Seminar in Archaeometry and Interpretation of Archaeological Materials


This course unit seeks to deepen the knowledge on the methodologies of archaeometric study of inorganic materials (ceramics, glass, lithics and metal), as well as the problems that their results provide for archaeological readings of the past, whether technological, social, economic, or ideological. The aim is also to study the various types of objects from a transversal temporal perspective (from prehistory to contemporary times), analysing and problematising not only issues related to their production, including ways of obtaining and processing raw materials and the technology of manufacture, but also their circulation in economic and social terms, their patterns of consumption and their aesthetic and symbolic meanings, framed in their respective historical and geographical contexts.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

José Carlos da Costa Quaresma


Weekly - 3

Total - 420

Teaching language





  • Adams, W.Y.; Adams, E.W., 1991, Archaeological typology and practical reality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press;
  • Brothwell, D.R.; A.M. Pollard (ed.), 2001, Handbook of archaeological sciences. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons;
  • DeMarrais, Elizabeth; Gosden, Chris; Renfrew, Colin (ed.), 2004, Rethinking materiality: the engagement of mind with the material world. Cambridge: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research;
  • Dobres, M.A.; Robb, J. (ed.), 2000, Agency in Archaeology. Londres: Routledge;
  • Hauptmann, A. (ed.), 2020, Archaeometallurgy – Materials Science Aspects. Springer;
  • López Varela, S. L. (ed.), 2018, The Encyclopedia of Archaeological Sciences. Wiley;
  • Martinón-Torres, M., Rehren, T. (ed.), 2009, Archaeology, History & Science. Walnut Creek, CA;
  • Orton, C.; Tyers, P.; Vince, A., 1987, Pottery in Archaeology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press;
  • Veld, B.; Druc, I. C., 1998, Archaeological ceramic materials. Origin and utilisation. Heidelberg: Springer.

Teaching method

Theoretical classes for deepening of theoretical and instrumental knowledge.
Applied laboratory practices, according to the study themes. Discussion of case studies.

Evaluation method

Assessment - Elaboration of a written work, with presentation and debate in class(100%)

Subject matter

  1. The multiplicity of theoretical and interpretative approaches to the study of archaeological materials;
  2. Methodologies: sampling, approaches and presentation of results; problems in the conservation, storage and analysis of data;
  3. Biographies of the objects: from production, use and disposal;
  4. Production: technology, chronology and agents;
  5. Agencies: interaction between subjects and objects;
  6. Diffusion and circulation: commercial contacts and exchanges;
  7. Functions, uses, representativeness and social interactions;
  8. Archaeological materials and the construction of identities;
  9. Case studies: from applied science to application in interpretation.