Information in the Degree Programme Tables may still be subject to change in response to Covid-19

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

Undergraduate Course: Archaeology 1B (ARCA08005)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course provides an introduction to Archaeology, through key themes and case studies, drawn mainly from Mediterranean and European contexts, which will help you to understand the nature of archaeological evidence as well as a range of methods, practices and perspectives.
Course description The course has several parts: Discovering the Past 1 introduces the course and gives you some useful background to the history of Archaeology and aspects of relevant theory and interpretation. Early Civilisations of the Near East and Mediterranean deals with the emergence of early states and includes some key examples and themes: Mesopotamia, Egypt, the origins of writing, Mycenaean Greece and Minoan Crete. Some of these civilisations were in touch with each other or developed in similar ways so you will benefit from thinking about trade and interaction and what the terms civilisation and urban society mean. Discovering the Past 2: Archaeology and Scientific Methods highlights useful applications in archaeological research from which we can learn more about life and death in the past (including where things or people came from, the identity of individuals, what they ate and what their environment was like). Ritual, Monumentality and Symbolism in prehistoric Europe bring us closer to home with some of the highlights of British and European prehistory, including World Heritage monuments in Britain (Stonehenge) and Europe (Malta), and also give a taste of some rather enigmatic and challenging archaeological phenomena (such as prehistoric rock art). This is followed by an introduction to some of the Later Peoples in Western Europe (notably Etruscans, Greeks, Celts), concluding with a section on the Roman Frontier in Britain. Many of these topics, as well as several others, can be pursued in further depth in Archaeology 2A and 2B, and in Honours option classes (3-4th years).

Key themes and topics normally include: aspects of interpretation and theory (social organisation, the archaeology of death and burial); early civilisations of the Near East and Mediterranean (the development of writing; the rise of pharaonic Egypt; the Near East in the age of Empires; Minoans and Mycenaeans; Early trade and markets in the Near East); archaeology and scientific methods (sourcing artefacts; DNA, isotopes and diet: from the Amesbury archer to Richard III; Forensic approaches in archaeology); Ritual, monumentality and symbolism in prehistoric Europe (Stonehenge; temple and cult in prehistoric Malta; Megalithic monuments in NW Europe; prehistoric rock art in Britain and Europe); Later peoples in western Europe (Etruscan society and urbanisation; hillforts and burials in Celtic Europe; Oppida: early towns north of the Alps; the Roman frontiers of Britain).

There are normally two 1-hour lectures per week and one tutorial per week starting in week 3. Tutorials provide a friendly small group learning context of about 10-12 students. They complement lectures, web pages and textbooks, while helping you develop the skills required for tackling the essay and exam upon which your final grade depends. Tutorials provide a context for discussion of lecture topics and critical evaluation of selected reading items. They also introduce key themes and issues, while allowing you to ask questions about any aspect of Archaeology that you wish to know more about or need help with. Active contribution and participation is required of all students.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  119
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 9, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 165 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework:
1,500 word Essay (50%)
800 word Report (review) (25%)
600 word Artefact report (25%)
Feedback Students will receive written feedback on their short report within 15 working days, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the tutor/Course Organiser during their published office hours or by appointment. This written and oral feedback will provide preparation for the coursework essay and students will subsequently receive detailed written feedback on that, again within 15 working days.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate, by way of coursework, a sound knowledge of the subject considered in the course;
  2. Demonstrate, by way of coursework, an ability to assimilate a variety of sources and formulate critical opinions on them;
  3. Demonstrate, by way of coursework, an ability to research, structure and complete written work of a specified length, or within a specified time;
  4. Demonstrate an ability to organise their own learning, manage their workload, and work to a timetable.
Reading List
Gamble, C. 2004. Archaeology: The Basics. Routledge.

Grant, J. & Gorin, S. 2015, (4th edition). The Archaeology Coursebook: an introduction to themes, sites, methods and skills. Taylor and Francis.

Greene, K. & Moore, T. 2010 (5th edition). Archaeology: an Introduction. Routledge.

Johnson, M. 2010. Archaeological Theory: An Introduction. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.

Renfrew, C. & Bahn, P. 2012, (6th edition, or recent 7th edition) Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice. Thames & Hudson, London.

Scarre, C. 2009, The Human Past: World Prehistory & the Development of Human Societies, 2nd ed. Thames and Hudson, London. (1st edition 2005, also good)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Gather information and organize it coherently.
Critically evaluate different approaches and explanations.
Express ideas and arguments clearly orally and in writing.
Self-direct and organize learning, manage workload and work to a timetable.
Additional Class Delivery Information Two 1-hour lectures per week on different days; one 1-hour tutorial per week.
KeywordsArchaeology 1B
Course organiserDr Robert Leighton
Tel: (0131 6)50 8197
Course secretaryMiss Claire Brown
Tel: (0131 6)50 3582
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