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Advanced Archaeological Science Specialisation Course: Material Culture


Admission requirements

Admission to the RMSc Archaeology programme Archaeological Science.


The focus of this specialisation course lies on current methods related to Material Culture Studies and Materials Science, providing the conceptual background to formulate relevant research questions and approaches in the domain.

You will be familiarised with the advantages, pitfalls and practical implementation of advanced methods and techniques from the exact sciences (such as Optical Microscopy, XRF, SEM-EDS, etc.) used to study the life cycle of inorganic artefacts, providing the necessary analytical tools and framework to characterise and provenance these archaeological materials, and to determine their past function and use.

Course set-up

The lectures address the relation between the material properties of ancient and historical artefacts and the analytical techniques used to study them. In-class discussions and practical exercises will complement the lectures.

Course objectives

  • To obtain knowledge of and insight in the analytical study of various categories of artefacts focusing on the various techniques, processes and methodologies from the exact sciences that are essential for such a study;

  • Develop, present and implement research strategies for different archaeological materials.


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;

  • Plenary discussions and exercises;

  • Reading literature;

  • Final paper writing.

Assessment method

  • Practical (group) assignment and presentation (20%);

  • Final paper (80%).

One final grade will be provided based on the weighed average as indicated. A retake of the paper is only allowed when the attendance requirements have been met.

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

Topical papers provided on Brightspace.


For lectures, tutorials, and exams, enrolment through MyStudymap is mandatory.
You are also required to confirm your exam in MyStudymap. No confirmation = no participation!

General information about registration can be found on the Course and Exam Enrolment page.


For more information about this course, please contact dr. D.J.G. (Dennis) Braekmans.


Compulsory attendance.