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Exploratory Data Analysis in Archaeology


Admission requirements



In this course you will be introduced to the principles of a quantitative and qualitative analysis of archaeological data. The basics of statistics will be taught in a pragmatic and visual way, which should give you the skills to perform a proper data evaluation and analysis in, for instance, your BA thesis.

Awareness about the limitations of archaeological data and ways to find recurring patterns through a visual and spatial analysis will be taught.
Theoretical, statistical and mathematical background knowledge is not required and will be provided during this course gently. This course serves as a stepping stone to the reading, understanding and handling of more advanced statistical techniques applied in archaeology.

Course set-up

There will be a 2-hour lecture and a 4-hour practical session each week.

Course objectives

  • Basic knowledge of graphical, statistical and spatial techniques applicable to archaeological data;

  • Understanding statistical topics in archaeological literature;

  • Ability to apply exploratory data analysis in one’s own (thesis) research;

  • Insight into the advantages and disadvantages of the various techniques for the analysis of archaeological data;

  • Insight into the value of a statistical technique for archaeological conclusions.


Course schedule details can be found in MyTimetable.
Log in with your ULCN account, and add this course using the 'Add timetable' button.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures with practical exercises;

  • Practicals (Access and Excel).

Course load

  • 12 hours of lectures, with exercises (1 ec);

  • 24 hours of practical, creating and analysing an archaeological data collection (2 ec);

  • 160 pages of literature (2 ec).

Assessment method

  • Open book examination (100%).

Examination grades will only apply if all the mandatory practicals have been attended.

Assessment deadlines

All assessment deadlines (exams, retakes, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in MyTimetable.
Log in with your ULCN account, and add this course using the 'Add timetable' button. To view the assessment deadline(s), make sure to select the course with a code ending in T and/or R.

Reading list

  • Fletcher, M. & G.R. Lock, 2005. Digging Numbers, Elementary Statistics for Archaeologists, Oxford University Committee for Archaeology, Oxford.


The Administration Office will register all Archaeology BA1 students in uSis for their lectures and tutorials.
If you are not in Archaeology BA1, you can register for this course by e-mailing the Administration Office. Use your uMail, messages sent from private mail accounts cannot be verified and will not be processed.

Registration in uSis automatically leads to enrollment in the corresponding Brightspace module. Therefore you do not need to enroll in Brightspace.

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


For more information about this course, please contact drs. M. (Milco) Wansleeben.


Compulsory attendance during the practicals.