ACH 504: Advanced Challenges in Archaeological Sciences


Course Title Advanced Challenges in Archaeological Sciences 
Course Code ACH 504
Course Type Elective
Level PhD
Instructor's Name  Prof. Thilo Rehren (Lead Instructor), Assoc. Prof. Evi Margaritis, Asst. Prof. Efi Nikita
Lectures per Week  2
Laboratories per Week 1
Course Purpose and Objectives

This advanced course has two aims. Firstly, it introduces students to specific ScienceandThis advanced course has two aims. Firstly, it introduces students to specific ScienceandTechnology-based contributions to selected major challenges in ArchaeologicalScience, focussing on Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle Eastregion (EMME) and the research done within the Archaeological Science group atCyI. Secondly, it guides the students to develop their own research plan tocontribute to addressing these challenges, as part of their thesis development.

With incoming students in archaeological science having a broad and often diverserange of individual experiences and academic backgrounds from their postgraduatedegree (a Masters’ in a relevant field), this course will introduce students to the corearchaeological themes relevant for their PhD at The Cyprus Institute, and how theirown archaeological science research will make unique and essential contributionsto them. More specifically, the students will explore specific key archaeologicaltopics relevant for the EMME region, and gain insight into current major sciencebasedresearch by CyI faculty in these fields. The students will then explore howtheir own advanced science and technology-based research will make specificcontributions to address those challenges, as part of the archaeological scienceresearch group within STARC.

In addition to offering an advanced insight into current major methodological andresearch challenges of relevance to their thesis, this course, taught by a small teamof STARC-affiliated faculty specialising in Archaeological Science, will introduce thestudents to the specific academic discourse underpinning current research by theirsupervisors, within the broader context of archaeological research themes. Classdiscussions and assignments will direct students to develop their own research insuch a way that its relevance for the broader archaeological discourse becomesclearly visible.

Learning Outcomes

Upon the completion of the course, students will have been introduced to some ofUpon the completion of the course, students will have been introduced to some ofthe Grand Challenges in Archaeology relevant for Cyprus and the EMME, and willhave learned to position their own doctoral research plans in relation to thosebroader discussions, utilising the latest scientific methods used at STARC and CyImore widely. Thus, the outcome of this course will be a specialised understandingof selected major themes in archaeological science related to the EMME, and an60understanding of how the advanced scientific and technological methods used atSTARC contribute to the bigger picture in archaeological research.

Therefore, at the end of the semester, students will be familiar not only with thearchaeological context of current science-based research undertaken at STARC, butalso understand how this is situated relative to the advanced academic discoursespecific to their discipline. Within this discourse, they will have developed their ownresearch plan for their doctoral work to ensure its scientific currency and academicrelevance, and will be able to communicate the significance of their research to theirpeers and future colleagues within the archaeological and archaeological scienceacademic community.

Prerequisites None
Background Requirements None
Course Content

The course will introduce students to selected research themes and approaches inThe course will introduce students to selected research themes and approaches inarchaeology relevant for their own research, and how advanced scientific andtechnological methods and applications contribute to these.In the first part of the course, several key lecture topics will be presented by multiplefaculty, each contributing their specific scientific approaches to the topic in hand tostrengthen interdisciplinary thinking within the discipline.This is then followed by a selection of in-depth highly specialised topics offered by individual faculty, depending on the particular research interests of each cohort of students. These will be complemented by focused seminar-based discussions andadvanced reading groups.

Advanced Key Lecture Topics, team-taught:

  -Neolithisation: Human, environmental and material perspectives of thefoundation of modern human societies

  -Population dispersal and clustering: mobility and urbanisation

  -Large Empires: Social complexity, surplus production, and exchangenetworks in the EMME

  -The Archaeology of Human – Environment interactions: a dynamicrelationship

  -Studying Technology and Production: the chaîne opératoire, gender roles,and knowledge transmission

Specialised topics (examples, for selection as relevant for each cohort, lecturers tobe confirmed from among the supervisors)

  -Hominids and human evolution

  -Secondary Products Revolution

  -Metals and the emergence of social complexity

  -Large-scale production of materials as a sign of empires

  -Distribution, exchange, and the quantification of value

  -The Organisation of craft production

  -The urban revolution – the rise of complex societies

  -Ethnicity, Mobility and Migration

  -Emerging trends: social bioarchaeology

  -Burials, cremations, and funerary taphonomy

  -Ceramic production and standardisation

  -Domestication processes and the spread of agriculture in Europe

  -Surviving crises: the archaeological record

Teaching Methodology The course consists of a series of one-hour advanced lectures followed by seminarlikeThe course consists of a series of one-hour advanced lectures followed by seminarlikeexploration of pre-set specialist readings and guided tutorials where studentsare tasked to discuss what they have learned, using specific case studies andexamples relevant to their research. Selected lectures will additionally be followedby lab-based practical work.

