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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Classical Art/Classical Archaeology

Undergraduate Course: Classical Archaeology in the Field (CACA10030)

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 ('The field school') and classroom-based seminars. Designed specifically with a focus on the ancient world (Classical Archaeology broadly defined as anything from the Aegean Bronze Age to Late Antiquity) 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 new archaeological data are acquired. Students who take this course will be introduced to both 'on site' and in the classroom. The practical component of the course consists normally of three weeks on an approved archaeological project during the summer vacation preceding the semester in which the course is to be taken. This provides students with training in the following areas: grid establishment, excavation techniques, interpretation of stratigraphy, taking levels and using a total station, documentation, plan and section drawing, artefact recovery and recording, sampling methodology, and photography. Students will also learn about post-excavation management, including the drawing and study of artefacts, under the supervision of finds specialists. Lessons learnt in the field will then be consolidated via a series of eleven classes back in Edinburgh. These will introduce a range of case studies of archaeological projects dealing with material evidence relating to the ancient world. These will include historical projects (e.g. Schliemann's work at Troy and Mycenae, Evans' at Knossos, Davies' at Carthage) and on-going ones (e.g. Sagalassos, Aphrodisias, Pompeii, Utica), covering the full span of Classical Archaeology and both excavation and survey. In these lectures students will learn in detail about a range of ancient sites but also the history of their exploration, as well as the practical concerns that so closely shape what is, and has been, achieved in the field. Throughout this course students will focus on the history of Classical Archaeology as a discipline and how the methods used to explore the material culture of the ancient world have changed over time.

A typical course schedule will look as follows:

A: Field School (typically three weeks of excavation or survey on a designated field school in the summer preceding Sem 1 in which the course is taught).

B: Classroom based teaching in Sem 1 following the Field School
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 - Classical Archaeology: history and future

There is a special application process for this course in addition to the standard honours course application process.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed Classical Archaeology 2b: Materials and Methods (CACA08010)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students must have passed at 50% (or above) Classical Archaeology 2b at the latest by June of the academic year preceding the year in which the course is taken.
Additional Costs The fieldwork component is estimated at 250 per week in 2013. Some funding from the School will be available to Classical Archaeology students.
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.
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.
Greene, K. and Moore, T. (2010), Archaeology: An Introduction, 5th edition, London.
Johnson, M. (2010). Archaeological Theory: An Introduction, 2nd edition, Oxford.
Renfrew, C. and Bahn, P. (2012), Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice, 5th edition, London.
Schnapp, A. (1996), The Discovery of the Past, London.
Snodgrass, A. (1987), An Archaeology of Greece, Berkeley and Los Angeles.
Whitley, J. (2001), The Archaeology of Ancient Greece (Cambridge World Archaeology), Cambridge.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills In addition to the course specific skills that the students will acquire, they will also show:
- Enhancement of written and oral communication skills;
- Refinement of observational and recording skills, including specifically drawing and photographic capabilities;
- 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 large amounts of data.
Special Arrangements The field school is an obligatory part of the course. Students who are accepted to take this course and who fail to complete the field school (for whatever reason) may have to change out of the course at the start of Semester 1 and be allocated a replacement course.
Additional Class Delivery Information During the fieldwork component of the course students will be expected to work on site, in the storerooms or museum for approximately 8 hours daily (Mondays-Fridays) and 4 hours on Saturdays, over a period of at least two and not normally more than four weeks (i.e. typically c. 90-150 hours in total), pending on the duration of the designated field school. (The length of the fieldwork component is not the student's choice, but depends on the length of the designated field school.)
During the semester the course will be taught via 11 one-hour classes consisting of lectures and seminars.
KeywordsClassical Archaeology Field School
Course organiserDr Ine Jacobs
Tel: (0131 6)50 3854
Course secretaryMs Elaine Hutchison
Tel: (0131 6)50 3582
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