History MA/MA(SocSci)

Geographical Information Systems in Archaeology ARCH4026

  • Academic Session: 2021-22
  • 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
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course will introduce you to the creation of digital maps and plans, and their manipulation and analysis within a Geographical Information System.


One lecture and three hours of practicals per week.

Excluded Courses






one 2000 word project development proposal (25%); one GIS project submitted as GIS files (25%)


one two-hour examination (50%)

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 will provide the opportunity to:

■ provide an introduction to Geographical Information Systems software and its use within archaeology

■ develop an understanding of the underlying data, including recording methods and their limitations, within an archaeological context.

■ apply a range of computer graphical techniques to archaeological problems, including site and landscape survey, modelling topographic and geophysical data, and 3-D archaeological modelling.

■ enable the acquisition of a range of advanced computer-based skills beyond the typical generic skills.

■ promote the use of appropriate computer-based techniques and technology within archaeology.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ apply a range of graphical tools to different archaeological problems in an appropriate manner with accuracy and precision.

■ demonstrate an understanding of the principles underlying graphical representations of data and the problems and limitations of archaeological recording and use of such data .

■ demonstrate the ability to adapt to complex software packages, and to be critically aware of their limitations and shortcomings.

■ demonstrate a critical awareness of the applications of graphical tools within archaeology .

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.