HNAK0104EU Theory and Method in Near Eastern Archaeology

Volume 2024/2025

Fagstudieordning Kandidatuddannelserne i nærorientalsk arkæologi, assyriologi og ægyptologi, 2019

Fagstudieordning Kandidattilvalg i assyriologi, nærorientalsk arkæologi, ægyptologi, 2019


The course deals with the important theoretical approaches and methods developed in archaeology and related topics. The theories will be studied by reading relevant texts and discussing their use in archaeology. The methods (e.g. statistics) are practised in class.

The course starts with an overview of evolutionism, cultural particularism, diffusionism etc., but concentrates in the following on the 20th/21st cent. approaches such as ethnoarchaeology, post-structuralism, agency, materiality etc. Topics will be between others economic and social explanations in archaeology, interpretations of figurines, typologies etc.

Learning Outcome

KA 2019-studieordning
Theory and Method in Archaeology (aktivitetskode HNAK03491E)

KA-Tilvalg 2019-studieordning
Theory and Method in Archeology (aktivitetskode HNAK13491E)

Exchange student BA
Theory and Method in Archeology (acitvity code HNAK13491E) 


Hodder, I. (2012).Archaeological theory today (2nd Edition). Polity; Meskell, L., & Preucel, R. W. (2008).A Companion to Social Archaeology. Blackwell;Harris, O. J. T., & Cipolla, C. N. (2017).Archaeological Theory in the New Millennium. Introducing current perspectives. Routledge; Crellin, R. J., Cipolla, C. N., Montgomery, L., Harris, O. J. T., & Moore, S. v. (2022). Archaeological Theory in Dialogue. Situating Relationality, Ontology, Posthumanism, and Indigenous Paradigms. Routledge.

These texts are the base for the entire course, more material follows through the semester. A reading list will be handed out at the beginning of the semester.

Ability to read English texts
Each class starts with a general introduction, followed by presentations of and discussions with the students. The students have to study different texts for each class and have to present several texts during the course.
Part of the course will allow students to practice archaeological methods such as typology, taphonomy etc.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 28
  • Preparation
  • 225
  • Practical exercises
  • 28
  • Project work
  • 56.5
  • Exam
  • 75
  • Total
  • 412.5
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
Type of assessment
Criteria for exam assesment
Type of assessment
Criteria for exam assesment

Academic targets

At the examination, the student can demonstrate:

Knowledge of:

the background and history of theoretical literature in archaeology and anthropology (evolutionism, determinism, etc.).

modern, up-to-date theoretical literature (such as concepts of agency and personhood).

archaeological methods.

Skills in

describing how modern theoretical literature is used to understand and interpret archaeological data.

explaining the purpose and function of theory in archaeology and its direct application to the analysis of archaeological data based on both a general and a specific approach.

using methods such as typology and ethnoarchaeology.


Competencies in

identifying and explaining theoretical approaches in the field of archaeology.

applying theoretical approaches to a specific, clearly defined archaeological topic.

analytical methodologies



The syllabus is 1,800-2,000 standard pages (which must be apparent from the paper’s bibliography), of which at least 600 pages must be from the joint syllabus specified by the teacher, comprising 1,600-2,000 standard pages.


Teaching and working methods

Students are expected to attend and actively participate in the instruction, including by making presentations.


Exam provisions

Form of exam: Take-home assignment, optional subject.

Scope: 21-25 standard pages.

Assessment: Internal exam with a single examiner with assessment based on the 7-point grading scale.

Regulations for group exams: The exam can only be taken individually.

Exam language(s): Danish or English.

Permitted exam aids: All.

Make-up exam/resit: Take-home assignment on an elective subject, 26-30 standard pages.

Special provisions: It is advisable that students have acquired knowledge, skills and expertise in the fields of archaeology and/or history.