Fall 2020 - ARCH 285 D100

Archaeological Science (4)

Class Number: 8127

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo, We 10:30 AM – 12:20 PM

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 9, 2020
    10:30 PM – 10:30 PM
    TAKE HOME-EXAM, Burnaby

  • Instructor:

    Francesco Berna
    1 778 782-9674
    Office: EDB 9613
  • Prerequisites:

    One of ARCH 100, ARCH 201, BISC 101, CHEM 111, CHEM 121, EVSC 100, GEOG 111, PHYS 101 or PHYS 120.



Introduces scientific techniques used for archaeological investigations. Quantitative/Breadth-Science.


This course is intended to introduce students to the scientific approach and analytical techniques used in archaeological investigations. The study of ancient societies and human-environment interactions has been transformed in recent years by the application of physics, chemistry, biology, earth and materials sciences principles and the use of analytical techniques drawn from the natural sciences and engineering. Morphological and genetic studies of human and biological remains and chemical-physical analysis of the material culture provide new insights into past human knowledge, ideology, activities and the conditions in which ancient people lived.  Lectures will cover introductive concepts on scientific approach (e.g., hypothesis generation and evaluation), principles and applications of commonly used analytical techniques, and several case studies from different archaeological periods and regions. At the end of the course, students should be able to understand archaeological scientific literature and evaluate data critically.


  • Midterm I 20%
  • Midterm II 20%
  • Assignments (5) 35%
  • Final Exam 25%


Instruction will be remote and synchronous via Zoom.



Gilberto Artioli. 2010. Scientific Methods and Cultural Heritage. An Introduction to the Application of Materials Science to Archaeometry and Conservation Science. Oxford University Press.
ISBN: 978-0-1995-4826-2

Department Undergraduate Notes:

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need classroom or exam accommodations are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Students with Disabilities (1250 Maggie Benston Centre) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion.

Deferred grades will be given only on the basis of authenticated medical disability.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2020 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).