Graduate Program in Balkan and Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology

ARHM018. Archaeology in Practice. Bogdan Athanassov, Ivan Vassilev

4 weeks of fieldwork in archaeology or conservation,  150 hours, 15 credits


This course is the second field-work practice of the program and a continuation of the course ARHM012 ‘Archaeological Fieldwork’.


Students should choose one of the Balkan Heritage Foundation (BHF) field-schools projects announced on the foundation’s webpage (https://www.bhfieldschool.org/). Students are encouraged to go for a different field work project in order to enrich their scientific horizon and experience. If program participants choose the same project as in ARHM012, an individual program for advanced field and lab work will be created by faculty and dig directors. 




Lectures (20 hours)

 Number of hours


Introduction to the period and area of the project chosen (e.g. Neolithic in Southeast Europe, Bronze Age in the Eastern Mediterranean, Greek Colonization, Roman Empire etc.  



Special issues and case studies related with the project chosen



Previous research on the archaeological site chosen



Excavations Preparation. Preliminary Indoor Research. Excavation Completion. Post-excavation Work and Analyses



Basic Field Methods and Practices for Excavation and Documentation. Basic Principles of Finds’ Processing and Flotation of Soil Samples



Field Diary: Describing excavation process, features and their stratigraphic position and Archaeological Photography in the Field and in the Lab



Three-Dimensional Positioning of Finds, Features, Structures. Field Graphic Documentation: Scale Drawing of Vertical Profiles (Sections), Horizontal Situation (Plans) and Architectural Structures



Graphic and photo documentation of excavation trenches, stratigraphic sequence and contexts



Dating Methods in Archaeology



Formation processes of the archaeological record









Practical work (130 hours)






Lab work



Study visits








Essential readings:

Berggren, A. The relevance of stratigraphy. Archaeological Dialogues 16, 1, 2009, 22-25.

Bradley, R. The Excavation Report as a Literary Genre: Traditional Practice in Britain. World Archaeology 38, 4, 2006, 664-671.

Burke, H. and Cl. Smith. The Archaeologist's Field Handbook. Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest 2004.

Carver, M. Field archaeology. In: G. Barker (ed.) Companion Encyclopedia of Archaeology, Vol. 1, London et. al., 1999, 128-181.

Cobb, H. / O. J. T. Harris / C. Jones / Ph. Richardson (eds.) Reconsidering Archaeological Fieldwork. Exploring On-Site Relationships between Theory and Practice. Springer. New York et al. 2012.

Drewett, P. Field Archaeology. An Introduction. UCL Press, London 2001 (1999).

Gamble, C. Archaeology: The Basics. Rutledge, New York al. 2001.

Gosden, Chr. and Y. Marshall. The cultural biography of objects. World Archaeology, 31, 2, 1999, 169-178.

Grant J., S. Gorin and N. Fleming. The Archaeology Coursebook: an introduction to themes, sites, methods and skills. Routledge 2008.

Harris, E. C. Principles of Archaeological Stratigraphy. Academic Press, London 1979.

Hodder, I. Entangled: An Archaeology of the Relationships between Humans and Things. Wiley-Blackwell 2012.

Kopytoff, I. The cultural biography of things. Commoditization as process. In: Appadurai, A. (ed.) 1986, The Social Life of Things, Cambridge 1986, 61-94.

Lyman, L. R. and M. J. O' Brien. Measuring Time with Artifacts. A History of Methods in American Archaeology. University of Nebraska Press 2006.

Maca, A. L. Remembering the basics. Social and stratigraphic debates and biases. Archaeological Dialogues 16, 1, 2009, 31-38.

McAnany, P. and I. Hodder. Thinking about stratigraphic sequence in social terms. Archaeological Dialogues 16, 1, 2009, 1-22.

Paice, P. Extensions to the Harris Matrix System to Illustrate Stratigraphic Discussion of an Archaeological Site. Journal of Field Archaeology 18, 1991, 17-28.

Roskams, St. Excavation. Cambridge Univ. Press. 2001.

Schiffer, M. B. Formation Process of the Archaeological Record. Albuquerque, University of New Mexico Press 1987.

Skibo, J. M. and M. B. Schiffer. People and Thinks. A Behavioural Approach to Material Culture. Springer, New York 2008.

Walker, W. H. Stratigraphy and practical reason. American Anthropologist 104, 1, 2002, 159-177.

Yarrow, Th. Artifactual Persons: The Relational Capacities of Persons and Things in the Practice of Excavation. Norwegian Archaeological Review 36, 1, 2003, 65-73.