ARK2140 – The Archaeology of Migration and Mobility

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The course provides a comparative understanding of mobility and migration patterns in prehistory. The course will look into theoretical approaches that explore human adaptation towards changes in society related to migration or increased/decreased mobility. The course will be transdisciplinarily linked to subjects like anthropology, linguistics, genetics and geochemistry. From anthropological models the students will engage in the societal causes and causations of mobility and migration. Linguistics will be implemented as a tool to understand connections between languages and different forms of cultural movement, and novel approaches from the natural sciences like ancient DNA and isotope analysis will be explored to further contextualize physical mobility. The course will also implement a practical component where the theory from the lectures will be put into practice in laboratory work (in a broad sense). Here scientific approaches will be explored to get a source-critical perspective on how to frame and understand contact between and within cultural groups.

The course has a prominent practical component where the theory form the lectures will be explored in hands-on laboratory work. The laboratory sessions are divided into 5 topics, each focusing on analysis that can help bridge the gap between the theoretical framework presented in the lectures and the practical application of theory.

Learning outcome


  • Gain a broad understanding of archaeological approaches toward migration and mobility of past societies.
  • Gain introductory knowledge to key anthropological concepts and case studies of migration and mobility from around the world and over time.
  • Gain knowledge of laboratory practices in the study of migration and mobility patterns.


  • An ability to engage in cross-comparative analyses of social issues.
  • An ability to think source-critically about the interdisciplinarity of archaeology and the natural sciences.
  • An ability to apply novel scientific approaches towards the mobility patterns of past societies.

General competence:

  • Understand the connection between theoretical interpretation and applied methods that work with the mobility of humanity on a broad scale.
  • Understand the social and political causes and causations behind individual and large-scale movements.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap with ARK4140 – The Archaeology of Migration and Mobility


There will be 10 lectures and 5 practical laboratory assignments (based on 5 of the lectures). It is compulsory to attend the weekly labs. Any absence from compulsory activity must be documented and applied for. You can apply for a valid absence from compulsory activities/compulsory attendance here: Absence from compulsory activity/attendance


Students must submit one 3-page assignment related to the topics of the laboratory works. The assignment will be subject to the approval of the subject teacher and needs to be approved before the students submit their final essay. Students who do not submit their assignments will not be permitted to take the final exam.

Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


The exam will consist of an independent three-day home-exam on a given topic with a limit of 10 pages, 4500 words +/- 10% (not counting spaces).

In the exam, the students are expected to develop their argument from case studies and methods discussed in the course.

Hand-in procedures: The essay is only to be uploaded in Inspera. The file must be in pdf-format. The candidate number should be on every page as heading text. You will find your candidate number in Studentweb.

The student is responsible for uploading the document on time according to guidelines. Unreadable or unfinished documents will be graded thereafter for a reduced grade.

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit your assignment.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English.You may submit your response in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Every autumn


Every autumn

Teaching language