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MA Archaeological Materials

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  • Objectives
    This cross-disciplinary course (taught in partnership with the Departments of Materials and Mineral Resources in the School of Mechanical Materials and Manufacturing Engineering) blends archaeology and science in the investigation of ancient materials and pyrotechnologies. Both aspects are taught and the emphasis is to combine them as fully as possible. The recent growth of Archaeological Science in the Department of Archaeology at Nottingham is further strengthened by the installation of a JOEL JXA-8200 electron microprobe. Museum conservators on day release and graduates in Materials or Archaeology will benefit from taking this course. It can be regarded as an ideal second degree if you wish to pursue the 1-year MA + 3 years by research suggested by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).
  • Entry requirements
    If you have a largely Science-based background, you are recommended to follow the MSc in Archaeological Materials, which will give you the option to take more ‘hard science’ modules (four out of eight 15-credit modules instead of three out of eight) and which offers a dissertation module where 50% of the end result will depend on the depth and amount of ‘hard science’ included. If you have a largely Arts background, you are recommended to follow the MA in Archaeological Materials.
  • Academic Title
    MA Archaeological Materials
  • Course description
    Key facts

    -The Department of Archaeology offers students the use of cutting-edge equipment and facilities for the scientific analyses of ancient inorganic materials.
    -The University Museum housing archaeological finds is based in the Department.
    -You will have access to the Microanalysis Research Facility, which specialises in compositional analysis of samples, compositional mapping, microstructural analysis and provenance of archaeological materials.
    -Archaeological Materials is taught within a thriving department that has attracted academic and research staff from around the world.
    -This course is taught in partnership with the Departments of Materials and Mineral Resources in the School of Mechanical Materials and Manufacturing Engineering.

    Course Content
    The course focus is on ceramics, metals and glasses: their structures, compositions, production techniques, the archaeological evidence for their manufacture (involving archaeological case studies), and ethnographic examples.

    You will study aspects of the extraction, production and distribution of ancient materials through lectures, seminars and practicals in the Departments of Archaeology, Materials Engineering and Mineral Resources Engineering.

    You will be given a strong foundation in the skills and techniques necessary for effective research by completing a compulsory core module in Research Methods and Methodology.
    For the dissertation, you will be encouraged to work with supervisors in both the Archaeology Department and in the Materials or Minerals Resources Engineering Departments.

    You will also have the opportunity to acquire study skills thought desirable or necessary for progress to a research degree. Topics covered in the course include:
    • Archaeology case studies in the production of glasses, metals and ceramics
    • The scientific characteristics of metals glasses and ceramics
    • The scientific techniques used in the investigation of archaeological materials, e.g. X-ray fluorescence, Scanning-electron microscopy, wet chemical analysis
    • Ethnographic studies of production
    Please note that all module details are subject to change.

    Course Structure
    This course can be taken over one year, full-time (September to September) or over two years, part-time.

    As well as a compulsory 15-credit module in Research Methods and Methodology, you will study an additional 105-credits’ worth of taught modules.

    The remaining 60 credits of this course are allocated to your dissertation.

    Teaching takes place through lectures, seminars and practical sessions.

    Assessment methods vary according to the individual module

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