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    A review of current methods and approaches in archaeological science. Students will learn to critically evaluate, analyse and effectively communicate archaeological data.

    Archaeological science is a broad term describing the application of physical and chemical sciences to archaeology. This paper will review current methods and approaches in archaeological science and give you the tools to critically evaluate, analyse and communicate archaeological data yourself.

    The course takes a hands-on approach and is approximately equally divided between formal teaching and practical laboratory-based instruction. In the teaching sessions we will discuss science approaches to an archaeological problem and look at previous work in the field. The practical sessions provide an opportunity to explore, or apply the method you have learnt about in the previous taught session.

    About this paper

    Paper title Special Topic: Archaeological Science
    Subject Anthropology
    EFTS 0.1667
    Points 20 points
    Teaching period Not offered in 2024 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $1,448.79
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    72 300-level ANTH points

    Teaching staff

    Professor Richard Walter

    Paper Structure

    Lectures and laboratory sessions cover general principles of archaeological science, biomolecular methods, chemical and geochemical characterisation, imaging, and data quality and presentation.

    Teaching Arrangements

    One 2-hour lecture/seminar and one 2-hour laboratory workshop per week.


    Most required reading is from journal articles and book chapters available electronically on e-reserve or through the library.

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Interdisciplinary perspective, Scholarship, Critical thinking, Information literacy.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete this paper will be able to:

    • Understand scientific principles and knowledge applicable to archaeological research
    • Identify appropriate scientific methods to apply to archaeological data
    • Critically evaluate scientific analysis and approaches to archaeological data
    • Review and critically evaluate relevant literature
    • Communicate archaeological data clearly and effectively


    Not offered in 2024

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system
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