Archaeological Fieldwork Methodology
cod. 1007463

Academic year 2023/24
2° year of course - Second semester
Academic discipline
Metodologie della ricerca archeologica (L-ANT/10)
Ambito aggregato per crediti di sede
Type of training activity
30 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

The aim of the course is to deepen the knowledge of the Methodology and Techniques of archaeological investigation on the ground and to teach the student to disengage in a practical and correct way in an archaeological excavation.

1. Knowledge and ability to understand: The first objective will be to provide the student with a series of lectures, to understand clearly the stratigraphical excavation theory and the stratigraphy concepts, starting from the preparatory and preliminary phase. archaeological investigation on the ground, up to the operations following the conclusion of the excavations: conservation, musealization and use of the contexts.

2. Knowledge and understanding skills applied: at the end of the course, the student will be in
able to support arguments concerning the archaeological excavation on the
field, integrating its previous experiences with a more complex and articulated preparation concerning the theories and methods of the archaeological excavation. At the end of the course the student will have acquired skills and technical knowledge to enable him / her to effectively disengage and with a high level of operativity in an archaeological work context.

3. Autonomy of judgment: The student will be able to correctly and autonomously interpret the archaeological data

4. Communication skills: Students can express themselves in a concise and unambiguous way with specialists and non-interlocutors.

5. Ability to learn:
The final objective is to develop in the student a critical and learning capacity that allows him to study and disengage autonomously in the issues concerning the discipline and to undertake the practice of archaeological research on the ground in an autonomous and operational way


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Course unit content

Introduction to stratigraphic excavation techniques and field research. The modern archaeological project: from the excavation to the edition. The site to be investigated and the preliminary phases to the excavation: archaeological survey or survey, aerial photography, geoelectric and geophysical methods. The excavation site. Means, tools and workforce. The organization of work. Modern excavation procedures. The stratigraphy concept realized through the Harris diagram. Stratigraphic sequences and the nature of the layers. Documentation and relief. The archaeological manual drawing (sections, excavation plants and phase plants), the relief with electronic instruments (optical level, total electronic station, GPS). Digital photographs, photomodeling and orthophotos. The contribution of natural sciences and bioarchaeology: archeozoology, archaeobotany, paleoanthropology The study of artefacts and mobile exhibits: typology and classification. Research work in the laboratories. Chemical and petrographic analyzes. Site enhancement: restoration, musealisation and use.
 In addition to lectures, the course includes the possibility to carry out practical activities at the archaeological excavations of the University of Parma.

Full programme

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For the exam, in addition to the lecture notes, the following manual is required:

Carandini A., Storie della terra. Manuale di scavo archeologico, Einaudi, Torino 2010 (quarta ed.).

Students not attending will have to prepare, in addition to the manual, the following volume:

Augenti A., A come Archeologia, Carocci Editore, Roma 2018

Teaching methods

The lectures, in total 30 hours for 6 credits, will take place in presence with the help of a large series of projected images. For non-attending students, it is envisaged the possibility of making audio-visual material (recordings of lectures, etc.) available to the students themselves, uploaded on the Elly platform
Students will be encouraged to intervene and express their point of view at the end of each lesson on the issues and topics examined.
At each lesson, full and detailed power points on each topic will be projected. During the lessons, photocopies may be distributed, as an aid for the preparation of the exam. At the end of the course, students will be given all the thematic power points projected in class, to facilitate the preparation of the exam.
The teaching on the field is accompanied by the one on the field, guaranteed by the participation of the students in the archaeological didactic excavations of the teacher.
In particular, it will be possible to take part in the second excavation campaign in the archaeological site of Fiumana (Predappio, FC), which will take place in July 2024.

Assessment methods and criteria

The final exam aims to verify the achievement of the didactic and training objectives indicated in the Syllabus. The exams will take place in the teacher's office. If due to the persistence of the health emergency it is necessary to integrate with the remote modality, the carrying out of the exams will proceed with oral questions, using the Teams platform.
The students will have to show that they have learned the general part of the manual, the methods and the contents developed and deepened during the lessons. The exam grade is defined by an oral exam based on the knowledge and understanding of the main topics related to the course.
An assessment of insufficiency is determined by the
lack of one
knowledge of the minimum contents of the course; from the inability to express themselves
adequately with reference to the subject, as well as the lack of
Preparation. A sufficient evaluation (from 18 to 24) is determined by
a level of acceptable preparation by the student; a
score from 24 to 27 comes
assigned to the student who proves to possess a discrete level or
good preparation and presentation of the topics; the most scores
high (from 28 to 30 and praise) come
assigned according to the demonstration of a high level, knowledge, understanding and exposure of the main ones
topics related to the course.

Other information

Students attending the course will be given the opportunity to be selected for the second archaeological campaign in the very interesting site of Fiumana (Predappio, FC). The excavations will take place in July 2023