Postgraduate taught 

Material Culture & Artefact Studies MSc/PgDip

Reassembling the Artefacts ARCH5115

  • 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: No

Short Description

This course introduces students to the key theoretical approaches and practical professional skills required to engage with archaeological artefacts and museum collections as assemblages. It supports the development of specialist skills in artefact analysis and professional reporting through research-led assemblage studies. 


4x1hr lectures, 4x1hrs seminars 8x1hr workshops, 1x2hr external visit, 1x1hr project supervision over 10 weeks as scheduled in MyCampus.

Excluded Courses

Assembling the Artefacts (Hons)




Assemblage Study Project (1000 words) - 30%

Assemblage Study Report (4000 words) - 70%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. Where, exceptionally, reassessment on Honours courses is required to satisfy professional/accreditation requirements, only the overall course grade achieved at the first attempt will contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course aims to:  

■ Critically engage with the key theories and practices concerning archaeological and museum objects as assemblages and provide students with the opportunity to develop situated understandings of contemporary issues.  

■ Develop the practical skills necessary to record and work with archaeological artefactual assemblages, archives and research materials including those from active and legacy excavation projects as well as avocational work and museum collections.   

■ Explore how object-based and assemblage knowledge is generated in archaeological professional practice and used to inform contextual and situated understandings in the past and present.  

■ Consolidate students' knowledge and understanding of these topics and object-based research skills to support students in becoming critical and independent thinkers and researchers.   

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Identify and apply the specific standards, conventions, legal and ethical practices to the study of archaeological artefacts and materials.  

■ Critically apply theoretical approaches (e.g. decolonial, new materialist and relational approaches) to rethink conventional archaeological practice, legacy assemblage and collection studies.  

■ Create research and collection care strategies for assemblages including quantitative and descriptive reports and catalogue

■ Develop object-based and artefact assemblage skills using knowledge from diverse contexts and sources.  

■ Evaluate the wider implications of diverse and emergent forms of assemblage work for contemporary practices and as future heritage professionals.  

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.