93154 - Digital Archaeology (LM)

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will know the new digital techniques to investigate, document, analyze and publicize monuments, sites and archaeological landscapes. They will know how to use GIS and Web-GIS systems, integrating information sources and mapping techniques. They will appreciate the value of the systematization and computerized management of archaeological data, databases and interpreted restitution. They will know about the potential of digital applications for archaeological research, towards a three-dimensional documentation of contexts, serving also for dissemination purposes and public use. They will use digital techniques and tools appropriately in archaeology. They will be able to choose the most correct approach in relation to the case study or archaeological goal.

Course contents

Nota bene: Due to unforeseen circumstances, the course will be taught online for the first week (Nov. 9 - 11). Please email the professor to verify your registration and ensure that everyone will be admitted to the online platform. 

Week 1. Introduction to History and Theory of Digital Archaeology

This unit will cover the development of digital archaeology, how academics thought and think about digital applications to archaeology, and some of the earlier case studies and documents that defined the field. The unit will explore the importance of visualization in archaeology and how it is has expanded drastically in recent decades. Students will be introduced to contemporary trends in digital archaeology.

Week 2. 3D Modelling, Reconstruction, and Scanning

This unit will cover the major technologies in use in digital archaeology, including close range scanning, long range scanning, 3D modeling and virtual reconstructions. The unit will go more in depth into innovative uses of technology in archaeology and cultural heritage and current trends in the use of these technologies.

Week 3. Virtual Museums and Virtual Archaeological Practice

This unit will cover some of the effects that digital archaeology has on contemporary practice in the field of archaeology and cultural heritage studies, with a special focus on virtual museums. Having covered the production of 3D models and digital surrogates, the unit will cover some of their uses, such as Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and 3D printing/haptics. The unit will open up the discussion on major topics relating to these uses, including questions of accuracy, authenticity, and scientific transparency.

Week 4. Data Management, Metadata, and Paradata

This unit will examine the importance of data management, and include a discussion about the importance of metadata, paradata, and general issues in scientific transparency in archaeology. The unit will offer case studies and critical readings in data management, legacy data projects, and data longevity.

Week 5. GIS and Remote Sensing

This unit will introduce Geographic Information Systems as part of digital archaeological practice and its uses in managing cultural heritage. The unit will cover central themes of the theory inherent in the use of GIS and a general background of its development. The unit will especially focus on how digital archaeological techniques, all forms of remote sensing in some way, can be integrated into GIS, and how they influence archaeological practice.

Week 6. Critical Digital Archaeology

This unit will develop some of the critical themes in digital archaeology that were raised earlier in the course, such as digital colonialism, virtual repatriation, and the use-life of digital models. The unit will examine the ways in which digital archaeology can contribute to archaeological narratives, as well as critically examine the discourse around digital archeology and its contributions to archaeology more widely.

Teaching methods

This course will be delivered through direct lectures and classroom discussions on the readings and the concepts introduced in the course. Students will be expected to participate in discussions and ask questions during the lectures. 

When possible, visits to Museums and related University facilities will be integrated into the course structure. 

On several occasions researchers and specialists outside the university will contribute to the course to provide in depth and behind the scenes knowledge of a case study or topic.

Office hours

See the website of Stephan Noureddine Hassam