Accessibility statement

Special Topic: Ancient DNA - ARC00057H

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  • Department: Archaeology
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Nathan Wales
  • Credit value: 30 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2019-20

Module aims

The ancient DNA module will provide students with an opportunity to explore one of the most rapidly moving areas in bioarchaeology. The lectures and seminars will focus on a thematic approach to the field, in order to introduce the key methods adopted in the study of ancient DNA, as well as some of the caveats. We will look at issues of aDNA decay, contamination and survival, and importantly, the approaches used to integrate genomic and archaeological data. Students will explore these advances though increasingly sophisticated and integrated applications of DNA and archaeological evidence to address major questions in archaeology.

Module learning outcomes

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

  • demonstrate a broad and comparative knowledge of the use of DNA in bioarchaeology
  • be aware of the methods underpinning the rapid advances in ancient DNA analysis
  • critically discuss and assess the key stages in the development of the field, and the ways in which DNA-based methods can be used to explore archaeological questions, as well as the limitations of this approach
  • critically evaluate primary data and evidence
  • explore and aquire scientific literature using appropriate bibliographic sources
  • communicate an in-depth, logical and structured argument, supported by biomolecular and archaeological evidence


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Module feedback

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

Indicative reading

Reading is published on the module web pages/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.