26 Mar 2008

The Open University supports the future of Archaeology with a new short course

Dig This

Dig This

The Open University in partnership with The British Museum and the York Archaeological Trust is launching a new science short-course called Archaeology: The Science of Investigation (SA188)

With a new adventure featuring Indiana Jones about to hit cinemas and the continuing interest generated by TV programmes such as Timewatch, Meet The Ancestors and Time Team, archaeology is a subject close to the heart of a lot of people and for the first time, The Open University is offering students the chance to get in on the ground floor, or possibly beneath it!

The first presentation of the course will be in May 2008 and there will be subsequent presentations throughout the year. Students will develop an appreciation of the processes involved in the discovery, investigation and interpretation of a wide variety of artefacts and archaeological sites.

They will learn about the wide range of scientific techniques used in the field and increasingly in the laboratory and how this information provides archaeologists with new insights into how various aspects of societies and cultures may have evolved.

The course follows a series of case studies based around four main topics:-

• Reading the archaeological landscape
• From bog bodies, skeletons and mummies to forensic archaeology
• Making sense of materials
• Our archaeological heritage – protecting the finds for the future

Course Chair Dr Arlene Hunter said: "The course is suitable for anyone who either has a general interest in archaeology or is a keen amateur archaeologist, and who wants to know more about how the scientific methods of investigation, processes and techniques used within archaeology really work.

"One of the most exciting aspects of this course however, is that it has been produced in partnership with The British Museum and the York Archaeological Trust. These partnerships have allowed the course to gain access to a wide range of archaeological sites and examples that otherwise would not be possible.

"This includes direct access to the conservation laboratories within the museum, as well as access to specially commissioned interviews with key scientific and conservation staff, and the personal thoughts of Neil MacGregor, the Director of the British Museum on future developments within archaeology.

“The partnership with the York Archaeological Trust meanwhile offers privileged insights into the work of the field archaeologist, with staff from Dig Hungate - one of the largest excavation projects in the city of York in the last 20 years, and predicted to produce significant new insights into the archaeological history of this area - creating a series of specially designed introductory ‘training films’ for this course. These films offer an introduction to a range of different surveying and excavation techniques used in the field, as well as concise overviews of a variety of finds and features as they being excavated and recorded by the archaeologists.

"Dig Hungate is due to continue until 2012, and will provide regular updates and year round behind the scenes access to the excavation as it progresses".

Editor’s Notes

SA188 – Archaeology: The Science of Investigation begins in May 2008 with registration for the first presentation closing on Friday May 16. There will be two more presentations in 2008 and two in 2009.
The course has been produced in partnership with The British Museum and the York Archaeological Trust.


Related Courses and programmes from the Open University:-
- SA188 Archaeology: the science of investigation
-S193 Fossils and the history of life
-S187 Elements of forensic science

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