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Material studies 2


Admission requirements

Material studies 1 obtained (both Lectures and Practical).


This course builds upon the basic knowledge gained in the course Material studies 1. In Material studies 2 you will be introduced to the basic analytical skills of processing artefacts.
The module is divided into a series of lectures and practicals. The topics covered in the lectures include the excavation, processing, analysis and preservation of finds of different materials: pottery, shell, coral, flint, metal, glass. The practicals will focus on sorting sieve residues into material categories, the analysis of material categories that have not been handled in Material Studies 1 (glass, sediment, shell) and on the technical drawing of artefacts.

By means of assignments you will acquire the skills to analyse and write a basic technological and morphological report. Flint collected during the recording will be entered in a database and this dataset will be analysed in the Data analysis course. The results of the data analysis will be incorporated in the basic report the students will write.

Course objectives

  • Acquisition of the knowledge and skills necessary for excavating, handling and processing finds in the field and in post-excavation;

  • Ability to distinguish and describe the major material categories according to scientific standards;

  • Learn to use a stereomicroscope to distinguish materials;

  • Learn to recognise the traces of production and use on the surface of the artefacts;

  • Learn how to write basic reports for materials.


Course schedule details can be found in the bachelor 2 time schedule.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures;

  • Practical sessions.

Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 14 hours of lectures (1 ects);

  • 21 hours of practical sessions (1 ects);

  • 275 pages of literature (2 ects);

  • Assignment (basic report) of ca 1,500 words (1 ects).

Assessment method

  • Written exam based on the contents of the lectures and literature (80% of final grade, open (essay) questions;

  • Practical test, which includes a technological report that is handed in at a later stage (20%).

Compensation is possible, the minimum grade should be at least a 4.0. The students can only do a resit for the exams.

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

Reading list

  • J.L. Adams, Ground Stone Analysis: A Technological Approach. Salt Lake City: The University of Utah Press (2002) pp: 3-9, 14-18;

  • H. Hodges, Artifacts. An Introduction to Early Materials and Technology. London, 1964 (with reprints) Chapters 13-15) pp156-172;

  • D.J. Huisman, Degradation of Archaeological Materials. Den Haag (2009) pp 13-146;

  • L.M. Hurcombe, Archaeological Artefacts as Material Culture. London: Routledge (2007). pp 14-37;

  • A.L. van Gijn, Y. M. J. Lammers-Keijsers & I. Briels, “Tool Use and Technological Choices: An Integral Approach towards Functional Analysis of Caribbean Tool Assemblage” (2008), in: C. L. Hofman, M. L. P. Hoogland & A. L. van Gijn (eds), Crossing the Borders: New Methods and Techniques in the Study of Archaeological Materials from the Caribbean. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 101-114;

  • C. Orton, P. Tyers & A. Vince, Pottery in Archaeology. Cambridge Manuals in Archaeology. Cambridge (2013). Chapter 6, 14 & 15: Classification of Form and Quantification: p81-93 & p190-218;

  • J.C. Whittaker, Flint Knapping. Making and Understanding Stone Tools. Austin: University of Texas Press (1994). Chapter 11 (pp 259-299).


Registration for the course is not necessary, registration for the exam is mandatory. For instructions, see the Registration in uSis page.


For more information about his course, please contact dr. C. Tsoraki.


Compulsory attendance at practical sessions.