Archaeology seeks to understand past human culture through the systematic study of material remains. This module serves as an introduction to the incredible scope of the global discipline of archaeology. Two seminars introduce contentious issues in archaeology and demonstrate differences of interpretation and approach by different scholars. Four practicals provide an introduction to key skills including archaeological site recording and the analysis of past material culture. The module is divided into two parts. In Part 1 students will gain an introduction to different techniques and practical approaches used by archaeologists to learn more about the past. Lectures will explain how sites are located and excavated, how the discoveries are scientifically dated and what happens to the remains – environmental samples, human and animal remains and material culture – that are discovered. In Part 2 a collection of case studies have been selected from around the world – Borneo, China, Egypt, Italy, Russia, the Americas, amongst others – and will demonstrate how key archaeological discoveries have contributed to the understanding of key issues of the past.
You will gain an understanding of the application of key archaeological concepts and methods, and an awareness of the scope of archaeological enquiry as well as of current issues and debates in global archaeology. You will also develop an appreciation of the range of sources examined in archaeology and an ability of critically assessing competing hypotheses in archaeology, alongside core study skills for archaeology.
Module Co-ordinator: Prof Eileen Murphy
Other Contributors: ArcPal staff
(Image: Ulster Museum, Belfast – E. Murphy)