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Digital data acquisition and analysis


Admission requirements

BA or BSc degree in Archaeology or a closely related discipline, plus the BA2 courses Data analysis and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) (or undergraduate courses in Digital Archaeology deemed to be equivalent by the instructor).


This course will provide an overview of current methods and techniques of digital data acquisition and analysis in archaeology, with a focus on recent trends and developments. It is targeted towards students who already have a good idea of the What, Why and How of archaeological enquiry, as well as basic knowledge of standard digital tools such as databases and GIS.

In this course you will be able to acquire in-depth knowledge about digital data in archaeology: how they are generated and collected, what they represent (and what not), and how they can be managed, visualised, analysed, interpreted and presented using state-of-the-art tools. The following sub-fields of Digital Archaeology will be covered:

  • surveying and geophysics;

  • remote sensing and image analysis;

  • 3D modelling and virtual reconstruction;

  • spatial statistics and analysis;

  • modelling and simulation;

  • data management.

These sub-fields also define the thematic range from which you can choose a thesis topic.
Due to the overview nature of this course, the mode of instruction will be a series of lectures, combined with an extensive self-study of current literature on techniques and methods, as well as case studies.
Within the MSc programme Digital Archaeology, complementary laboratory courses and internships offer the opportunity to acquire corresponding practical skills according to your choices.

Course objectives

To provide students with a thorough knowledge of the acquisition and analysis of digital data used in archaeological research and an overview of Digital Archaeology as a discipline. At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • understand how digital data are acquired and analysed in archaeology;

  • give an overview of Digital Archaeology as a discipline;

  • identify relevant data and tools for specific sub-fields of Digital Archaeology;

  • choose a suitable topic for further study in the framework of internships, laboratory work, and the master’s thesis.


Course schedule details can be found in the MA and MSc time schedule.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures;

  • Self-study (reading assignments).

Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 12 hours of lectures (1 ec);

  • 560 pages of literature (4 ec).

Assessment method

  • Assignments (20%);

  • Final exam with open questions (80%).

There is only a retake for the final exam.

All assessment deadlines (exams, retakes, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in the MA and MSc examination schedule.

Reading list

  • T.L. Evans & P. Daly (eds), Digital Archaeology: Bridging Method and Theory. London: Routledge (2005);

  • G. Lock, Using Computers in Archaeology: Towards Virtual Pasts. London: Routledge (2003).


Registration for the course or the exam is not required.


For more information about this course, please contact dr. K. Lambers.


Attendance is not compulsory but strongly recommended, as the exam will be partly based on discussions during the classes.