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Undergraduate Archaeology 2014-2015

AY1003: ARCHAEOLOGY IN ACTION: AN INTRODUCTION

15 credits

Level 1

First Sub Session

This course provides an introduction to how archaeological discoveries are made, the types of questions we can ask about past human societies using the evidence of their material remains, and the range of methods that archaeologists can draw on to try to answer the questions that excite them. By visiting archaeological sites, focussing on some of the world's most spectacular archaeological discoveries, and discussing some of the department's own original research projects, we will explore what the discipline of archaeology adds to our understanding of the human past and present, and what tools and techniques archaeologists employ in different environments.

AY1503: CAVES TO KINGDOMS: AN INTRODUCTION TO PREHISTORIC ARCHAEOLOGY

15 credits

Level 1

Second Sub Session

This course provides a romping introduction to the deep human past, from our earliest hominin origins in Africa to the emergence of the first Early Medieval Kingdoms in Northern Europe. Along the way we will discover the key stages in the evolution of our species and what it means to be 'human', from our use of symbols to express thoughts, ritualstic behaviours to our domestication of plants and animals and militarized empires. The archaeological evidence for these fundamental transitions in human societies provides us with powerful insights into some of the world's most fascinating civilizations,

AY2005: INTERPRETING THE PAST

15 credits

Level 2

First Sub Session

The societies that we study as archaeologists are often long since vanished. How can we reliably interpret these past societies? And what influences do modern moral and ethical issues have on our views of the past? This course explores the theoretical and ethical frameworks that archaeologists use to understand the past, using lectures and interactive seminars to illustrate and debate the limits of inference and the ethical and political issues that impact on how we understand the past.

AY2006: TEST TUBES AND TROWELS: AN INTRODUCTION TO ARCHAEOLOGICAL SCIENCE

15 credits

Level 2

First Sub Session

Ever wondered how Archaeologists know what Neandertals ate, or what killed Ötzi the Iceman? Test Tubes & Trowels provides an accessible overview of the key scientific approaches used in modern archaeology to better understand archaeological sites and materials and to reconstruct past lives. Using a combination of lectures and practical workshops, the course will cover scientific methods of dating, artefact provenancing and ancient technologies, methods used for the study of diet, health, and movements of humans and animals in the past, and the identification of the environmental impacts of past human activities.

AY2503: ARCHAEOLOGIES OF SOCIAL LIFE

15 credits

Level 2

Second Sub Session

The study of the past can sometimes feel impersonal, a matter of empires, civilisations and cultures, but archaeology also has a marvellous potential to access the real lives of ancient individuals. This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the exploration of social lives in the (pre)historic past, using lectures and seminars to  illustrate how material culture can tell us about even the most intimate aspects of our ancestors. Among the topics will be issues of ancient identity, ideology, religion, sexuality and environment.

AY2505: THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF THE NORTH: LIFEWAYS & CULTURAL CHANGE

15 credits

Level 2

Second Sub Session

This course is a detailed introduction to the ecological, economic and spiritual dimensions to the archaeology of the northern world.  Lectures will draw on a series of case-studies to examine the human adaptations to northern landscapes, ritual and spirituality, and finally the impact of colonisation and contact upon northern cultures.  Practicals in the course will include hands-on introduction to traditional skills such as flint knapping, tool manufacture and use of an atlatl.

AY3006: GEOARCHAEOLOGY: APPROACHES TO PAST HUMAN-ENVIRONMENTAL INTERACTIONS

15 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

This course is a practical introduction to soils and sediments for any student who wants to understand how earth sciences are applied to the study of the human past. The course takes an interdisciplinary approach to the complex relationships between past human societies and the environments with which they were intimately associated, and covers important issues for the archaeology of all regions and time periods, including the processes of archaeological site formation, techniques used to reconstruct past human environments, and the importance of situating past cultural practices in their environmental context.

AY3008: SUBMERGED ARCHAEOLOGY: DISCOVERING AND MANAGING LOST LANDSCAPES

15 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

The course is taught through Saturday morning sessions including a brief lecture to review the relevant chapter in the course workbook, followed by discussion.  Students learn from home, using web-conferencing accessed via broadband to your computer.  The submerged landscape is significant because it relates to a time, at the start of the Holocene, when Europe's physical geography was assuming its present shape and when human migration into newly ice-free areas was taking place.  We shall study the reasons behind past sea-level change, analysis techniques, and emerging information from this exciting new archaeological field. 

AY3009: SCOTTISH ARCHAEOLOGY

15 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

Here in Scotland we have a world-class record of past human society. From the spectacularly preserved Neolithic settlement of Skara Brae to 19th century clearance villages, this course explores the broad sweep of Scottish prehistoric and historic archaeology. In lectures and a day long study trip students will get an in-depth insight into the archaeology of Scotland and will explore some of the major issues in human history: the origins of agriculture and monumentality, worldview and belief in the north, settlement and social structure, urbanism and the emergence of the modern world.

AY3010: PROFESSIONAL ARCHAEOLOGY I: FIELD METHODS

15 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

We only have three days to find out! Excavation and field survey in modern archaeology can lead to spectacular discoveries regarding our past. This course, built around a short fieldschool and follow-up practicals and classes, will introduce and develop key skills in field archaeology, including excavation, field survey and sampling. Students will go through the whole process of designing, carrying out and reporting on a site and landscape in a course that will provide invaluable professional development.

