Master of Science by Coursework in Archaeological Science

Differences from 2016/17 to 2023/24

  • 1. WithinThe the Division of Social Sciences, the courseprogramme shall be administeredunder bythe supervision of the Graduate Studies Committee of the School of Archaeology. The regulations made are as follows:

  • 2.  Each candidate will be Candidates for admission must applyrequired to the School of Archaeology.

  • 3. Candidates must follow a course of instruction in Archaeological Science for at least three terms andfull-time.  

  • 3. forCandidates awill substantialcomplete parttwo of the following three subsequent vacationsmodules, aseach determinedassessed by the course timetable.

  • 4. The written examination shallin consistearly ofTrinity term:

    • (ai) Principles and practice of scientific dating

    • (ii) threeBio-archaeology
    • (iii) papersMaterials onanalysis and the syllabus described in the Schedule, to be taken as written examinations in the second weekstudy of Trinitytechnological Term, and

  • 4. Candidates will complete either: 

    • (ba)  oneOne pre-set essay as set out in the Course Handbook of  no more than 108,000 words, the subject and length of which must be approved by the examiners before the end of Michaelmas Full Term. Two copies of the essay must be delivered to the Examination Schools by noon on the MondayTuesday of firstweek week0 of Trinity Term.term Essays must be printed, must bearAND the candidate'sthird module listed in clause 3, assessed by written examination number but not his or her name, and must include a statement of the number of words. Any illustrations must be included in bothearly copies.

      Trinity term;
    • (cb) in lieu of one of the three papers described in the Schedule, candidates may, with the permission of the School of Archaeology's Graduate Studies Committee, take one of the options from the M.St in Archaeology or M.St in Classical Archaeology (Schedule B only). Candidates taking such an option would be examined on oneOne pre-set essay as set out in the Course Handbook of approximatelyno more than 4,000 words by noon on Tuesday of week 0 of Trinity term AND submit two pre-set essays (each of no more than 5,000 words) as set out in the Course Handbook, by noon on Tuesday of week 0 of Trinity term on either: 

      • (i) a module offered and available from List B in any subject stream of the MSc in Archaeology, or
      • (ii) a module offered and available from Schedule C of the MSt in Classical Archaeology.
  • 5.  Candidates will complete a dissertation of no more than 16,000 words on a topic inagreed Archaeologicalwith Sciencetheir insupervisor. lieuThe dissertation must be submitted by noon on the first Tuesday of the requirements laid out in b) aboveSeptember.

  • 5. Each candidate will be required to submit a dissertation of no more than 20,000 words, (excluding bibliography and/or catalogues), on a research area selected in consultation with the supervisor and approved by a person designated for this purpose by the Chair of Examiners for Archaeological Science.

  • 6. ThreeAll typewrittenessays copies ofand the dissertation must be sent,submitted notusing laterthe thanUniveristy noonapproved online submission system. Technical information on the Fridayrequirements fourfor weeksonline andsubmissions twois daysprovided beforein the startCourse of the following Michaelmas Term, to the MHandbook.Sc. Examiners (Archaeological Science), c/o Examination Schools, High Street, Oxford. The examiners will retain one copy of the dissertation of each candidate for the departmental library.

  • 7. The examiners may require to see the records of practical work carried out during the course.

  • 8. Candidates must present themselves for an oral examination  if required by the examiners. This may be on one of the candidate's written papers, or dissertation, or both.

  • 9.  The examiners may award a distinction for excellence in the whole examination.

  • 10. In the case of failure in just one part of the examination (written papers, extended essay(s), dissertation), the candidate will be permitted to retake that part of the examination on one further occasion, not later than one year after the initial attempt. Written papers would be retaken the following year. Pass or failure in the written papers will be taken as an average of all written papers and in the case of failure all written papers must be retaken. If the candidate passes all parts of the examination except the dissertation, the dissertation may be considered as a practical report as defined in the schedule for the M.St and, if of a sufficiently high standard, the candidate may be granted permission to supplicate for the degree of M.St.

  • Schedule

    • (i) Principles and practice of scientific dating

      The principles of scientific dating methods including radiocarbon, luminescence, uranium series and dendro-chronology. The practical aspects of these methods and the problems encountered in their application. The statistical analysis of chronological information in the study of archaeological sites and cultures.

    • (ii) Bio-archaeology

      Scientific methods for the study of biological remains from archaeological sites; introduction to the analysis of plant and faunal remains including indicators of disease and artefactual analysis; theoretical and practical aspects of quantitative methods for diet reconstruction by isotopic analysis; introduction to ancient DNA studies; residue analysis.

    • (iii) Materials analysis and the study of technological change

      Introduction to the history of technology; theoretical and practical aspects of materials analysis methods—SEM, microprobe, TIMS, ICP, ICP-MS, XRF, XRD, PIXE, FTIR, and NAA; application of analysis to different material types—stone, ceramics, vitreous materials and metals; provenance of raw materials; case studies of application to archaeological problems.