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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Archaeology

Undergraduate Course: Environmental Archaeology (ARCA10079)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe relationship between people and their environment in the past is a key area of research, both how people interacted with and used environmental resources, and the influence of the environment on cultural and economic development. This course provides an introduction to the aims and major methods of environmental archaeology, with a focus on thematic issues including the origins of domestication and agriculture, the developments and impacts of pyrotechnology, and the links between environmental change and human development. We will examine and critique ideas such as environmental determinism. Case studies are drawn from current research and span a wide range of geographic and temporal scales, from early prehistory to the Crusades. The course provides grounding in the principles of Quaternary climate reconstruction and a wide range of environmental reconstruction methods for offsite and on-site analysis.

Course description Not entered
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Pre-requisites: Archaeology 2A and 2B, or Honours entry to degrees in Classics, or equivalent.
Information for Visiting Students
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2014/15, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 15, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 4, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 4, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 171 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 40 %, Coursework 60 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 60% coursework (3000 word extended essay)
40% examination (2 hrs, 2 essay questions)
Feedback Not entered
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)2:00
Learning Outcomes
By the end of the course students will be able to demonstrate through participation in class discussions, a seminar presentation and the exam:
1. Knowledge and understanding of the key themes in Environmental Archaeology;
2. Knowledge and understanding of Quaternary environments ;
3. Knowledge and understanding of the how humans have developed against and interacted with this environmental backdrop;
4. Knowledge and understanding of a wide range of applications of environmental archaeology methods, from early prehistory to the Medieval period;
5. Practical skills in the use of light, polarizing and stereomicroscopy, and the different applications of these;
6. Practical skills in the methods used for identifiyng and assessing environmental remains;
7. Group working skills;
8. Speaking and Powerpoint presentation skills;
9. Research, essay writing and referencing skills.
Reading List
* Piperno, D. R. 2006. Phytoliths: A Comprehensive Guide for Archaeologists and Paleoecologists, AltaMira Press.
* Asouti, E. (2011). Rethinking human impact on prehistoric vegetation in Southwest Asia: socioeconomics and long-term fuel/timber acquisition strategies at Neolithic Çatalhöyük Proceedings of the 5th International Meeting of Charcoal Analysis: Charcoal as cultural and biological heritage. 123-124.
* Simpson, I.A., Vésteinsson, O., Adderley, W.P. and McGovern, T. (2003). Fuel resource utilisation in landscapes of settlement, Journal of Archaeological Science 30, 1401-1420.
* Canti, M. G. (2003). Aspects of the chemical and microscopic characteristics of plant ashes found in archaeological soils. CATENA 54, 339-361.
* Staller JE and Thompson RJ. 2002. A Multidisciplinary Approach to Understanding the Initial Introduction of Maize into Coastal Ecuador J. Arch. Sci. 29: 33-50.
* Shillito, L-M. 2011b. Simultaneous thin section and phytolith observations of finely stratified deposits from Neolithic Çatalhöyük, Turkey: implications for paleoeconomy and Early Holocene paleoenvironment J. Quat. Sci. 26 (6) 576 - 588
* Matthews, W., French, C. I. A., Lawrence, T., Cutler, D. F. and Jones, M. K. 1997. Microstratigraphic traces of site formation processes and human activities. World Arch. 29: 281-308.
* Madella, M., Jones, M.K., Goldberg, P., Goren, Y. And Hovers, E. 2002. The Exploitation of Plant Resources by Neanderthals in Amud Cave (Israel): The Evidence from Phytolith Studies J. Arch. Sci. 29: 703 - 719.
* Brown, A. and Pluskowski, A. (2011) Detecting the environmental impact of the Baltic Crusades on a late-medieval (13th-15th century) frontier landscape: palynological analysis from Malbork Castle and hinterland, Northern Poland. Journal of Archaeological Science, 38 (8). pp. 1957-1966
* Pluskowski, A., Boas, A. and Gerrard, C. (2011) The ecology of crusading: investigating the environmental impact of holy war and colonisation at the frontiers of medieval Europe. Medieval Archaeology, 55. pp. 192-225

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills * Report writing and research skills
* Use of different types of microscopes
* Presentation skills
* Team working skills
KeywordsEnvironm Arch
Course organiserDr Lisa Shillito
Tel: (0131 6)50 2554
Course secretaryMs Amanda Campbell
Tel: (0131 6)50 3782
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