University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Archaeology

Undergraduate Course: Mediterranean Archaeology in the Field (ARCA10081)

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) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course introduces students to the key methodologies of excavation and survey via a combination of practical fieldwork and classroom-based seminars. Designed specifically with a focus on the ancient world. This course equips students with skills and techniques necessary for studying the archaeology of this period.
Course description Excavation and survey are the two principal methods by which archaeological data are acquired. This course introduces students to the key methodologies of both via a combination of practical fieldwork experience and classroom-based seminars. Designed specifically with a focus on ancient civilizations in the Mediterranean region, this course provides students with enhanced practical experience, skills, techniques, methods and theories, applicable to the archaeology of this period and region. The practical component of the course consists of a minimum of three weeks participation on an approved archaeological project during the summer vacation preceding the semester in which the course is to be taken.This should provide students with training in the following areas: excavation and/or survey methods and techniques and standard recording procedures, such as taking levels using a total station, plan and section drawing, field walking, artefact recovery and recording, sampling, and photography. Students may also learn about post-excavation management, including the processing, drawing and study of artefacts, under the supervision of finds specialists. Field experience will then be contexualised via class-based teaching in Edinburgh. The latter will cover a range of case studies of relevant archaeological projects in the Mediterranean region, including famous pioneering discoveries and projects of historic interest and importance (e.g. Schliemann's work at Troy and Mycenae, Evans' at Knossos, Davies' at Carthage) and more recent key projects with a modern research agenda (e.g. the Roman Forum, Aphrodisias, Pompeii, Utica), focussing particularly on excavations and surveys. Lectures will also deal with the history of exploration, controversies surrounding the interpretation of key sites, changing priorities and methodologies in fieldwork, the advent of new techniques, and the relationship between data collection and interpretation.

A typical course schedule will look as follows:

A: Fieldwork project
- Three weeks of excavation or survey on an approved fieldwork project

B: Classroom based teaching in Semester 1 following the Fieldwork
- Week 1: Lessons from the field
- Week 2: Completing fieldwork journals
- Week 3: Case study 1
- Week 4: Case study 2
- Week 5: Case study 3
- Week 6: Case study 4
- Week 7: Essays discussion
- Week 8: Case study 5
- Week 9: Case study 6
- Week 10: Case study 7
- Week 11: Mediterranean and Classical Archaeology, past and present
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.
Additional Costs The total cost of the fieldwork component is estimated at 300 per week in 2013, but may vary considerably according to project.
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate, by means of a field journal, a coursework essay, class discussion, survey and/or excavation work, that they have a detailed understanding of the theory and methodology of archaeological fieldwork;
  2. demonstrate, by means of a field journal, a coursework essay, class discussion, survey and/or excavation work, that they have learnt about good practice on an archaeological excavation, including how to excavate and interpret stratigraphy, fill in context sheets and other forms of archaeological documentation, record features in plans, sections and elevations, take levels and use a total station;
  3. demonstrate, by means of a field journal, a coursework essay, class discussion, survey and/or excavation work, that they have acquired the skills necessary to accurately describe and analyse primary evidence acquired by excavation or survey, including familiarity with the primary post-excavation techniques (ceramic analysis, photography, small finds drawing, etc.);
  4. demonstrate, by means of a field journal, a coursework essay, class discussion, survey and/or excavation work, that they are acquainted with the core scholarship on archaeological fieldwork techniques, as they apply to the Classical period, and the major controversies and theoretical discussions relating to this topic, including an awareness of the historical developments of the discipline of Classical Archaeology.
  5. demonstrate, by means of a field journal, a coursework essay, class discussion, survey and/or excavation work, that they are able to accurately present evidence and express clear arguments about it, acknowledging existing scholarship and exhibiting appropriate analysis of its historical and archaeological context.
Reading List
Alcock, S.E. and Osborne, R. eds. (2012), Classical Archaeology (Blackwell Studies in Global Archaeology), 2nd edition, Oxford.
Barker, G.W.W. and Lloyd, J. eds. (1991), Roman Landscapes: Archaeological Survey in the Mediterranean Region, London.
Barker, P. (1993), Techniques of Archaeological Excavation, 3rd
edition, London.
Bowkett, D.W., Hill, S.J., Wardle, D., and Wardle, K. A. (2001), Classical Archaeology in the Field: Approaches (Classical World Series), Bristol.
Carmichael, D.L., Lafferty, R.H., and Molyneaux, B.L. (2003), Excavation (Archaeologist's Toolkit 3), Oxford.
Carver, M. (2009), Archaeological Investigation, London.
Collis, J. (2001), Digging up the Past, An Introduction to Archaeological Excavation, Stroud.
Coulston, J. and Dodge, H. eds. (2000), Ancient Rome: The Archaeology of the Eternal City, Oxford.
Cunliffe, B., Gosden, C., and Joyce, R.A. (2009), Oxford Handbook of Archaeology, Oxford.
Dyson, S. (2013), In Pursuit of Ancient Pasts: A History of Classical Archaeology in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, New Haven.
Grant, J., Gorin, S., and Fleming, N. (2008), The Archaeology Coursebook: An Introduction to Themes, Sites, Methods and Skills, 3rd edition, London and New York.
Greene, K. and Moore, T. (2010), Archaeology: An Introduction, 5th
edition, London.
Harris, E. (1979), Principles of Archaeological Stratigraphy, London.
Hodder, I. (1999), The Archaeological Process: An Introduction, Oxford.
Johnson, M. (2010). Archaeological Theory: An Introduction, 2nd
edition, Oxford.
Renfrew, C. and Bahn, P. (2012), Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice, 5th edition, London.
Roskams, S. (2001), Excavation (Cambridge Manuals in Archaeology), Cambridge.
Sauer, E. ed. (2004), Archaeology and Ancient History: Breaking Down the Boundaries, London.
Schnapp, A. (1996), The Discovery of the Past, London.
Snodgrass, A. (1987), An Archaeology of Greece, Berkeley and Los Angeles.
Trigger, B. (2006), A History of Archaeological Thought, 2nd
edition, Cambridge.
Whitley, J. (2001), The Archaeology of Ancient Greece (Cambridge World Archaeology), Cambridge.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills In addition to course-specific skills that the students will acquire, they will also show:

- Enhancement of their written and oral communication skills
- Refinement of observational and recording skills, including drawing and photography
- Improvement of team work skills
- Ability to research defined topics independently
- Library research skills
- Visual memory skills
- Analytical skills relating to recording and analysis of primary and secondary evidence
- Ability to produce succinct summaries of data
KeywordsMed Arch in Field
Course organiserProf Jim Crow
Course secretaryMs Amanda Campbell
Tel: (0131 6)50 2501
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information