AY3011: ARCHAEOLOGICAL FIELDWORK PORTFOLIO

15 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

During the summer after your second year of archaeology single honours students will go on a minimum of a two week long excavation. This course follows on from your field experience to help maximize the experiences and skills developed on these projects. Working with materials collected during the field project this course will develop key skills in communicating the results of field projects and the presentation of archaeological data.

AY3504: ARCHAEOLOGIES OF LANDSCAPE

15 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

Landscapes may be quantitative or qualitative; they can be explored with scientific instruments, using our bodies or in our imagination. This course investigates the key concept of landscape and its relationship to archaeological research across a broad range of cultural and historical contexts. The course is organized around thematic lectures and culminates in an interactive 3-day study trip to the Orkney Isles.

AY3512: ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESEARCH PROJECT PART I

15 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

This course is the first stage in producing an archaeological dissertation, which is completed in Level 4. Lectures and practical training sessions introduce the theory and practice of archaeological research design. As the course progresses the student puts this into practice through the development of their own original research project, its presentation at a research seminar, and the submission of a full research proposal, which they subsequently take forward as their dissertation. A personal supervisor is identified and provides support, in addition to the other lecturers involved in delivering the lectures and skills training.

AY3513: NORTH AMERICAN ARCHAEOLOGY

15 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

This course is organised around a series of lectures and student-led seminars focusing on the archaeological study of North America with a special emphasis on the archaeology of Canada and Alaska. Students will be introduced to the major material culture traditions of higher latitude regions and be expected to engage critically with the key stands of archaeological thinking that have informed the history of research in North American archaeology since its inception in the early 19th century. 

AY3514: PROFESSIONAL ARCHAEOLOGY II: POST-EXCAVATION ANALYSIS AND EMPLOYMENT

15 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

Lectures and laboratory practicals will provide experience in the techniques used to process and analyse archaeological artefacts and samples. We will introduce analytical basics for lithic, ceramic, faunal and historic artefact analysis as well as techniques for conserving, cataloguing and curating archaeological collections.  This course also introduces practical skills required to obtain employment and placement in an archaeological workplace through practical exercises in writing CVs, job cover letters and job interview skills.

AY4002: ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESEARCH PROJECT PART II

30 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

Building directly on the skills learnt in AY3512, the student undertakes an original research project, under the guidance of their personal supervisor and course co-ordinator, and at the end of the course submits an archaeological dissertation. The session begins with a research seminar when students present how their research has progressed over the summer and what they will now be doing to complete it.

AY4013: VIKING ARCHAEOLOGY

15 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

In their brief 300-year heyday, the peoples of Viking-Age Scandinavia transformed the northern world, and themselves. This course explores the Vikings at home, abroad, and in their new homes overseas in the developing colonies of the diaspora that stretched from the coasts of North America to the Asian steppe. In lectures and seminars, with hands-on classes looking at the finds, students will consider themes such as settlement and social structure, urbanism and commerce, pagan and Christian religion, and the political process that created the modern nation states of Norway, Sweden and Denmark

AY4014: BIOARCHAEOLOGY: BIOLOGICAL APPROACHES IN ARCHAEOLOGY

15 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

This course is portioned into three intensive short-courses, each focusing on one core biological approach used in archaeology. Topics offered will vary year to year, but may include isotope analysis; ancient DNA analysis; the study of animal and human remains; plant remains; and invertebrate, etc. Selected topics will be explored through lectures, seminars and practical/workshop sessions, providing an overview of each research area, its relevance to archaeology, scope, potential and limitations.

AY4510: CURRENT ISSUES IN ARCHAEOLOGY

30 credits

Level 4

Second Sub Session

Archaeology is a contemporary discipline and the focus in archaeological questions, subject areas and theoretical debates constantly change with time. In this course we focus on some of the topics that are important for the ongoing research within our department, from domestication and climate change to community archaeology and relating to death. The different issues are discussed in text-based seminars, where the students themselves are responsible for presenting the topic and leading the seminars. The course aims to explore and challenge current trends in the archaeological discourse.

AY4511: INDIGENOUS, COMMUNITY-BASED AND PUBLIC ARCHAEOLOGIES

15 credits

Level 4

Second Sub Session

Lectures and workshops will provide an overview of the impacts archaeology can have on civic life and discourse beyond academia; including varied archaeologies of northern indigenous peoples across the globe, community-based archaeology and public archaeology.  Students will be introduced to the methods, theories and issues that are associated with archaeology and its role in public policy, economic development, and cultural politics.

AY4515: MATERIAL CULTURE IN ARCHAEOLOGY: SEEING, USING, UNDERSTANDING

15 credits

Level 4

Second Sub Session

The course is taught through Saturday morning sessions that include a brief lecture to review the relevant chapter in the course workbook, followed by a discussion.  Students learn from home, using web-conferencing.  Understanding material culture is central to interpretation of life in the past.  Today we make use of the objects around us to tell other people about ourselves and to understand others. We will consider the types and scales of material culture in archaeology and current theories and methods of analysis. This course explores material culture in its widest sense from modern gadgetry to ancient flints.

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