Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Pottery in Archaeology ARCH5110

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

This course develops a broad appreciation of archaeological pottery and provides training in the handling, analysis, recording, description and classification of ceramics. Using a series of case studies, the function, distribution and chronology of pottery use will be considered, in conjunction with traditional and science-based methodologies for studying pottery and appreciating the role of ceramic ethnography in archaeological interpretation.


The class will meet for two hours every week for 10 weeks (6 lectures, one seminar, one laboratory and two practical sessions for project work).

Besides lectures
and the seminar, there is a strong practical element to the course. Use will be made of ceramic collections in Archaeology and in the Hunterian Museum Collections, as reflected in the lab and practical sessions.

Requirements of Entry

Standard entry to Masters at College level.

Excluded Courses





Essay (2,000 words) -40%

Project report (2,000 words) - 40%

Seminar Presentation (1,000 words), 10 minutes - 20%

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Provide students with an understanding of traditional and laboratory-based methods for handling, analysing and interpreting archaeological ceramics

■ Explore the cultural, economic, functional and chronological diversity of ceramics

■ Familiarise students with potters' materials, methods and cultural roles

■ Develop the capacity to engage with key issues and debates in the field of ceramic studies.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Analyse and interpret archaeological ceramics through the application of established theoretical, practical and scientific techniques

■ Critically engage with and situate ceramic assemblages into broader archaeological debates on economy, trade and identity in ancient cultural groups

■ Discuss the mechanisms of ceramic production and role of potters in different cultural contexts 

■ Develop familiarity with standard laboratory practice for the handling, processing and recording of pottery

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.