Introduction to Archaeological Science and Environmental Archaeology

This course introduces the students to Archaeological Science, focused on Environmental Archaeology. It is designed to provide a broad theoretical and practical understanding of specialist approaches to the interactions between people and their environment in the past and of a wide range of modern scientific methods applied in archaeology. The course focuses particularly on the analysis of organic remains of humans, animals and plants (Bioarchaeology, Zooarchaeology and Archaeobotany), as well as on the study of ancient landscapes and palaeoenvironment (Geoarchaeology). Through lectures, seminars, and laboratory based hands-on training, the course will familiarise the students with the major scientific fields in Environmental Archaeology and equip them with a critical understanding of the inter-disciplinary tools currently available to the study of the human past. The module will offer: 1) A general presentation of the major study fields, methods and techniques of archaeological science and environmental archaeology; 2) introduction to geoarchaeology and soil micromorphology (taphonomy, site formation processes, stratigraphy); 3) introduction to bioarchaeology, theory and methods (human osteology, sex and age estimations, palaeodemography, diet, paleopathology, ancient mobility); 4) introduction to zooarchaoelogy (categories of faunal assemblages, identification techniques, interpretive methodology); 5) introduction to archaeobotany and the analysis of macro- and micro-botanical remains (seeds, carbon, pollen, phytoliths, starch grains); 6) introduction to micro-archaeology (chemical and biomolecular techniques, including scanning electron microscopy, histology, a-DNA analysis etc); 7) discussion of major global themes through integrative inter-disciplinary approaches (e.g. animal and plant domestication, human migration, diet). On completing the course, the students will be familiar with a wide range of science-based techniques applied in archaeology, will be able to read and evaluate the contribution of relevant research, and will be prepared to delve deeper into specific areas of interest.    

Evi Margariti, Ioanna Moutafi
Course Code: 
PENV 101