Ceramics in Archaeology


Course Objective

Familiarizing students with various methods and techniques of ceramics
research, in relation to theory and practice of the study of production,
distribution and use of pottery in various societies of the
Mediterranean area, from the Neolithic till recent times (but with the
focus from the Bronze Age to the Roman period). On completion of the
module students will have acquired a series of analytical tools which
enables them to reflect critically on existing work, but also to use
ceramic research as part of their own archaeological work, in academia
or in field archaeology.

Course Content

Pottery is the material most frequently encountered in archaeology
research project. It helps dating, inspires thoughts about contacts
between areas, and is a starting point for reconstructing social
structures and/or their ideological frameworks. By looking at various
methods of pottery research (in some specific cases) and their
theoretical background, the ways pottery can be used in thinking about
aspects of production, distribution and use and meaning will be
explored, while at the same time insights and practical tools for hands
on study of the material will be taken into account. More specific
themes and methods to be treated include: typology, chronology and their
problems; techniques and social organization of pottery production and
their interconnection; the interaction between producers and consumers
of pottery; scientific and anthropological approaches to pottery. All
this will be placed in a more general background regarding social and
cultural theory on daily material culture and the interaction between
materials, objects and people, and the ways these can and cannot be used
in archaeology.

Teaching Methods


Method of Assessment

Performance in class discussions, also based on reading and reports (20%
of the grade);
presentations (30% of the grade); final essay (50% of the grade)


Weekly reading assignments,, which will be made available during the

Target Audience

Students admitted to one of the following Masters programmes can take
this course : Archaeology (all programmes) or Ancient Studies, Ancient
History. Students from other, related disciplines (history,
anthropology, heritage studies, art history, conservation and
restoration) may be admitted as well, depending on motivation and
background. Please contact the teacher if you want to follow this course
as an elective from outside ACASA.

Custom Course Registration

This module is taught at the UvA by prof.dr. V.V. Stissi (UvA subject code 140412156Y). Module registration with a UvaNetID at the UvA is required. Please note that course registration periods at the UvA and VU differ. For a ‘step-by-step guide to course and exam registration’ and the ‘dates for course and exam registration’ please consult the ‘course and exam registration’-page via the ‘A-Z list’ of your MA programme on http://student.uva.nl/en/.

General Information

Course Code L_AAMAARC006
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 400
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator prof. dr. V.V. Stissi
Teaching Staff prof. dr. V.V. Stissi

Practical Information

You cannot register for this course yourself; your faculty's education office carries out registration

Teaching Methods Seminar
Target audiences

This course is also available as: