29916 - Methodology of Archaeological Research (1) (LM)

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Federica Boschi

  • Credits 6

  • SSD L-ANT/10

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Archaeology and Cultures of the Ancient World (cod. 8855)

  • Teaching resources on Virtuale

  • Course Timetable from Sep 18, 2023 to Oct 26, 2023


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

Quality education Sustainable cities Life on land Partnerships for the goals

Academic Year 2023/2024

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student delves into the methodological aspects of modern archaeological research, starting from the theoretical assumptions to the technical aspects in which it is articulated. He has adequate knowledge for a correct methodological approach in the setting up and implementation of an archaeological research project: from preliminary prospecting to stratigraphic excavation, from data collection to their classification, from interpretation to the communication of the results.

Course contents

The course offers a broad and articulated perspective on the methodology of archaeological research, from excavation and documentation techniques, to the study and analysis of material finds, to methods of prospecting and territorial survey.

The programme retraces the main stages in the history of the discipline and presents the key concepts underlying modern archaeological research, as well as the methods of collecting, documenting and analysing archaeological traces and evidence in relation to the processes of formation, the conservation environment and the specificities of the context. Dedicated in-depth studies cover the methods, strategies and practice of fieldwork, stratigraphic excavation, reconnaissance and archaeological evaluation, with a focus on modern solutions for non-invasive investigation, documentation and interpretation of data. The theoretical and practical approach of archaeological analysis is also addressed through the discussion of case studies and examples applied to particular contexts.


Attending students, in addition to the course notes, are required to study the following texts for the preparation of the exam:

- C. Renfrew, P. Bahn. L’essenziale di archeologia. Teoria, Metodi, Pratiche. Zanichelli 2016.

- S. Pallecchi. Archeologia delle tracce. Carocci 2008.

- F. Cambi. Archeologia dei paesaggi antichi: fonti e diagnostica. Carocci 2003.


For non-attending students the preparation of the exam requires the study of the following texts:

- C. Renfrew, P. Bahn. L’essenziale di archeologia. Teoria, Metodi, Pratiche. Zanichelli 2016.

- D. Manacorda. Lezioni di Archeologia. Laterza 2008.

- S. Pallecchi. Archeologia delle tracce. Carocci 2008.

- F. Cambi. Archeologia dei paesaggi antichi: fonti e diagnostica. Carocci 2003.


Foreign students who are not sufficiently familiar with Italian are required to study the following texts:

- C. Renfrew, P. Bahn. Archaeology. Theory, methods and practice. Thames & Hudson 2016.

- M.O.H. Carver. Archaeological Investigation. Routledge 2009.

- A chosen article published in the e-journal Antiquity(https://antiquity.ac.uk/open).


Further bibliographical references

For everyone, the following texts are also suggested, for any optional in-depth analysis:

- M.O.H. Carver. Archaeological Investigation. Routledge 2009.

- M.O.H. Carver. Making Archaeology Happen. Design versus Dogma. Routledge 2011.

- R. Francovich, D. Manacorda (a.c.). Dizionario di archeologia. Temi, concetti e metodi. Laterza 2000.

- P. Carafa. Storie dai contesti. Metodologia e procedure della ricerca archeologica. Mondadori 2021.

- C. Renfrew, P. Bahn. Archeologia. Teoria, Metodi e Pratica. Zanichelli 2018.

- A. Carandini. Storie dalla terra. Manuale di scavo archeologico. Einaudi 2010.

- A. Augenti. A come Archeologia. Carocci 2018.

- M. Vidale. Archeologia. Teorie, metodi, strumenti. Carocci 2022.

- E. Giorgi (a.c.). Groma. In profondità senza scavare. Bradypus 2009.

- T. Mannoni, E. Giannichedda. Archeologia della produzione. Einaudi 2003.

- E. Giannichedda. Uomini e cose. Appunti di archeologia. Edipuglia 2006.

- E. Giannichedda. Archeologia Teorica. Carocci 2002.

Teaching methods

The teaching is held in face-to-face lessons, the attendance of which is highly recommended. In-depth seminars are planned with the involvement of experts on specific topics among those scheduled.
The lessons include the use of support teaching material (in particular power points and videos), aimed at facilitating learning and stimulating interest, within which further bibliographical suggestions will be provided, with attention to the most current research and the most up-to-date international scientific journals.

Assessment methods

The verification consists of an oral test, during which knowledge of the contents dealt with during the course, manuals and texts indicated in the bibliography will be evaluated.
In particular, the exam includes three general questions on the sections in which the course is articulated, up to more detailed details on specific aspects of the subject.
The overall assessment, and the final grade, will take into account:

- In-depth knowledge of the contents, ability to synthesize and critical analysis of themes and concepts;
- Ability to know how to orient oneself in the bibliography of reference and that suggested in the lesson;
- Use of appropriate language and exhibition mastery;
- Active participation in lectures, seminars and moments of discussion.

Knowledge gaps and/or inappropriate language will be evaluated negatively.

Teaching tools

During the lessons there will be constant use of specially constructed power point presentations specifically dedicated to the topics covered. Video and internet resources will also be used. At the end of the lesson, support material will be made available to students on the Online Teaching platform Virtuale.

Office hours

See the website of Federica Boschi