Institute of Archaeology


Programme Structure for MSc in Archaeological Science: Technology and Materials

The MSc in Archaeological Science aims to bridge the gap between archaeology and the physical sciences integrating scientific techniques and the anthropology of technology.

Degree Co-ordinator: Miljana Radivojevic

Other Major Contributors: Mike Charlton and Patrick Quinn

This degree aims to bridge the gap between archaeology and the physical sciences by integrating both a detailed training in the use of scientific techniques for the analysis of inorganic archaeological materials and a solid background in the anthropology of technology. By the end of the degree, students should have a good understanding of the foundations of the most established analytical techniques, practical experience in their application and data processing, as well as the ability to design research projects that employ instrumental analyses to address archaeological questions.

Degree Handbook


This degree comprises a core module, several option modules, and a dissertation, each of which is described in greater detail below. Teaching for this degree is primarily by lectures, seminars, practical demonstrations and laboratory work.

  • A popular aspect of this degree is its extensive use of information technologies. Registered students are given access to a virtual learning environment through Moodle, where they can download PowerPoint presentations and hundreds of publications relevant to the core and optional courses, together with access to discussion groups and other online resources and learning activities.

Core Modules

Students all follow one core module:

Option Modules

You are then able to choose further option modules to the value of 75 credits. At least 15 credits must be made up from the following: 

At least 30 credits must be made up from the list below of option modules recommended for this degree programme. 

The other 30 credits can be chosen from the list above or from amongst an outstanding range of other Masters modules offered at the UCL Institute of Archaeology (subject to availability and resources). Please note that some core courses are normally only available to those enrolled for the degree in question and so if you wish to take a core module from another degree as an option certain restrictions may apply. Please consult the relevant course co-ordinator before making your options choice. Please note not all modules are available every year.


(90 credits) - The dissertation (15,000 words) is produced as a result of an individual research project undertaken during the course, building upon the Core Course and often on a specialisation chosen from the options. The dissertation may be written on any approved topic relevant to the degree. Students are assigned a Supervisor to guide them through the main stages of the work. Hands-on analytical work using the Institute's own facilities is encouraged.

The following are some examples of publications that started as research for MSc dissertations:

  • Alipour, R., Gleba, M. and Rehren, Th. 2011: Textile templates for ceramic crucibles in early Islamic Akhsiket, Uzbekistan. Archaeological Textiles Newsletter 53, 15-27
  • Amicone, S., Quinn, P.S. 2015. Verulamium Region White Ware production at the Roman kiln site of Brockley Hill, Middlesex: a compositional and technological reassessment. Journal of Roman Pottery Studies, 16, 1-22
  • Asderaki, E. & Rehren, Th. 2002: A study of Hellenistic gilding practice and manufacture of funerary wreaths. iams 22, 19-21.
  • Blakelock, E., Martinón-Torres, M., Veldhuijzen, X., Young, T. 2009. Slag inclusions in iron objects and the quest for provenance: an experiment and a case study. Journal of Archaeological Science, 36 (8), 1745-1757.
  • Curry, A. and Rehren, Th. 2016: The church windows from Reykholt. In: G. Sveinbjarnardottir, Reykholt - the Church Excavations, University of Iceland Press, Reykjavik, 214-223.
  • Fillery-Travis, R. 2012. Multidisciplinary analysis of Roman horse-and-rider brooches from Bosworth. In I. Schrüfer-Kolb (ed.), More than just numbers? The role of science in Roman archaeology. Journal of Roman Archaeology supplement 91, 135-162.
  • Iles, L., Martinon-Torres, M. 2009. Pastoralist iron production on the Laikipia Plateau, Kenya: wider implications for archaeometallurgical studies. Journal of Archaeological Science, 36 (10), 2314-2326.
  • Jeffrey, D. and Rehren, Th. 2012: Investigating social change in 12th-13th century Novgorod using slag inclusions. In: M. Brisbane, N. Makarov and E. Nosov (eds), The Archaeology of Medieval Novgorod in Context, 195-209. Oxbow Books, ISNB 978-1-84217-278-0.
  • Lankton, J., Dussubieux, L. and Rehren, Th. 2008: A study of mid-first millennium CE southeast Asian specialized glass beadmaking traditions. In: E. Bacus, I. Glover and P. Sharrock (eds), Interpreting Southeast Asia's Past, 335-356.
  • Liu Siran, Rehren, Th., Pernicka, E. and Hausleiter, A. 2015: Copper processing in the oases of northwest Arabia: technology, alloys and provenance. Journal of Archaeological Science 53, 492-503.
  • Martinon-Torres, M. & Rehren, Th. 2002 Agricola and Zwickau: theory and practice of Renaissance brass production in SE Germany. Historical Metallurgy 36, 95-111
  • Merkel, S. & Rehren, Th. 2007: Parting layers, ash trays and Ramesside glassmaking: an experimental study. In: E. Pusch & Th. Rehren, Rubinglass für den Pharao, 201-221.
  • Meyerdirks, U., Rehren, Th. & Harvey, A. 2004: Reconstructing the Early Medieval copper smelting at Ross Island. In: W. O'Brien (ed), Ross Island. Mining, Metal and Society in Early Ireland. Bronze Age Studies 6, National University of Ireland, Galway, 651-664.
  • Müller, R., Rehren, Th. & Rovira, S. 2004: Almizaraque and the early copper metallurgy of southeast Spain: new data. Madrider Mitteilungen 45, 33-56.
  • Murillo-Barroso, M., Pryce, T.O., Bellina, B., Martinon-Torres, M. 2010. Khao Sam Kaeo - an archaeometallurgical crossroads for trans-asiatic technological traditions. Journal of Archaeological Science, 37 (7), 1761-1772.
  • Plaza, M.T., Martinón-Torres, M. 2015. Metallurgical traditions under Inka rule: A technological study of metals and technical ceramics from the Aconcagua Valley, Central Chile. Journal of Archaeological Science, 54 86-98.