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Introduction to archaelogical methods

General data

Course ID: 3101-DO1WST
Erasmus code / ISCED: 08.4 Kod klasyfikacyjny przedmiotu składa się z trzech do pięciu cyfr, przy czym trzy pierwsze oznaczają klasyfikację dziedziny wg. Listy kodów dziedzin obowiązującej w programie Socrates/Erasmus, czwarta (dotąd na ogół 0) – ewentualne uszczegółowienie informacji o dyscyplinie, piąta – stopień zaawansowania przedmiotu ustalony na podstawie roku studiów, dla którego przedmiot jest przeznaczony. / (0222) History and archaeology The ISCED (International Standard Classification of Education) code has been designed by UNESCO.
Course title: Introduction to archaelogical methods
Name in Polish: Wstęp do archeologii
Organizational unit: Institute of Archaeology
Course groups: (in Polish) Obowiązkowe przedmioty dla I roku
ECTS credit allocation (and other scores): (not available) Basic information on ECTS credits allocation principles:
  • the annual hourly workload of the student’s work required to achieve the expected learning outcomes for a given stage is 1500-1800h, corresponding to 60 ECTS;
  • the student’s weekly hourly workload is 45 h;
  • 1 ECTS point corresponds to 25-30 hours of student work needed to achieve the assumed learning outcomes;
  • weekly student workload necessary to achieve the assumed learning outcomes allows to obtain 1.5 ECTS;
  • work required to pass the course, which has been assigned 3 ECTS, constitutes 10% of the semester student load.

view allocation of credits
Language: Polish
Type of course:

obligatory courses

Prerequisites (description):

Compulsory lecture - Ist year of the BA-studies



Short description:

General introduction to archaeology - its subject, scope, methods and goals of archeological research (fieldworks - surveys and praparatory works, excavations; archaeological interpretations and compilations), preparing for further studies and giving a theoretical background for the participation in the field practices.

Full description:

The lecture shall present the methods and tasks of archeological investigation, both in the field and in the further study. The main themes are:

1. The definition of archaeology; a short history.

2. Archaeology as history and archaeology as anthropology; archaeological thought – from early evolutionism to postprocessual approaches.

3. The variety of archeology – as defined by subject of investigation, and by methods.

4. Basic definitions and concepts (artefacts, features, sites and their types; archaeological culture).

5. Classifications in archaeology – typologies and seriations.

6. Time in archaeology – periodization, dating, chronology.

7. Archaeology in the field –location of sites, non-invasive investigation (geophysical methods, aerial photography, remote sensing), survey, measurement. Exploration and documentation of finds and features.

8. Basic methods of preservation (pottery, metals, organic materials) and storage of finds.

8. Site formation processes – deposition and post-deposition.

9.Archaeological stratigraphy – layers, levels, phases, sequences; Harris matrix.

10. Post-excavation study – catalogues, collections, publication.

11. Library querenda, citations; archival research (historical archaeology).

12. Auxiliaries to archaeology – humanities (history of art, ethnography, numismatics, epigraphy, metrology etc.)

13. Auxiliaries to archaeology – sciences (physical-chemical analyses, paleobotanics and archaeozoology; physical anthropology, etc.).

14. Scientific procedures (inductive, deductive; heuristics and hermeneutic; hypotheses and testing).

15. Basic legal regulations for archaeology, in Polish and international law.

16. Ethics of archaeology; protection of sites, archaeological heritage and historical landscape. “Archaeology and society” – popularization.


See the list in Polish section

Learning outcomes:

Knowledge of/ability to:

- subject of archaeology; its methods and theory within the humanities and in comparison with exact sciences;

- basic terms and definitions, these specific for the discipline and these shared (history, cultural anthropology);

- research base/sources (from artefacts and features towards sites, archaeological cultures and complexes); their adequate description, analysis and interpretation;

- interdisciplinary scope of archeology ("auxiliaries" of archeology, both in humanities and exact sciences);

- main research paradigms in archaeology, as applied to specific approaches in description and interpretation, and in historical overview;

- material culture as the cognitive base for archaeology, in its raw material/technological, typology/classification and semantic frame;

- publicizing and exchange of information (in different forms and techniques), within the discipline and in the interdisciplinary scale;

- ethic, legal and social scope of archaeology; archaeological heritage as a part of the global cultural heritage; uniqueness and "unreproductability" of the archaeological sources/resources;

- "variety of archaeology" - acceptance and value of different research approaches, both these effecting from changing paradigms formed historically within the discipline, and these resulting from various cultural and social backgrounds.

Assessment methods and assessment criteria:

Evaluation method and criteria: memorization of definitions, concepts and procedures. Exam (in writing) – ca 40 questions, partly choice test, partly requiring a short answer; simple calculations for archaeological surveying.

This course is not currently offered.
Course descriptions are protected by copyright.
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