Institute of Archaeology


Resources and Subsistence

The principal aims of this core course are to develop and understanding of theoretical debates and methodological issues in the archaeological study of subsistence, changes in subsistence and related human modification of environments. This course is intended to provide the theoretical grounding for practical projects in archaeozoology or archaeobotany examining subsistence, and consider the potential of geoarchaeological approaches to studying past subsistence systems.

Aims of the course

On successful completion of this course a student should:

  • have an overview of current debates about huntergathererssubsistence, agricultural origins, intensification and social and cultural aspects ofdiet, food preparation and consumption.
  • be familiar with a wide range of case studies and data sets, their problems and possible interpretations, in order to
  • to have adequate background in these issues to situate practical study or plant and/or animal assemblages from archaeology
  • be able to contribute constructively to knowledgebased debate on a range of current issues in past human resource use and major transitions in subsistence mode

    Learning Outcomes

    • Critical analysis of arguments
    • Understanding of technical archaeozoology and archaeobotany publications
    • Comprehension of technical jargon relevant to subsistence, domestication and intensification, and arguments made about these issues from archaeological datasets
    • Written and oral skills in analysis and presentation
    • Application of acquired knowledge to new situations
    • Verbal discussion skills

    Teaching Methods

    The course is taught through seminars and lectures. Each weekly meeting will be about 50% lecture and 50% seminar, i.e. student led discussion Seminars have weekly recommended readings, which students will be expected to have done, to be able fully to follow and actively to contribute to discussion.

    Course Information

    For registered students


    • Running in 2021-22