Science Methods in Archaeology

 
Vakcode:
L_BABAALG004
Periode:
Periode 2
Credits:
6.0
Voertaal:
Engels
Faculteit:
Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen
Coördinator:
dr. S.J. Kluiving
Examinator:
dr. S.J. Kluiving
Docenten:
dr. S.J. Kluiving
dr. J.W.H.P. Verhagen
Lesmethode(n):
Hoorcollege
Niveau:
300

Doel vak

The aim of this course is to give a basic instruction into variable
Science methods that are applicable and relevant for archaeology

Inhoud vak

Subjects / Course leaders:
1. What are indicators of human influence in the floral palaeoecological
record? / Will Gossling, Bas van Geel (UvA-IBED)
2. What are indicators of human influence in the faunal palaeoecological
record? / Chiara Cavallo (UvA-GW)
3. Which role plays Palaeoclimatology in the transitions between
geological and archaeological periods?/ Bas van Geel (UvA-IBED)
4. Geomorphology as a tool for landscape reconstruction around
archaeological sites / Sjoerd Kluiving (VU-GW)
5. Forensic archaeology / Liesbeth Smits (UvA-GW)
6. How can large archaeological data sets be quantified and tested? /
Jitte Waagen (UvA-GW)
7. Site location and spatial analysis: Concepts, methods and application
/ Philip Verhagen (VU-GW)

Explanation program:
1. What are indicators of human influence in the floral palaeoecological
record?
Insights into how information about ecology, and ecological change, in
the past can be obtained. To understand the ecology of the past we will
also explore mechanisms related to past climatic change, physical
processes in the landscape, and human activity.

2. What are indicators of human influence in the faunal palaeoecological
record?
Insights on how ecological information based on faunal data obtained
from archaeological sites can help in the reconstruction of old
landscapes. To understand the human exploitation of its own environment,
the interrelation with animal ecology and evolution in the past human
activity.

3. Which role plays Palaeoclimatology in the transitions between
geological and archaeological periods?
By using conventional palynological and archaeobotanical methods we can
get an impression of changing human impact on the environment in the
past. The analysis of non-pollen palynomorphs (e.g. spores of
coprophilous fungi) delivers valuable additional information.
Radiocarbon dating is necessary to put environmental change in a
chronological framework. C-14 wiggle match dating of peat deposits
delivers high precision chronologies and allows us to recognize solar
forcing of climate change in the past.

4. Geomorphology as a tool for landscape reconstruction around
archaeological sites Geomorphology is introduced for interpreting
sediments and landscapes as records of the past that identify, quantify
and evaluate early human activities and environmental imprints. These
understandings and skills contribute to new landscape histories for
Northwest European and Mediterranean regions.

5. Forensic archaeology Some examples of how archaeological techniques
and the analysis of human remains are used in a forensic context will be
presented. How scientific techniques are used to build up a biological
profile of unidentified remains?

6. How can large archaeological data sets be quantified and tested? This
part of the course will address one of the most basic tools of
scientific inquiry; quantification. In landscape archaeological
research, datasets are often huge, spanning a large spatial extent and
containing many variables on archaeological artifacts, ecofacts and
landscapes. E.g.: What are the most common pitfalls of quantification of
archaeological data? How big need our datasets be and how does size
influence results?

7. Site location and spatial analysis: Concepts, methods and application
Where did people settle in the past, how did they use the landscape, and
how did this change through time? And can we predict where to find
unknown settlements? In this session, you will be introduced to the
theoretical and methodological background of spatial analysis in
archaeology, and we will discuss best practices for site location
analysis. You will also learn how to make your own predictive models,
using environmental and archaeological data sets, and applying GIS and
statistical methods.

Study load
6 ECTS, 6 x 28 = 168 hours
Course attendance: 7 x 2 = 14 hours
Reading 48 hours
Preparing presentations 36 hours
Making assignments 40 hours
Final exam 30 hours

Onderwijsvorm

In the course Instructor’s presentations will be an interactive format
in which students are actively participating in the course via
assignments within and outside classroom, presentations, and in a ‘flip
the classroom’ style. Each week a different method in Science
Archaeology will be introduced. Reading beforehand is strongly
recommended. The course is concluded with a final exam testing all
presented methodology.

Toetsvorm

50% assignments, 50% final exam

Vereiste voorkennis

200 level of Science and Archaeology; comparative science based
curricula

Aanbevolen voorkennis

Basic knowledge in Earth Sciences; in line of minor Geoarchaeology
program

Doelgroep

2nd or 3rd year Archaeology students, 4th year Saxion Archaeology
students (HBO) and interested Humanities students
in general. Course in minor Geoarchaeology

Overige informatie

BA course (VU- coordinated) in introduction and practical application of
scientific methods that can be used in archaeological research. Each
student in Archaeology encounters problems and specific questions in the
field or in the lab that relate to the age and prospection of the site,
the floral and faunal signature of the surrounding landscape,
statistical testing of big data, as well as the preservation potential
of the archaeological assemblage. In this course an introduction
and basic instruction into the variable methodology of Science
Archaeology is presented by several specialists in this field. The
course is coordinated by Sjoerd Kluiving (VU).

© Copyright Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
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