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

Undergraduate Course: Here comes the war: conflict archaeology and the human past (ARCA10083)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryConflict archaeology is an emerging field of study that is attracting interest from scholars and the general public alike. This course provides a platform for studying conflict in a wide chronological and interdisciplinary framework, ranging from prehistory to the post World War period, and from the study of skeletal remains to the consideration of documentary sources and landscapes of conflict.
Course description The chronological framework of this course spans all of the human past, from early prehistory up to the post-World War period. Through a mixture of lectures, in-class discussions, and case studies, it investigates the materiality and meanings of violence and considers the latest research and practices within the discipline. The course will be delivered by leading figures in the field, including researchers working in academic as well as commercial environments.

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
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 3 Archaeology courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses. Enrolments for this course are managed by the CAHSS Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department. All enquiries to enrol must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  21
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, External Visit Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 70 %, Practical Exam 30 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework: Illustrated field trip report (20%), and
1,500 word essay (50%)
Practical Exam: Poster and class presentation (30%)
Feedback Students will receive written feedback on their coursework, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the Course Organisers during their published office hours or by appointment.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate knowledge of analytical methods in conflict archaeology
  2. Demonstrate critical understanding of the issues surrounding the investigation, interpretation and display of conflict in the past
  3. Demonstrate the ability to assess conflict-related evidence and data and integrate it into wider archaeological analysis
Reading List
Fibiger, L., Ahlström, T., Bennike, P. & Schulting, R. 2013. Patterns of violence-related skull trauma in Neolithic Southern Scandinavia. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 150(2), 190-202.
Fiorato, V., Boylston, A. & Knusel, C. (eds.) Blood red roses. The archaeology of a mass grave from the Battle of Towton AD 1461. Oxford: Oxbow.
González-Ruibal, A., Moshenska, G. (Eds.), (2014). Ethics and the Archaeology of Violence. Springer.
Guilaine, J. and J. Zammit (2004): The Origins of War: Violence in Prehistory. Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford.
Keeley, L. H. 1996. War before civilization: The myth of the peaceful savage. New York, Oxford University Press.
Maschner HDG, Reedy-Maschner KL. 1998. Raid, retreat, defend (repeat): The archaeology and ethnohistory of warfare on the North Pacific Rim. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 17:19-51.
Morris, I. (2014): War! What Is It Good For?: Conflict and the Progress of Civilization from Primates to Robots. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Otterbein K. F. 2004. How war began. College Station, Texas A&M University Press.
Pollard, T. (2014) Fields of Fire: The Archaeology of Jacobite Battlefields. Pen and Sword: Barnsley, UK. Pollard, T., ed. (2009) Culloden: The History and Archaeology of the Last Clan Battle. Pen and Sword Military: Barnsley.
Roymans, N. and Fernandez-Gotz, M. (2015): Caesar in Gaul: New Perspectives on the Archaeology of Mass Violence. In T. Brindle, M. Allen, E. Durham and A. Smith (eds.), TRAC 2014: Proceedings of the Twenty-Fourth Annual Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference, Reading 2014. Oxbow Books, Oxford: 70-80.
Saunders, N. (2012): Beyond the Dead Horizon: Studies in Modern Conflict Archaeology. Oxbow Books, Oxford.
Sutherland, T.L. & Holst, M.R. (2005). Battlefield Archaeology -The Archaeology of Ancient and Historical Conflict.
Guidelines for the British Archaeological Job Resource (BAJR) (
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills On successful completion of the course, students should be able to:
- gather and critically assess relevant information
- present their ideas and analyses in a coherent fashion to diverse audiences and in a number of different formats.
KeywordsConflict Archaeology
Course organiserDr Jonny Geber
Tel: (0131 6)50 3534
Course secretaryMiss Claire Brown
Tel: (0131 6)50 3582
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