MA in Artefact Studies


Co-ordinator: Ulrike Sommer

This Masters degree programme provides training in the study and interpretation of artefacts from archaeological sites and museum collections. The course is suitable for students interested in a career as finds specialists, curators or for those going on to do a materials based PhD. The course will be largely taught using the staff, equipment and the extensive collections at the UCL Institute of Archaeology, but good use will also be made of the expertise and collections of a number of other museums and professional archaeological units.

Students will be introduced to the skills of finds specialists. We will focus on the practicalities of working with artefacts and assemblages and cover the sequence from excavation to cleaning, labeling, documenting, cataloging and finally publishing and archiving artefacts. A lot of the lectures contain practicals. The course also includes practical exercises in the assessment of finds-assemblages. We will also discuss practical issues in the professional study of artefacts and major theoretical debates about the collection, interpretation, reporting and curation of archaeological materials. A central concern will be the integration of finds analysis within wider archaeological research questions.

In the third term students will normally undertake a placement within a museum or an archaeological unit where experience will be gained in the practice of finds analysis and body of material studied for the dissertation. By the end of the course students should have an appreciation of the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches to artefact studies and will be able to undertake the analysis and reporting of an artefact assemblage.

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