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Botany (BA3)



Bachelor year 3.

Admission requirements

Bioarchaeology obtained.


This course acts as the bridge from student to early career academic. You will undertake your own small archaeo-/palaeo- botanical investigation involving the development a research question(s) with an archaeological theme.

These questions will be answered by sub-sampling a sample, extracting the fossils from the sample, fossil identification, data presentation and interpretation allowing the production of a written document (suitable for publication in an internationally refereed journal). The investigation will depend on the material available.

Course objectives

Students will study botanical material and will obtain knowledge on:

Plant macrofossils:

  • Know how to select which part of a sample can be used for analyses in the laboratory;

  • Extract fossil plant material from sediment;

  • Identify the fossils using reference materials;

  • Visually present data in a diagram;

  • Interpret the data and make reconstructions of past vegetation and environment.
    and/ or (depending on the nature of material available to work on).


  • Ability to use reference material to identify spores and pollen of a Quaternary site;

  • Ability to make a pollen-diagram;

  • Ability to interpret palynological data.

In general:

  • Ability to put your own results into context;

  • To generate a manuscript that meets the scientific standards.


Course schedule details can be found in the BA3 time schedule.

Mode of instruction

Practical research-led course in which students are mainly working in the botany laboratory on current research projects, with laboratory supervision and regular meetings to determine how the research and research paper is developing.

Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 14x4 hours of lab-based seminar (4 ec);

  • 500 pages of literature (3 ec);

  • Paper of 3,500-4,000 words (3 ec).

Assessment method

Paper (100%).

A retake is only possible for the final paper and only when the attendance and participation to the practical has been satisfactory.

All exam dates (exams, re-sits, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in the BA3 examination schedule.

Reading list

To be researched by the students.


Registration via uSis is mandatory.

  • The Administration Office will register all BA1 students for their tutorials (not lectures; register via uSis!).

  • BA2, BA3, MA/MSc and RMA/RMSc students are required to register for all lectures and tutorials well in time.

  • The Administration Office registers all students for their exams, students are not required to do this in uSis.


For more information about this course, please contact dr. M.H. (Mike) Field.


Compulsory attendance.