Skip to Content


Last modified: 27 Feb 2018 18:01

Course Overview

What can archaeology tell us about the lives of people who lived in times and places dominated by written records? Contrary to popular perception 'history' is not all in the books! Historical Archaeology provides us with an alternative means of studying historical people, periods and places through the things that people left behind. If historians study historic documents to shed light on the past, historical archaeologists use artefacts and information from the natural environment to do this. Students who take this course will not only learn the methods of historical archaeology but how they can be applied to some of the most significant issues to have shaped the medieval and modern periods; from diet and disease to social status and gender; and from the rise of nations and nationalism to capitalism and globalisation.   

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 3
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Old Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Dr Jeff Oliver

Qualification Prerequisites


What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)
  • One of Programme Level 3 or Programme Level 4 or Programme Level 5

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

  • AY3513 North American Archaeology (Passed)

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

This course will provide students with a detailed introduction to the theory and practice of historical archaeology, in particular how the study of material culture and past environments can compliment and even challenge what we think we know about the past. This course will provide students with the tools to provide a more rounded and critical view of the human past and will therefore not only be of interest to archaeologists, but students with an interest in history and the historical sciences broadly construed.

Students who take this course will come away with a solid understanding of the development of historical archaeology, practical skills for identifying artefacts and the built environment, knowledge of appropriate methods and a critical awareness of issues that shape this dynamic subdiscipline.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments


Resit: Resit of exam ﴾50%﴿, and re‐submission of coursework by arrangement ﴾50%﴿.

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.


Feedback will be provided in sufficient time to be able to be used by students to improve their work, typically within two weeks of hand-in.

Course Learning Outcomes

Compatibility Mode

We have detected that you are have compatibility mode enabled or are using an old version of Internet Explorer. You either need to switch off compatibility mode for this site or upgrade your browser.