- Department: Archaeology
- Module co-ordinator: Dr. Sophy Charlton
- Credit value: 20 credits
- Credit level: H
- Academic year of delivery: 2024-25
- See module specification for other years: 2023-24
Fascinating ancient DNA discoveries appear in the news nearly every few weeks, with unexpected findings on prehistoric migrations, past kinship networks, and admixture with extinct hominins. This module will give you the tools to move beyond the media reports and evaluate the “palaeogenomic” literature for yourself. By discussing how researchers plan and undertake genetic studies, you will gain a new perspective on what could be done in the future, potentially helping shape this burgeoning line of study.
A directed option - students must pick a Special Topic module and have a choice of which to take
|Semester 2 2024-25
Special Topics focus upon the archaeology of a well defined time, space or theme and the modules seek to allow students, in small groups, to focus upon primary source material and to apply to it the theoretical and thematic perspectives learned over your first and second years. The aim is to facilitate the acquisition of deeper knowledge of one aspect of the past than has been possible in more general courses.
Specifically this module aims:
By the end of the module, students should be able to:
In order for everyone to be familiar with the terminology and common methodologies, we will start with a broad introduction to DNA and genetics. Once that foundation is established, we will evaluate an ancient DNA publication, revealing its strengths and weaknesses, and helping you understand how to identify the key findings of a study. We will then take a thematic approach focused on major ancient DNA research areas, including sex identification, kinship in cemeteries, human evolution, population migration, plant and animal domestication, and disease. For each topic, we will explore case studies, showing how different threads of the research have developed in recent years. Throughout the module we will discuss and debate the ethical implications of these diverse studies.
|% of module mark
|% of module mark
Formative: oral feedback from module leaders in class
Summative: written feedback within the University's turnaround policy
McHugo, G.P. et al. (2019) Unlocking the origins and biology of domestic animals using ancient DNA and paleogenomics. BMC Biology 17: 98.
Orlando, L. et al. (2021) Ancient DNA analysis. Nature Reviews Methods Primers 1: 14.
Skov, L. et al. (2022) Genetic insights into the social organization of Neanderthals. Nature 610: 519-525.