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

Undergraduate Course: GIS for Archaeologists (ARCA10086)

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
SummaryThis course introduces students to the use of Geographical Information Systems in archaeology. It will provide a global perspective of current applications covering data acquisition, spatial analysis and cartographic visualization. Students will become proficient users of the open source platforms Quantum GIS and R while developing critical skills on the use of GIS within archaeological projects.
Course description The course will explore the key theoretical, methodological and technical aspects of archaeological GIS. Through a mixture of lectures, practicals, in-class discussions, and projects the students will learn to identify and interpret the spatial patterns found in the archaeological record using a multiscale perspective (from sites to regions). They will also become aware of the potentials and limitations of GIS specifically linked to the study of the past, including topics such as time and uncertainty.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking GIS and Spatial Analysis for Archaeologists (PGHC11460)
Other requirements 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 2022/23, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 12, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 10, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework:
Take home practical exercise (40%)
3000 word GIS research project (60%)
Feedback Students will receive verbal feedback during each practical and written feedback for the assessments following standard Learn procedure. They will also have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the Course Organiser during his published office hours or by appointment.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate the ability to create and manage a GIS project integrating archaeological and geographical data;
  2. demonstrate the ability to understand and critically analyse current applications of GIS in archaeology;
  3. demonstrate the ability to apply a wide range of methods to identify spatial patterns in archaeological data;
  4. demonstrate critical understanding of the issues surrounding the investigation, interpretation and display of spatial dynamics and their links to social behavior;
  5. demonstrate knowledge on the uses of GIS within wider archaeological contexts.
Reading List
"QGIS Training Manual -- QGIS Documentation." Updated April 01, 2022.

Bevan, Andrew, and Mark Lake. Computational Approaches to Archaeological Spaces Edited by Andrew Bevan, Mark Lake. Publications of the Institute of Archaeology, University College London. London; Routledge, 2016.

Brownlee, Emma. "Grave Goods in Early Medieval Europe: Regional Variability and Decline." Internet Archaeology, no. 56 (July 28, 2021).

Brunsdon, Chris. An Introduction to R for Spatial Analysis and Mapping. 2nd edition. Core Textbook. London: SAGE Publications, 2018.

Conolly, James. Geographical Information Systems in Archaeology / James Conolly, Mark Lake. Cambridge Manuals in Archeology. Cambridge: University Press, 2006.

Eve, Stuart J., and Enrico R. Crema. "A House with a View? Multi-Model Inference, Visibility Fields, and Point Process Analysis of a Bronze Age Settlement on Leskernick Hill (Cornwall, UK)." Journal of Archaeological Science 43 (March 1, 2014): 267-77.

Landeschi, Giacomo. "Rethinking GIS, Three-Dimensionality and Space Perception in Archaeology." World Archaeology 51, no. 1 (January 1, 2019): 17-32.

Lovelace, R., J. Nowosad, and J. Muenchow. Geocomputation with R. Chapman and Hall/CRC Press, 2019.

Sayer, Duncan, and Michelle Wienhold. 'A GIS-Investigation of Four Early Anglo-Saxon Cemeteries: Ripley's K -Function Analysis of Spatial Groupings Amongst Graves'. Social Science Computer Review 31, no. 1 (February 2013): 71-89.

Streatfeild-James, Jake. "QGIS for Archaeologists: Getting Started." Image/jpeg,text/plain,application/pdf. BAJR Practical Guide Series 42. BAJR, 2016.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills On successful completion of the course, students should be able to:
- gather, integrate and critically assess relevant information
- extract key elements and meanings from complex data sets
- answer a research question by developing a reasoned argument based on quantitative analysis
- present their ideas and analyses in a coherent fashion
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Sam Leggett
Course secretaryMiss Claire Brown
Tel: (0131 6)50 3582
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