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.

Environmental Archaeology; plants, animals and people ARCH5117

  • Academic Session: 2021-22
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

A thematic course that introduces students to the major methods and issues relating to environmental archaeology, e.g. for landscape reconstruction, understanding subsistence, diet, chronology and human migration.


2 sequential contact hours per week, over 10 weeks, same slot each week, Semester 2 2021/22; this module will be co-taught with an Honours class of the same name (ARCH4061). The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

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

Excluded Courses





Research Essay (2000 words): 30%

Presentation (Oral) , 10 minutes: 10%

Portfolio (6 practical write ups): 60%

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ examine the theory underpinning the use of scientific techniques in archaeology

■ gain an understanding and appreciation of commonly-used techniques in environmental archaeology and their applications to questions of diet, mobility, chronology and environment

■ investigate the advantages and limitations of the various techniques discussed, using examples from the archaeological record, predominantly over the past 8,000 years

■ explore contemporary public understandings and media reporting of archaeological science

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ critically interpret and evaluate the major techniques used in environmental archaeology

■ apply the theory underpinning the application of environmental methods in archaeology

■ synthesise and critically evaluate research findings and present these to others.

■ Use environmental and archaeological science to present new insights into human diet, plant and animal domestication, and human-environment interactions.

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.