Academic year
2020/2021 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
FM0499 (AF:338856 AR:179769)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
3rd Term
Course year
Go to Moodle page
The course is part of the Master’s Degree Programme in ‘Digital and Public Humanities’ and is connected to the Venice Centre for Digital and Public Humanities (VeDPH) in Ca' Foscari's Department of Humanities. It is the first module of the optional class DIGITAL ARCHAEOLOGY AND HERITAGE, ETHICS AND POLITICS. The course aims at developing a comprehensive understanding of the theoretical and practical aspects of Digital Archaeology.
1. Knowledge and understanding:
• Knowledge of the theoretical and practical issues of Digital Archaeology;
• General knowledge of the main techniques and methodologies;
• Knowledge of the methodological approaches to document archaeological sites and decipher past landscapes.
2. Ability to apply knowledge and understanding:
• Ability to apply the suitable methodologies of Digital Archaeology to specific cases and plan research;
• Ability to manage and exploit multiple 2D and 3D data in a GIS environment;
3. Judgement skills:
• Ability to critically analyse digital archaeological sources, projects and papers.
• Ability to develop critical thinking skills with reference to Digital Archaeology.

There are no pre-requirements.
The aim of the course is to develop a comprehensive understanding of the theoretical and practical aspects of digital archaeology, which, taking advantage of the most recent tools and methods, is revolutionizing the study of the past, its communication and management. The course provides a general overview of the methods to identify, investigate, document and analyse archaeological sites and landscapes. The use of state-of-the-art remote sensing technologies to investigate ancient landscapes will be discussed considering geomorphologic variability. Students will learn how to approach the study of the past by combining multiple sources of 2D and 3D data deriving from active and passive remote sensing, historical cartography, photogrammetry, archaeological and geological research. Students will also acquire skills to manage and exploit such kind of data in a GIS (geographical information systems) environment.

Specific contents:

1. Introduction to archaeology, archaeological history and theory
2. What is Digital Archaeology ?
3. Geomorphology: basic concepts
4. Remote sensing: an introduction
5. Passive remote sensing (airborne and spaceborne photography; the use of drones (or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles—UAVs, Structure from Motion photogrammetry)
6. Active remote sensing (SAR and LiDAR)
7. Ground-based remote sensing (passive and active geophysical methods)
8. GNSS and GPS
9. Maps and geographic thinking
10. Geodesy and cartography: basic concepts
11. Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
12. GIS application in archaeology
13. How to decipher past landscapes ?
14. Case studies

During the course we will be using recent papers and publications and online sources. Main referral texts are reported below.
- Bahn P. G., Renfrew C. (2018). Archaeology essentials, theories, methods, practice, Thames & Hudson College, London. (Chapters 1 and 3).
- Gary Lock (2003). Using Computers in Archaeology, Towards Virtual Pasts. Routledge, London.
- Forte M., Campana S., eds., (2016). Digital Methods and Remote Sensing in Archaeology. Archaeology in the Age of Sensing. Springer. (Parts I-III).

Oral exam. Non-attending students should contact the professor to complete the program of the oral exam with additional readings.
Classes with activities in and outside the class, and interaction between professor and students.
Attendance is strongly recommended.
Whenever needed, the didactic material will be made available through the Moodle e-learning platform.
Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 03/02/2021