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Module

ARA2102 : Cold Case: Archaeological Science in Action

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Chloe Duckworth
  • Lecturer: Dr Eline Van Asperen, Dr Chris Fowler, Dr Lisa-Marie Shillito, Dr Jane Webster
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

This module uses globally significant archaeological case studies as a way to discover how different scientific techniques inform our knowledge of the past, and to develop skills in the critical assessment of the use of scientific results in the popular media.

In this module, we explore the profound impact of archaeological science via some of the most exciting and important archaeological case studies in the world. No background in science is needed, but you do need a willingness to challenge yourself.

In lectures, you will learn how fossils of our early ancestors were dated by radioactivity in the surrounding rocks at Olduvai Gorge; how we know that King Tut’s dagger was from outer space (but wasn’t made by aliens); how non-invasive analysis has revealed the secrets of the mausoleum of China’s first emperor; and much more. Each case study is examined from multiple angles, demonstrating how specialists come together to create a three-dimensional picture of the past. You will see that science does not operate in a vacuum, and learn to recognise the social forces at work in scientific inquiry.

In seminars, you will look into case studies in more depth, and also develop your own analytical skillset. You will learn how to read and critique scientific reports, and how to summarise them in digestible – and engaging – ways for the general public.

Outline Of Syllabus

Week 1
Introduction and Themes

Week 2
The Mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang

Week 3
The Tomb of Tutankhamen

Week 4
Inca Child Sacrifices

Week 5
Richard III

Week 6
Vindolanda Roman Fort

Week 7
Olduvai Gorge

Week 8
Çatalhüyük

Week 9
aDNA Controversies

Week 10
The Mary Rose

Week 11
Bog Bodies

Week 12
Reflection and Summary

Teaching Methods

Module leaders are revising this content in light of the Covid 19 restrictions.
Revised and approved detail information will be available by 17 August.

Assessment Methods

Module leaders are revising this content in light of the Covid 19 restrictions.
Revised and approved detail information will be available by 17 August.

Reading Lists

Timetable