Postgraduate taught 

Archaeology MSc

Geographical Information Systems in Archaeology ARCH5018

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course will introduce you to the creation of digital maps and the management and analysis of digital geospatial data within a Geographical Information System, using archaeological case studies. It also introduces python scripting for geospatial data management and analysis.


10x2hr lecture/practical sessions, as scheduled on 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





Portfolio (2000 words): 40%

Project proposal (800 words): 15%

Project (2200 words): 45%

Much of the Project proposal and Project will consist of GIS files, so the word counts given here are rough equivalents.

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ provide an introduction to Geographical Information Systems software and its use within archaeology

■ provide an introduction to the use of python scripting to manipulate geospatial data for archaeological projects

■ develop an understanding of the underlying data, including recording methods and their limitations, within an archaeological context.

■ apply a range of geospatial analysis and visualisation techniques to archaeological problems, including site and landscape survey, modelling topographic and geophysical data, and 3-D archaeological modelling.

■ enable the acquisition of a range of advanced computer-based skills beyond the typical generic skills.

■ promote the use of appropriate computer-based techniques and technology within archaeology.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ critically evaluate the characteristics and quality of geospatial archaeological data

■ critically evaluate the relevance of specific analytical or visualisation methods to different archaeological problems

■ apply a range of software and scripting tools to address different archaeological problems at an advanced level

■ apply a range of software and scripting tools to manage, manipulate, and represent geospatial archaeological data at an advanced level

■ identify core geospatial concepts relevant to archaeological projects

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the courses summative assessment.