Postgraduate taught 

Archaeology MSc

Environmental Archaeology; plants, animals and people ARCH5117

  • 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

A thematic course that introduces students to the major methods and issues relating to environmental archaeology, e.g. for landscape reconstruction, understanding subsistence, diet, chronology and human migration.


2 sequential contact hours per week, over 10 weeks, same slot each week, Semester 2 2021/22; this module will be co-taught with an Honours class of the same name (ARCH4061). The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Excluded Courses





Research Essay (2000 words): 30%

Presentation (Oral) , 10 minutes: 10%

Portfolio (6 practical write ups): 60%

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ examine the theory underpinning the use of scientific techniques in archaeology

■ gain an understanding and appreciation of commonly-used techniques in environmental archaeology and their applications to questions of diet, mobility, chronology and environment

■ investigate the advantages and limitations of the various techniques discussed, using examples from the archaeological record, predominantly over the past 8,000 years

■ explore contemporary public understandings and media reporting of archaeological science

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ critically interpret and evaluate the major techniques used in environmental archaeology

■ apply the theory underpinning the application of environmental methods in archaeology

■ synthesise and critically evaluate research findings and present these to others.

■ Use environmental and archaeological science to present new insights into human diet, plant and animal domestication, and human-environment interactions.

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.