General Details

Full Title
Transcript Title
N/A %
Subject Area
ARCH - Archaeology
ESCI - Environmental Science
08 - NFQ Level 8
05 - 05 Credits
Start Term
2013 - Full Academic Year 2013-14
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
Billy Fitzgerald, Fiona Beglane
Programme Membership
SG_SAPPL_K08 201300 Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Applied Archaeology Add On SG_SAPPL_K08 201300 Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Applied Archaeology Add On SG_SAPPL_H08 201300 Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Applied Archaeology

This module develops the student's understanding of plant remains in archaeology.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;


Explain the basic principles on which archaeobotany is based.


Define the principal methods used in archaeobotany and identify when these methods would be applicable.


Demonstrate skills in the laboratory techniques used in archaeobotany including identification of macrofossil and microfossil forms from various plant species.


Organise and integrate theoretical and practical concepts presented into an overall view of archaeobotany and explain the major applications in interpreting archaeological sites and landscapes.


Describe and synthesise case studies of the application of archaeobotany in interpreting archaeological sites and landscapes.


Analyse, evaluate and draw conclusions from data obtained in the laboratory and/or data presented in problem-solving exercises.


Effectively communicate scientific principles to a peer audience

Module Assessment Strategies

50% of the assessment will be based on practical laboratory skills. This will ensure relevance to the world of archaeological consulting and research. The exam is designed to test the ability of the student to retain and to express the information gained during the course, while continuous assessment will provide ongoing opportunities to demonstrate the learning outcomes.

Indicative Syllabus

Introduction to archaeobotany

Revision of plant anatomy, and different classes of plant remains

Plant preservation and taphonomy, sampling, and recovery techniques

Plant domestication,

  • Detection of wild and domesticated forms in arachaeological assemblages, morphological and genetic changes
  • Cultivation of plants in the Old World

Palaeoeconomy including production and consumption sites

Environmental and climatic reconstructions

Integrating different classes of archaeobotanical data

Plant macrofossils and microfossils: Seeds, grasses, leaves, wood and charcoal, fruit, starch grains, pollen

Quantification of plant remains, basic descriptive statistics, and presentation of results

Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

Coursework & Continuous Assessment
70 %
End of Semester / Year Formal Exam
30 %

Coursework Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Continuous Assessment Lab book Continuous Assessment UNKNOWN 50 % OnGoing 2,3,5,6,7
2 Continuous Assessment Continuous Assessment UNKNOWN 20 % OnGoing 1,2,4,5,6,7

End of Semester / Year Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Final Exam Final Exam UNKNOWN 30 % End of Term 1,2,4,6

Full Time Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Lecture Science Laboratory Lecture - Archaeology Lab 1.5 Weekly 1.50
Laboratory Practical Science Laboratory Practical - Archaeology Lab 1.5 Weekly 1.50
Independent Learning UNKNOWN Self study 4 Weekly 4.00
Total Full Time Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 3.00 Hours

Module Resources

Non ISBN Literary Resources

Dincauze, D.F.  (2000) Environmental Archaeology: Principles And Practice Cambridge, Cambridge University Press

Evans J and O'Connor T. (1999) Environmental Archaeology Principles and Methods.  Stroud, Sutton

Lowe J.J. and Walker MJC (1997) Reconstructing Quaternary Environments.  Harlow, Prentice-Hall

Murphy, E.M. and Whitehouse, N.J. (2007). Environmental Archaeology in Ireland. Oxford, Oxbow

Mitchell, F. and Ryan, M. (1998). Reading the Irish Landscape. Dublin, Townhouse

Roberts, N.  (2009)  The Holocene: An Environmental History.  Oxford, Blackwell

Renfrew, C. and Bahn, P. (2012) Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practise.  London, Thames and Hudson

Other Resources


Additional Information

Timetable as a 3 hour block in the archaeology lab (theory and practical) to maximise interactive mode of delivery of theory and practical, to allow access to reference materials and to allow variation in the proportion of each to meet the overall whole.