identify the organisation responsible) and it is often impossible to
pin down the date of publication (as opposed to date of access). As with the
above example, try to give author, article title, indicate the Web source, give the
full URL and date of access. For instance, an online excavation report:
Thomas, J. (2001a), Dunragit Excavations Project 19992002, (Accessed September 2008)

Some additional tips

Look at some published journal papers and academic books, and study how
their authors use references. Think, and learn by example!

If you use direct quotations, you MUST put them in quotation marks and
give authors name, date and page numbers.

It is usually not necessary to include the authors first name, or the full title
of the book or article in the main text, unless you wish to highlight an
especially important work. For example, given Gordon Childes status a
major figure in Scottish archaeology, something such as Gordon Childes
ideas were brought to the attention of a Scottish audience when his book The
Prehistory of Scotland was published in 1935 could well be appropriate in
an essay that focuses on the the development of Scottish archaeology.

Phrases such as A bloke called Childe have no place in university level


For two authors, use both surnames in the text: e.g., Childe and Hodder
(2007), but for three or more authors use et al. (short for et alia, Latin for
and others): e.g., for a triple author paper Hodder et al. (2007) goes in
the text, but write out all three authors names in the reference list at the
end. For example: Hodder, I., S. Shennan and N. Smith. 2007

If you have two papers by the same author in the same year, use letters to
distinguish between them: e.g., Bloggs (2007a) and Bloggs (2007b) in the
text, and Bloggs, J. 2007a and Bloggs, J. 2007b in the list at the end.

Unless told otherwise, forget bibliographies (i.e., a comprehensive list of

potential reading on a certain subject). We are interested only in what you
have read and cited, i.e. a references cited list. If you read something but
did not use it, forget about it.

You should include a complete, consistent list of sources that you have cited.
If it appears in the text, we expect to see it in the list at the end, and viceversa.

Use a single list of references: there is (usually) no need to use separate sublists to differentiate between books, journals, websites, reports

Be honest with your references! Reference only what you have read and
used. Avoid the temptation to inflate your reference list with sources that
you have not consulted yourself. If we catch you out on this, expect to be
marked down.
If you can, give the paper, not the electronic source. If nothing else it is
neater and less ambiguous. For example, some electronic journals are
available from more than one Web source, and access from the link can be
unreliable. Give the full paper reference, and let the reader decide how
best to find it should they wish to do so!


Try one or both of these websites, recommended by the QML: