MODULE DESCRIPTION 2017-18

SPRING SEMESTER

15 CREDITS

AAP6155 APPLIED ARCHAEOLOGICAL SCIENCE
CO-ORDINATOR: Caroline Jackson
OTHER TUTORS: Katie Hemer

MODULE OUTLINE

This course acquaints the student with a number of scientific analytical techniques and methods which are pertinent to the interpretation of key questions in archaeology. These include microscopic, chemical and isotopic techniques, ancient DNA analysis, lipid analysis and proteomics. It provides a theoretical introduction as well as some practical experience in sample preparation methodologies, data collection and analysis. The potentials and limitations of methods are discussed through specific case studies.


BROAD ACADEMIC AIMS AND PRINCIPLES OF THE UNIT

This unit aims to:
• acquaint students with the major scientific techniques used in archaeology, so that they are able to use these techniques to explore archaeological questions;
• introduce students, practically and through case studies, to the range of methods and approaches applied in the scientific study of archaeological materials (both organic and inorganic) and enable them to understand the changing perspectives on scientific methods within the subject;
• ensure that students understand the place of science within archaeological investigation;
• introduce students to debates, issues and key themes in archaeology through case studies which use science as a primary or secondary tool to answer archaeological questions


MEASUREABLE LEARNING OUTCOMES

By the end of this module students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of :
• Have a working knowledge of current scientific techniques used to analyse archaeological material.
• Understand the scientific methodologies behind these techniques
• Have the ability to choose appropriate scientific methodology and instrumentation for specific archaeological questions and different materials.
• Be able to produce and test their own data statistically
• Be able to critically assess published data and evaluate the reliability of the interpretation of that published data
• Be critical consumers of archaeological science literature
• Be able to write a coherent and informed research proposal and grant application, addressing informed archaeological questions, selecting the most appropriate scientific techniques and arguing for the selection of those techniques.


EXAMPLES OF LECTURE/SEMINAR TITLES

  • Introduction to instrumental archaeological science: The power of images
  • Chemical analysis, the electromagnetic spectrum (X-rays and light)
  • Chemistry: provenance vs technology
  • Application: Practical chemical analysis and reading the data
  • Stable isotopes analysis: what do you eat and where do you come from?
  • Preparing and analysing samples 1
  • Ancient DNA: sex, relationships and diseases
  • Preparing and analysing samples 2
  • Lipids and Proteomics: chewing the fat,
  • Preparing and analysing samples 3
  • Application of isotopic data: data analysis and interpretation
  • Scientific Archaeology: applications
  • Research design and funding applications


STUDENT ATTENDANCE AND INDEPENDENT STUDY

Type

Hours

Lectures 6
Seminars 2
Laboratory 5
Independent Study (including preparation for assessments) 134

ASSESSMENT

Method

% of marks

Hours/Length

Essay / coursework 100% 3,000 words