Agarwal SC, Glencross BA (eds.) 2011. Social Bioarchaeology. Wiley. Agarwal SC, Glencross BA (eds.) 2011. Social Bioarchaeology. Wiley.

Broodbank C. 2013. The Making of the Middle Sea. Thames and Hudson.

Brothwell D. R. and Pollard, A. M. 2008. Handbook of Archaeological Sciences,Wiley.

Carter, R. 2018. Globalising interactions in the Arabian Neolithic and the Ubaid. In:Globalization in Prehistory: Contact, Exchange and the “People without History”, N.Boivin and M. Frachetti (eds), Cambridge University Press, 43-79.

Craddock, P.T. 1995. Early Metal Mining and Production. Edinburgh University Press.

Hudson, M.J., Aoyama, M., Hoover, K.C. and Uchiyama, J. 2012. Prospects and challenges for an archaeology of global climate change. WIREs Climate Change 3,313-328.

Johnson, M. 2010. Archaeological Theory: An Introduction, 2nd edition, Wiley-Blackwell.

Kearns, B. and Manning, S. (eds) 2019. New Directions in Cypriot Archaeology.Cornell University Press.

Knüsel, Chr. and Robb, J. 2016. Funerary taphonomy: an overview of goals and methods. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 10, 655-673.

Larsen, C. S. 2015. Bioarchaeology: Interpreting Behavior from the Human Skeleton (Cambridge Studies in Biological and Evolutionary Anthropology), Cambridge University Press.

Lorentz, K. 2016. Challenges for funerary taphonomy viewed through prehistoric Cyprus. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 10, 757-768.

Lucas, G. 2001. Critical approaches to fieldwork:contemporary and historical archaeological practice. Routledge, London.

Madella, M., Lancelloti, C. and Savard, M. 2014. Plants and People: contemporary trends in archaeobotany, University Arizona Press.

Margaritis E. Wine, oil and agricultural practices in Ancient Greece, BAR International Series, forthcoming.

Martin, D.L., Harrod, R.P. and Perze, V.R. 2014. Bioarchaeology: An Integrated Approach to Working with Human Remains (Manuals in Archaeological Method,Theory and Technique), Springer.

Martinón-Torres, M. and Killick, D. 2015. Archaeological Theories andArchaeological Sciences. The Oxford Handbook of Archaeological Theory, 1-25.62

Martinón-Torres, M. and Rehren, Th. (eds) 2008. Archaeology, History and Science:Integrating Approaches to Ancient Materials. California: Left Coast Press.

McCarthy, A. and Margaritis, E. Environment, landscape and society: diachronic perspectives on settlement patterns Cyprus, CAARI Monograph Series.

Moreno Garcia, J.C. (Ed). 2016. Dynamics of Production in the Ancient Near East.Oxbow Books, Oxford.

Nikita, E. 2016. Osteoarchaeology: A Guide to the Macroscopic Study of Human Skeletal Remains, Academic Press.

Redman, L. et al. 2004. Archaeology of Global Change: the impact of humans totheir environment, Smithsonian Books.

Roberts, N., Woodbridge, J., Bevan, A., Palmisano, A., Shennan, St. and Asouti, E.2018. Human responses and non-responses to climatic variations during the last Glacial-Interglacial transition in the eastern Mediterranean. Quaternary ScienceReview 184, 47-67.

Robinson, D. and Wilson, A. (eds). 2011. Maritime Archaeology and Ancient Tradein the Mediterranean. Oxford Centre for Maritime Archaeology: Monograph 6.

Renfrew, C. and Bahn, P. 2008. Archaeology: theories, methods and practice.London: Thames and Hudson.

Wilkinson, K. and Stevens, S. 2003. Environmental Archaeology. Approaches,Techniques and Applications, Tempus.

Assessment Students will be asked to produce 2 assignments during the course of the semester, followed by a research proposal which effectively will feature each student’s archaeological research question related to their doctoral research
Language English


Publications & Media