Academic year
2022/2023 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
CT0537 (AF:374004 AR:201286)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Bachelor's Degree Programme
Educational sector code
2nd Semester
Course year
Go to Moodle page
The course aims to provide students with basic but complete notions on theory, methods, and practice in archaeology. The lessons offer a brief and comprehensive introduction to the contemporary archaeological methodology in the framework of global archaeology.
The classes will study the different tools and approaches to reconstruct the past, including on-site excavation techniques, cataloging and drawing procedures, and remote sensing. The lessons will illustrate the role of archaeological finds as “clues” (datasets), approaching them on their material and social aspects. The course teaches how to contextualize the history of an archaeological object. We will consider starting the excavation framework, we will asses the site, and we will end up studying the relationships with the landscape. A specific focus will be devoted to the Landscape Archaeology: learners will analyze tools and methods adopted to asses landscape transformations though time. The final section of the course will study the theoretical and practical issues related to the conservation and the management of archaeological sites. All the classes will have a distinct focus on the conservations and management aspects, pivotal in the future work of conservators, archaeometrs, restorers, etc.
The course provides a broad introduction to archaeology and archaeological methods. In particular, students will learn fundaments about:
- Archaeology and its research themes;
- Archaeological finds;
- Landscape archaeology;
- Archaeological stratigraphy;
- Notions about conservations practices of archaeological objects/sites;
- The theory of “archaeological context” and its applications;
- The use of non-archaeological sources to assess the archaeological record;
- The ability to understand and asses the quality of the archaeological workflows and practices in the archaeological literature;
- The basis of absolute dating in archaeology;
- The fundaments of the social archaeology;
- The notion of value in archaeology;
- The management of a conservation plan for an archaeological site.
The course is addressed to all students, and it does not require any specific preparation or background in archaeology ar antiquity studies.
The course is taught in Italian, even if basic English knowledge is required to study some didactic materials.
The course will cover four main topics:
1. Methos and introduction to archaeology
2. Landscape archaeology
3. Conservation of archaeological sites
4. Public Archaeology

The lessons’ specific topics are the follows:
- Lesson 1 (0-2)
Course introduction. Practicals.
Introduction to Archaeology Thoiry: from new archaeology to the post processualism.
Test: What we know about archaeology?
- Lesson 2 (3-4)
What does archaeology study? The different archaeological records. The variety of archaeological data. The formation processes in archaeology.
- Lesson 3 (5-6)
Landscape archaeology: methods, tools, processes. Contest and landscapes. Ecology and the research of ancient landscapes. Conserving and narrating the landscape transformations. Historical geography.
- Lesson 4 (7-8)
Past landscapes and the information sources: ancient literature, inscriptions, coins, archive maps, toponymy, modern literature, iconography, remote sensing, geomorphology and environmental sources, ethnography, anthropology.
- Lesson 5 (9-10)
Surface surveying in archaeology: systematic survey, Site, and non-site, non-systematic survey and peculiar sites, aerial photos, local traditions and interviews, the “reuse,” maps, toponymic, interpretation criteria.
- Lesson 6 (11-12)
Cultural elements in Landscape Archaeology: rural landscapes, urban landscapes, funeral/sacred spaces, production areas, fortified settlements, mountain and liminal spaces, pastoral landscapes. Settlements. Mental landscapes and their memory.
- Lesson 7 (13-14)
Scientific methods for the surface survey. Scientific methods for archaeological excavations. Underwater archaeology. Stratigraphy in archaeology. Finds classification.
- Lesson 8 (15-16)
Dating in archaeology. Relative dating (seriation and methods). Absolute dating methods (tree rings methods, C14, Thermoluminescence)
- Lesson 9 (17-18)
Social archaeology: social analysis (settlement analysis, hierarchy, monumentality, ethnoarchaeology) and archaeology of the self (graves, gender archaeology, social differences, ethnicity, conflicts).
- Lesson 10 (19-20)
Archaeological finds (stone, wood, vegetal and animal fibers, pottery, metals). Trade and exchange.
- Lesson 11 (21-22)
Public archaeology. Community archaeology. Archaeology and politics. Ethics in archaeology.
- Lesson 12 (23-34)
The conservation of the archaeological resource. The vulnerability of archaeological CH.
- Lesson 13 (25-26)
Archaeological “Value” in the conservation, management, and restoring processes. The planning of archaeological sites’ conservation.
- Lesson 14 (27-28)
Principles and methods for the physical preservation of archaeological structures.
- Lesson 15 (29-30)
Archaeology and archaeological narrative: writing, screening, and playing with archaeological data.
All examination materials (textbooks' sections, papers, presentations) and text will be downloadable from moodle.
As reference bibliography:
- C. Renfrew, P. Bahn, "L'essenziale in Archeologia. Teorie, metodi, pratiche", Zanichelli, Bologna, 2016.
- A. Carandini, Storie della Terra. Manuale di scavo archeologico, Einaudi, 1996
- F. Cambi, "Manuale di archeologia dei paesaggi: metodologie, fonti, contesti", Carrocci, Roma, 2011
- F. Cambi, "Archeologia dei paesaggi antichi: fonti e diagnostica", Carrocci, Roma, 2003
- E. Farinetti, "I paesaggi in archeologia: analisi e interpretazione", Carrocci, Roma, 2012
- S. Sullivan, R. Mackay (eds.), "Archaeological sites: conservation and management" (Readings in conservation, The Getty Conservation Institute), Getty Publications, Los Angeles, 2012
The examination is oral and the aim is to ensure the acquisition of the basic knowledge of the discipline. The abilities to synthesize information, of the use of a proper scientific terminology will also be assessed. The final mark is the result of the average of the points earned for each answer.
Some on-line texts will be performed during the classes: their results do not contribute to the final scores, but they will be tools to assess the learning process.
- Frontal lessons with PowerPoint presentations;
- Collegial discussion on specific topics;
- Multimedia on-line texts.
All the class materials will be available on the Moodle platform.
All materials will available on moodle platform.
Moodle access will be mandatory to follow the course progresses, the program and intermediate tests.

This subject deals with topics related to the macro-area "Climate change and energy" and contributes to the achievement of one or more goals of U. N. Agenda for Sustainable Development

This programme is provisional and there could still be changes in its contents.
Last update of the programme: 19/07/2022