History MA/MA(SocSci)

Assembling the Artefacts ARCH4077

  • 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 introduces students to the key practical skills and theoretical approaches required to engage with archaeological artefacts and museum collections as assemblages. It supports the development of skills in artefact recording, analysis and reporting through evaluation of research strategies, data collection, graphic presentation, evaluation and independent reporting on artefact assemblages.


4x1hr lectures, 4xhrs seminars 9x1hr workshops, 2hr external visit, 1 hr project supervision over 10 weeks as scheduled in 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.

Excluded Courses





Essay (2500 words) - 50%

Assemblage Study Report (2500 words) - 50%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. Where, exceptionally, reassessment on Honours courses is required to satisfy professional/accreditation requirements, only the overall course grade achieved at the first attempt will 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:


■ Introduce students to key theories and practices concerning archaeological and museum objects as assemblages and to key contemporary issues in the field.

■ Enable students to record and work with archaeological artefact assemblages, archives and materials, including those from museums, active and legacy excavation projects as well as avocational work.

■ Explore how object-based and assemblage knowledge is generated in archaeological professional practice and then used to inform contextual and situated understandings in the past and present.

■ Develop students' knowledge and understanding of research surrounding artefact assemblages and support students in developing as critical and independent thinkers and researchers.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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


■ Identify applicable standards, conventions, legal and ethical practices in the study of archaeological artefacts and materials.

■ Apply theoretical approaches (e.g. post-colonialism, new materialist and relational approaches) to conventional archaeological practice, legacy assemblage and collection studies.

■ Apply research strategies to assemblages, including the creation of quantitative and descriptive reports and catalogues, designing appropriate scientific analysis and graphical presentation, and ongoing collection care strategies.

■ Recognise how knowledge is generated from artefact assemblages reflecting their diverse contexts and sources.

■ Students will be able to display some independent skills in artefact assemblage analysis.

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.