Archaeometallurgy (ARC2507)

StaffDr Gillian Juleff - Lecturer
Credit Value15
ECTS Value15
NQF Level2
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

The module will outline the discovery and development of metallurgy from the earliest use of native metals and the impact of metallurgy on cultural dynamics. Important technological developments in both ferrous and non-ferrous will be highlighted. The focus of the module will be on the metallurgical process – including ore mining, smelting, refining and object manufacture – and evidence for technological processes in the archaeological record. Practical exercises in assessing debris from early metalworking processes will be conducted and students will examine the microstructures of ancient metal artefacts.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Understand the role of metallurgy in cultural development in ancient and more recent history
  • 2. Understand the development of metallurgy from its origins in the Western Asia
  • 3. Know the technological processes of metal production
  • 4. Assess the types of datasets commonly encountered in archaeometallurgy
  • 5. Be aware of analytical and interpretative techniques for the assessment of archaeometallurgical evidence

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 6. Research a topic guided by a reading list
  • 7. Understand and critically evaluate archaeological information from a wide range of sources
  • 8. Organise information synthetically to address key thematic issues

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 9. Synthesise and share information with peers, giving and receiving constructive criticism
  • 10. Self-reflect on progress within a co-operative group environment
  • 11. Contribute to group tasks and assignments
  • 12. Develop competence in word processing and report presentation

Syllabus plan

1. Origins of metallurgy
2. The metallurgical process: ore to artefact 
3. Copper and bronze
4. Iron and steel
5. Ores and mining: techniques and archaeological evidence
6. Pioneering metallurgy: major events in the development of metallurgy
7. Metallurgy in the archaeological record: furnaces, smelting, crucibles, refining, forging and casting
8. Working histories: analysis of artefacts and waste (practical)
9. Experimental and ethno- metallurgy

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities20Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities5Seminars/demonstrations
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities2Level 2 essay tutorial
Guided independent study123Private study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Formative group assignments - preparation of revision notes on chosen topic for peer dissemination500 words x 39-10, 12verbal and peer discussion

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
written assignment from a choice of titles 402000 words1-8, 12written
quiz in class based on module content20one hour7-11mark
Exam401.5 hour1-4written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
written assignment from a choice of titles 2000 word essay1-8, 12Refered/deferred period
quiz in class based on module content1000 word essay7-11Refered/deferred period
examexam1-4Refered/deferred period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Indicative basic reading list:
Craddock, P.T., 1995. Early metal mining and production, Edinburgh University Press.
Craddock, P.T. and J. Lang (eds), 2003. Mining and Metal Production through the ages, The British Museum Press.
Hodges, H., 1989. Artifacts, Duckworth, London.
Tylecote, R.F., 1992. A history of metallurgy (2nd edition), The Insitute of Metals, London.
Tylecote, R.F., 1990. The prehistory of metallurgy in the British Isles, The Institute of Metals, London.

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module materials on ELE

Indicative learning resources - Other resources is the web page of the Historical Metallurgy Society and has useful links to other web sites. Journals
Historical Metallurgy
Journal of Archaeological Science

Available as distance learning?


Last revision date