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Practical: Biomolecular Archaeology - ARC00028I

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  • Department: Archaeology
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Andre Colonese
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: I
  • Academic year of delivery: 2018-19

Module summary

This module builds on the first year module Introduction to Archaeological Science where students have been introduced to the scientific methods used in the study of animal remains.

Through the term, students will be expected to develop their skills in critiquing recent papers in biomolecular archaeology, and begin to explore data (students will conduct their own data analysis in the co-requisite module the following term so it is important that they understand good practice). The formative assessment is designed to provide training and a similar summative assessment is handed in at the end term. Students will be encouraged to keep a lab notebook during term and a computer practical test will provide the assessment of their laboratory skills.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2018-19

Module aims

  • To introduce the intellectual context and working methods of the study of biomolecules from archaeological deposits such as bones and pottery residues.
  • To direct students to the critical published sources on this topic
  • To encourage a questioning approach to the collection and analysis of a specific class of archaeological data

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • Discuss the range of research questions that might be addressed by studying ancient biomolecules
  • Be aware of the principles of GLP (Good Laboratory Practice)
  • Learn how to maintain a Lab Book to an adequate standard
  • Be aware of how to read and write Standard Operating Procedures
  • Appreciate the importance of consistency, time-keeping, and good record-keeping in practical work
  • Perform a range of practical, analytical techniques involved in data collection
  • Perform an analysis on biomolecular data, specifically protein mass spectrometry (ZooMS) and stable isotope analysis
  • Critically evaluate research articles


Task Length % of module mark
Practical: Biomolecular Archaeology - Paper Critique
N/A 50
Practical: Biomolecular Archaeology - Lab report
N/A 50

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Practical: Biomolecular Archaeology - Paper Critique
N/A 50
Practical: Biomolecular Archaeology - Lab report
N/A 50

Module feedback

Arrangements for the return of feedback are detailed on the formative and summative assessment web pages.

Indicative reading

Reading lists are accessible through the module web pages and VLE.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): changes to courses

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