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AY4014: BIOARCHAEOLOGY: BIOLOGICAL APPROACHES IN ARCHAEOLOGY (2020-2021)

Last modified: 05 Aug 2021 13:04


Course Overview

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.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 4
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No
Co-ordinators
  • Dr Samantha Jones

Qualification Prerequisites

  • Either Programme Level 4 or Programme Level 5

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

  • Any Undergraduate Programme
  • Either Programme Level 3 or Programme Level 4

What other courses must be taken with this course?

None.

What courses cannot be taken with this course?

None.

Are there a limited number of places available?

No

Course Description

The course aims to provide students with an understanding of core biological approaches used in modern archaeology to better understand and reconstruct past lifeways. The course consists of three intensive short-courses on a selection of key bioarchaeological research areas. Topics offered will vary year-on-year, reflecting in-house research specialisms, but may include isotope analysis, DNA, animal and human remains, plant remains, invertebrates, and geometric morphometrics. Through lectures, seminars and practical/workshop sessions students will gain an overview of each method, its relevance to archaeology, scope, potentials and limitations. Case studies will allow students to access key themes in bioarchaeological research, including human-environment interactions; subsistence, diet and health; and human and animal migrations, colonisations, and diasporas.

 During this course, students will have the opportunity to:

  • Acquire an understanding of the role biological sciences have to archaeology, and an appreciation of the development of the field of bioarchaeology and human palaeoecology
  • Become familiar with the range of bioarchaeological remains recovered from archaeological and Quaternary palaeoecological sites
  • Gain a broad knowledge of each of the bioarchaeological specialisms studied, and their relevance and applications to archaeological   case studies
  • Gain a critical awareness of the potentials and limitations of selected bioarchaeological specialisms
  • Become adept at exploring and evaluating scientific/bioarchaeological literature

In light of Covid-19 this information is indicative and may be subject to change.

Contact Teaching Time

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

Teaching Breakdown

  • 1 Computer Practical during University weeks 10, 14, 18

More Information about Week Numbers


In light of Covid-19 and the move to blended learning delivery the assessment information advertised for second half-session courses may be subject to change. All updates for second-half session courses will be actioned in advance of the second half-session teaching starting. Please check back regularly for updates.

Summative Assessments

Practical Portfolio (50%)

Essay (50%) 

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.

Course Learning Outcomes

Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
FactualRememberILO’s for this course are available in the course guide.

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