History MA/MA(SocSci)

Environmental Archaeology; Plants, Animals and People ARCH4061

  • 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 thematic course examines major methods and issues pertaining to the application of scientific methods to answer archaeological questions, e.g. of diet, chronology and human migration.


2x1hr sessions per week over 10 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus. (includes lecture, seminar and practical classes/workshop.)

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.

Excluded Courses





Essay (1500 words) - 30%

Oral Presentation (500 words) - 10%

Portfolio of Practical Assignments (2000 words, including visual & numerical material) - 60%

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:

■ examine the theory underpinning the application of the scientific method in archaeology

■ gain an overview of commonly-used techniques in scientific 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 evaluate the major techniques used in the archaeological sciences and how these are applied.

■ apply the theory underpinning the application of scientific methods in archaeology.

■ summarize research findings and present these to others.

■ use archaeological science to gain 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.