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Archaeology: Material Culture and Artefact Studies

This is a specialisation of the Master’s programme Archaeology.

A key aspect of this programme is the interdisciplinary study of the materiality of culture. The central focus of this course lies on reconstructing the cultural biography of the material world, especially objects. In a theoretical course relevant theoretical approaches and concepts will be evaluated.

The methodological course focuses on key methods and techniques used to study artefacts and to obtain practical skills in artefact analysis. Special attention is paid to ethnographic, ethnoarchaeological and experimental approaches. In a tutorial students gain practical experience by partaking in current research programmes of the two participating laboratories. It is also possible to bring in material from a region or period that is pertinent to the subject of the MA thesis of the student as long as it deals with research questions focused on technology and use.
There is a choice of three tutorials. In the tutorial Use Wear and Residue Studies, the biography of objects made of flint, hard stone, bone, shell and other materials is documented and interpreted, making use of microscopic and analytical techniques. The tutorial Lithic Analysis centres on the identification of raw materials, the reconstruction of reduction sequences and the evidence of the life history of stone objects. The tutorial Ceramic Studies aims at explaining the craft of pottery by studying the relationships between technical, functional and scientific aspects of ancient pottery. It comprises the analysis of the production sequence, and deals with such questions as how to recognise and define production centres, production organisation, pottery traditions and the history of traditions.

Staff: Prof. dr. Annelou van Gijn, dr. Bram van As.