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

Undergraduate Course: Theoretical Archaeology (ARCA10064)

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
SummaryThe course explores the diverse and changing nature of the discipline of archaeology from the 19th century to the present day. Themes covered include the construction of chronologies, data recovery, classification and interpretation, cultural and processual/post-processual models and the developing role of archaeological and environmental sciences.
Course description This core course is compulsory for all third year students enrolled on any of the following: MA Hons in Archaeology, all Joint MA Hons and BSc in Environmental Archaeology. It explores, at an advanced level, the diverse and changing nature of archaeology, from its antiquarian beginnings in the 18th-19th centuries to the more explicitly theoretical perspectives of the present day. Moreover, it investigates the emergence of archaeology as an independent discipline, the progress of archaeological thought and the intellectual relationship of archaeology with cognate disciplines in natural and social sciences, and in the humanities.

The course aims to strengthen students' engagement with the discipline, to enhance their theoretical sophistication, and to facilitate an understanding of theories and methodologies used by archaeologists to interpret the past. It also aims to develop further skills of analysis and critical appreciation of archaeological interpretation. To that end it presents archaeological ideas against the background of cognate disciplines, covering broad definitions as well as important and influential perspectives in current archaeological research.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Theoretical Archaeology (PGHC11329)
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 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  52
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, 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:
2,500 word Essay (50%)
500 word Minor coursework (10%)
1,000 word Seminar paper (40%)
Feedback Students will receive written feedback on their coursework, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the Course Organiser 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 command of the body of knowledge considered in the course;
  2. read, analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship;
  3. understand, evaluate and utilise a variety of source material;
  4. develop and sustain scholarly arguments in oral and written form, by formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence;
  5. demonstrate independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers.
Reading List
Bentley, R., H. Maschner and C. Chippindale (eds) 2008 Handbook of Archaeological Theories. Lanham: AltaMira.

Bintliff, J. and M. Pearce (eds) 2011 The Death of Archaeological Theory? Oxford: Oxbow.

Díaz-Andreu, M., S. Lucy, S. Babic and D. Edwards 2005 The Archaeology of Identity. Approaches to Gender, Age, Status, Ethnicity and Religion. London and New York: Routledge.

Harris, O. and C. Cipolla 2017 Archaeological Theory in the New Millennium: Introducing Current Perspectives. New York: Routledge.

Hodder, I. (ed.) 2001 Archaeological Theory Today. Cambridge: Polity.

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

Kristiansen, K., L. Smejda and J. Turek (eds) 2015 Paradigm Found: Archaeological Theory - Present, Past and Future. Oxford: Oxbow.

Trigger, B. 2006 A History of Archaeological Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsTheoretical Arch
Course organiserDr Manuel Fernandez-Gotz
Tel: (0131 6)51 5223
Course secretaryMiss Claire Brown
Tel: (0131 6)50 3582
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