Archaeology of Religion ARCH4045

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course will investigate archaeological methods of examining religion, with particular reference to Christianity, Islam and Judaism. It will begin by introducing relevant theoretical issues and the archaeologies of Christianity, Islam and Judaism. It will then progress thematically, investigating topics such as decoration and symbolism, votive offerings, ritual architecture, sacred landscapes and pilgrimage.


10x1hr lectures; 10x1hr seminars over 10 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus. This is one of the Honours options in Archaeology and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Available to all students fulfilling requirements for Honours entry into Archaeology, and by arrangement to visiting students or students of other Honours programmes who qualify under the University's 25% regulation.

Excluded Courses





Type of Assessment

Word Count/Duration or Equivalent



1000 words



1500 words


Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course aims to:
- investigate the practices, experiences, beliefs, material culture, architecture and landscapes associated with religion
- apply anthropological and archaeological theories of religion to specific case studies
- use ethnographic and prehistoric parallels to further understanding of specific case studies
- focus on Christianity, Islam and Judaism, along with their precursors and variants

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
- explain the key features of the archaeology of Christianity, Islam and Judaism
- investigate religious practices, experiences and beliefs by examining material culture, structures and landscapes
- interpret specific cases by applying theories of religion and comparative studies

- generate coherent arguments using primary material such as architectural plans and photographs of objects as evidence

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.