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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: The Archaeology of Technology: From Prehistory to the Present (Online) (PGHC11547)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course provides an overview of archaeological approaches to the topic of technology and technological change. It approaches trajectories of culture change in the human past by considering the relationships between technology and society, drawing on a range of analytical techniques within the disciplines of archaeology and anthropology. The course explores key themes such as technologies' impacts on craft practices, the gendered division of labour, economies and the environment. The course also offers training in material analysis through online practicals.
Course description This course explores, at an advanced level, diverse archaeological approaches to the analysis of past technologies and offers a detailed understanding of concepts and theories to understand and analyse the relationships between technological and socio-economic change. Utilising examples from prehistory up to the present, the course focuses on different areas of intersection between technology and society: craft technology and production, the division of labour, consumption and demand, globalisation and the environment. The course draws upon perspectives from material science, bioarchaeology, social anthropology and archaeology, providing a comprehensive framework to study technological change.

Students will develop a solid background in concepts and theories in the archaeology and anthropology of technology. Students will develop key skills, learning how to; critically evaluate cause and effect in long term culture change processes, deal with controversies and competing hypotheses, apply relevant theoretical models, implement diverse methods (macro- and micro-trace analysis of earthen building materials and ceramics) to study and interpret production processes of archaeological artifacts, critique effectively and fairly.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking The Archaeology of Technology: from prehistory to the present (ARCA10094) OR The Archaeology of Technology: from prehistory to the present (PGHC11524)
Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate competence in core skills in the study of Archaeology: essay-writing, independent reading, group discussion, oral presentation, small-group autonomous learning
  2. Articulate and apply detailed knowledge of the main theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of technology and technological change
  3. Critically evaluate the outcomes of an experimental archaeological study
  4. Reflect critically on a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches to studying long-term technological and socio-economic change
  5. Plan and execute a substantial written analysis of a case-study, focusing on the dynamics between technological, social and economic change
Reading List
Bolger, D. 2013., Gender, labor and pottery production in prehistory. In D. Bolger (ed.) A Companion to Gender Prehistory. Oxford and Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, Pp. 161-179.

Dobres, M., 2009. Archaeologies of technology. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 34(1), 103-114.

Ellis, E.C. et al., 2017. Evolving the Anthropocene: linking multi-level selection with long-term social-ecological change. Sustainability Science 2017.

Fogarty, L., Creanza, N., Feldman, M.W., 2015. Cultural evolutionary perspectives on creativity and human innovation. Trends in ecology & evolution 30.12, 736-754.

Frieman, C.J. and Lewis, J., 2022. Trickle down innovation? Creativity and innovation at the margins. World Archaeology.

Kozatsas, J. (Ed.), 2020. The Dialectic of Practice and the Logical Structure of the Tool: Philosophy, Archaeology and the Anthropology of Technology. Oxford: Archaeopress.

Lemonnier, P. (Ed.), 2013. Technological choices: transformation in material cultures since the Neolithic. London: Routledge.

Miller, H. M-L., 2009. Archaeological Approaches to Technology. Walnut Creek, California: Left Coast Press.

Moshenska, G. (2016). Reverse engineering and the archaeology of the modern world. Forum Kritische Archäologie, 5.

Roux, V., 2003, A dynamic systems framework for studying technological change: application to the emergence of the potter's wheel in the southern Levant. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 10.1: 1-30.

Tehrani, J. & Riede, F. (2008). Towards an archaeology of pedagogy: learning, teaching and the generation of material culture traditions. World Archaeology, 40(3), 316-331.

Wayessa, B. (2020). Prepared in pots, served in plastics: Rural Ethiopian women's responses to the global economy. Ethnography.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Initiative to gather and critically assess relevant information
Proficiency to develop a reasoned argument, support it with relevant evidence, and communicate it appropriately and persuasively
Understanding of the methods and skills involved in academic research
Skills to examine and evaluate macro- and micro-traces of production
Skills to critically evaluate experimental archaeological studies
Experience and enhanced ability to make a critical review of discussion articles
Skills to extract key points from book chapters/articles
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Beatrijs De Groot
Course secretaryMrs Ksenia Gorlatova
Tel: (0131 6)50 8349
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