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Scientific Dating in Archaeology and Heritage Management, 3 ECTS credits

Do you work as an archaeologist or with cultural heritage management and want to know which scientific methods can be used to determine the age of different materials? In this course you will learn about commonly used dating methods, what they can be used for, how you take samples and how to plan a dating strategy for an excavation.

In this course you will learn how to apply scientific dating methods in archaeology and cultural heritage management. The course will give you an overview of dating methods that are commonly used in these contexts, focusing on radiocarbon dating, luminescence dating, dendrochronology and pollen analysis. You will get an insight into the basic physical principles behind these methods and learn when and where they can, or cannot, be applied. Through seminars and project work you will practice interpreting and discussing dating results and related data, and learn how to plan a dating program for an excavation or other investigation.

This is a distance-learning course but with the possibility of a day in the field with practical training in sampling.

olika dateringsmetoder
Upper row: Subsampling for radiocarbon dating. Log from building for dendrochronological dating. Photo: A. Hood, J. Edvardsson. Lower row: Core for pollen analysis. Sampling for luminescence dating. Photo: H. Alexanderson.

General information

This is an elective course at basic level, suitable for archaeology students, geoarchaeology students, as well as practioners in the archaeology and cultural heritage sector. The course is taught at 25% pace during the first half of the spring term, distance-based education (one day in Lund).


Period: Spring semester, first part (15 January - 10 March)
Admission requirements: Minimum 60 credits in archaeology, geoarchaeology or other higher education of relevance for practical work in the archaeology and cultural heritage sector or equivalent skills acquired through multiannual work, and English 6/B.


Student Counsellor

Karl Ljung
studievagledare [at] geol [dot] lu [dot] se (studievagledare[at]geol[dot]lu[dot]se)

Course coordinator