Subjects

Subjects

Taught Masters Programme for Archaeological Science (MSt/MSc)

Materials analysis and the study of technological change
Coordinator: Dr Nathaniel Erb-Satullo

Much of archaeology is about reconstructing human behaviour from material remains - either humanly-modified material (such as stone tools), or artefacts such as pottery, metals, or even buildings. The scientific analysis of such objects can yield a great deal of information, not only about the raw materials, manufacture, use and deposition of the object, but also about the technological choices made by the artisan. This course provides an introduction to materials science and the history of technology; and the theoretical and practical aspects of materials analysis. It focuses on common material types - stone, ceramics, vitreous materials and metals, as well as the provenance of raw materials, and provides some case studies of archaeological problems.

Molecular Bioarchaeology
Coordinator: Dr Rick Schulting

Scientific methods are playing an increasingly important role in archaeological research, and this is particularly true of organic materials. Developments in the analysis of stable isotopes, lipid residues, trace elements and ancient DNA are providing new lines of evidence for a host of central questions, including past subsistence and environmental change, migration and genetic origins. This course provides a detailed, critical overview of these topics, both in terms of the techniques themselves, and their archaeological applications. More traditional bioarchaeological analysis of human, faunal, and plant remains also feature. The course includes a strong practical component, with a series of laboratory-based practicals. It makes use of the ongoing research of both members of staff and research students to present the latest approaches.

Principles and practice of scientific dating
Coordinator: Prof Christopher Ramsey

We need to be able to put past events onto a timescale if we are to understand them properly. Scientific dating allows us to explore the relationship between different sites and regions. Furthermore, chronologies built up from dating and other evidence enable us to understand processes at work in the archaeological record. This course looks at the scientific dating methods most commonly applied, including the practical aspects of radiocarbon, luminescence, tephrochronology and dendrochronology. It also provides an introduction to the use of statistical methods for combination of information from direct dating and other archaeological information. There is a strong emphasis on the critical evaluation of dating evidence.


Topics from Archaeology MSt/MPhil

See topic details from that course.


Topics from Classical Archaeology MSt/MPhil

See topic details from that course.