Postgraduate taught 

Material Culture & Artefact Studies MSc/PgDip

Contemporary and future archaeologies ARCH5109

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

Short Description

This course will offer an introduction t, and practical experience of, the relatively new area of theory and practice within archaeology, Contemporary Archaeology. This is defined as a series of approaches that consider how archaeological methods and ways of thinking might help us to better understand the world around us today and in the recent past, and what the discipline's contribution could be to society in the future. The course will cover theory, practice, practitioners and projects that deal with archaeologies of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.


6 x 1-hour lectures; 6 x 90-minute seminars; 6-hour fieldtrip; 2 x 1 hour project support sessions

Excluded Courses

ARCH4071 - Contemporary and future archaeologies




Essay (2000 words) - 30%

Scrapbook (750 words) Collated notes, images, found items, sketches based on the fieldtrip - 20% 

Project (3000 words) Development of a contemporary archaeology project design and funding application for the Being Human festival - 50%

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Introduce students to the concept of Contemporary Archaeology through consideration of key themes, projects, practitioners and theoretical approaches;

■ Situate Contemporary Archaeology within its theoretical and practice-based context;

■ Critically discuss the practice of Contemporary Archaeology with a focus on ethical considerations and social relevance;

■ Consider the contribution of contemporary archaeology to our understanding of historical events and conflict;

■ Challenge the students to consider contemporary and future applications of archaeology methods and theory;

■ Give the students experience of designing a contemporary archaeology project within a funding application framework.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Summarise and critically evaluate the development, key theories and different practices associated with Contemporary Archaeology;

■ Critically evaluate the ethics and efficacy of archaeologies of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries both within, and beyond, archaeology;

■ Appraise the potential and claimed social benefits of Contemporary Archaeology and be able to articulate these within a project design context;

■ Employ creativity to engage with contemporary experiences of historic and prehistoric sites and monuments'

■ Apply the skills required to formula a coherent project within the framework of a funding application brief and pro forma.

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.