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Archaeological Science Specialisation Course: Archaeobotany


Admission requirements

  • Admission to the MSc Archaeology programme Archaeological Sciences, with Archaeobotany and Archaeozoology as first focus area, or admission to the RMSc Archaeology with focus area Bioarchaeology;

  • BA2 Bioarchaeology and Botany courses or equivalent level in analytical skills (to be determined by the examinator).


Archaeo-and palaeobotanical research requires knowledge of collecting, extracting, determining and curating Pleistocene and/or Holocene plant fossils and, in addition, presentation of fossil botanical data and data analysis.

All these aspects will be addressed in detail based on the study of fossiliferous sediments from a Quaternary site that contains archaeology (either lithic artefacts, cut-marked bone of both). The site for study will depend on what is available at the time.

This is an advanced exercise which will lead to the production of data, if handled correctly, that can be published in an refereed, international journal.

Course objectives

  • An advanced knowledge of and insight into the research methods and techniques and their application possibilities within palaeobotany and archaeobotany (particularly plant macrofossils);

  • An advanced knowledge of and insight into the relevance of these techniques to archaeology;

  • Ability to recognise plant macrofossils from Quaternary deposits that also contain Palaeolithic archaeology;

  • Ability to determine and distinguish characteristic morphological features leading to accurate identification using extensive reference collections;

  • Ability to present and analyse palaeobotanical data (e.g. learning to use Tilia software);

  • Ability to conduct archaeobotanical research in a multidisciplinary approach that adds value to archaeological investigations;

  • Ability to write a research report based on the practical work completed in the course.


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

Mode of instruction


Course load

  • 36 hours of practicals (2,6 ec);

  • 196 pages of literature (1,4 ec);

  • Report of 1,500-1,800 words (1 ec).

Assessment method

  • Report (60%);

  • Practical attendance (40%).

A retake consists of the improvement of the report within 6 weeks after the submission of the first version, but only if the attendance requirements have been met.

All exam dates (exams, retakes, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in the MA and MSc examination schedule.
The report will be submitted 2 weeks from the end of the practical work.

Reading list

To be handed out during class, and will be relevant to the site investigated.


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.