This module will cover the different types of analysis that can be applied to artefacts, from the point of excavation to the various post-excavation methods (microscopic, digital, biomolecular etc.). Therefore it should appeal to students on a range of different programmes, including but not limited to: MA/MSc Material Culture and Experimental Archaeology; MA Field Archaeology; MSc Digital Heritage.
Module will run
Semester 2 2023-24
This module aims:
To provide a broad understanding of the different analytical methods commonly used to study artefacts - from the point of excavation to the various post-excavation methods (microscopic, digital, biomolecular etc.)
To enable students to assess which artefact recording techniques would be suitable in relation to specific materials, stages of analysis, degradation etc.
To equip students with the necessary artefact report writing skills needed for different sectors (academic, commercial, museums).
Module learning outcomes
By the end of the module the students should be able to:
Demonstrate a systematic understanding of what methods can be applied to the study of artefacts: from conservation, quantification, microscopic and biomolecular techniques
Critically evaluate the challenges and potential of different approaches to the study of artefacts
Demonstrate a practical understanding of which methodological techniques can be used to study different stages of an artefact’s life history (e.g. provenance, use/function, display), including recording and presenting artefacts
Critically assess the different preservation issues and handling techniques involved in the study of the main types of organic and inorganic materials found in the archaeological record
Compile a critical technical report that meets relevant professional standards
With an increasing demand for artefact specialists within the commercial and museum sectors, this module provides essential training in the key archaeological approaches used to study materials.
% of module mark
Special assessment rules
% of module mark
Formative: oral feedback from module leaders
Summative: written feedback within the University's turnaround policy
Caple, C. 2006. Objects: reluctant witnesses to the past. London: Routledge.
Henderson, J. 2013. The science and archaeology of materials: an investigation of inorganic materials. Routledge.
Mark Pollard, A., Heron, C. and Armitage, R.A. (2016) ‘Archaeological Chemistry’. Available at: https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/ebook/978-1-78262-426-4