Methodology of the Archaeological Research(SSD L-ANT/10)

(48 hours, 6 ECTS, second semester) - a.y. 2020/2021

Prof.ssa Gloria Olcese (

Università degli Studi di Milano

Degree programmes:
Science and Technology for Studying and Preserving the Cultural Heritage and Information Storage Media (Classe L-43)-enrolled from 2011/2012 academic year

Learning objectives: to introduce the activities of the archaeological research, with a particular focus on the modern methods of investigation related to excavation, archaeological survey and the study of the ancient production. Attention is also given to underwater archeology and to the cargoes of the wrecks of the Mediterranean, whose study allows us to reconstruct the history of ancient trades.

Expected learning outcomes: the course is designed to provide students with the necessary tools for the study of archaeological contexts, of the on land and underwater finds, and to elaborate and to interpret the data through archaeological and archaeometric methods.

Program: the course will provide an introduction to a wide range of basic themes of archaeological field research including excavation, survey, finds, giving space to the scientific methods (archaeometry) and their application in the archaeological field (dating methods, prospection, determination of origin, technology).
The lectures include the presentation of ongoing archaeometric projects and databases realized within the Immensa Aequora project. If possible, the module will be integrated with practical classes about stratigraphy and documentation/interpretation of archaeological data (Republican Villa of Dragoncello - Acilia - Ostia - Rome).

Teaching methods: lectures with the aid of PowerPoint presentations.
There will be practical lessons on ancient finds (description and classification of objects/finds).

Teaching resources:


1) C. Renfrew, P. Bahn, Archeologia: Teorie, Metodi, Pratica, Zanichelli Editori, Bologna 2006 (in particolare, i capitoli: 1, 2, 3, 4, 8 e 9).

2) Dizionario di Archeologia, (a cura di R. Francovich e D. Manacorda), Editori Laterza, Roma-Bari 2000

in particolare, le voci: Archeometria; Campionatura; Commercio (Archeologia del); Contesto; Cronologia; Cultura Materiale; Datazione; Determinazione d'origine; Diagnostica archeologica; Etnoarcheologia; Geoarcheologia; New Archaeology; Produzione (Archeologia della); Post-processuale (Archeologia); Ricognizione archeologica; Scavo archeologico; Scavo, pratica e documentazione; Seriazione; Sperimentale (archeologia); Subacquea (archeologia); Tecnologie produttive; Urbana (archeologia).

3) Uno a scelta tra:

- A. Guidi, I metodi della ricerca archeologica, Roma 2005 (in particolare, i capitoli 3 e 4)


- E. C. Harris, Principi di stratigrafia archeologica, Roma 1995 (le parti 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10 - da confermare - e le Appendici del volume).

4) R. Petriaggi, B. Davidde, Archeologia sott’acqua. Teoria e pratica, Roma 2007 (capitoli 1, 2, 6 e 7).


Per chi ha perso più di 3 lezioni o non ha frequentato del tutto è prevista l'integrazione del programma con:

- Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana (a cura di), Il mondo dell’archeologia: Storia, metodi, protagonisti, Roma 2002

in particolare, i capitoli: L’indagine sul campo (pp. 149-222); Le datazioni (pp. 266-292); Metodi matematici e statistici (pp. 310-326).


un volume a scelta tra:

- G. P. Brogiolo, Archeologia dell’edilizia storica, Como 1988.

- T. Mannoni, E. Giannichedda, Archeologia della produzione, Torino 1996.

- E. Giannichedda, Archeologia teorica, Roma 2002.

- M. Vidale, Che cos’è l’etnoarcheologia, Roma 2004.

- M. Jones, Cacciatori di molecole. L’archeologia alla ricerca del DNA antico, Roma 2005.

- P. E. McGovern, L’archeologo e l’uva, Roma 2005.

- S. Settis, Paesaggio, Costituzione, Cemento, Milano 2010.

- F. Cambi, Manuale di archeologia dei paesaggi, Roma 2011.

- E. Farinetti, I paesaggi in archeologia: analisi e interpretazione, Roma 2012.

Assessment methods and criteria: oral exam (marks are out of 30), with a preliminary written test.

Exams: to be decided.

Classes: to be decided.

Emergency remote teaching: If the health emergency continues, the lessons of Methodology of archaeological research will take place online. Students will find the information about lessons, program and bibliography on this site and on the Ariel teaching site.
If it is not possible to take the exam in presence, the exam will be conducted online.