ARK4130 – From the Bronze Age to the Vikings and Beyond. Archaeological Analysis of Past Technology

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The course provides a general understanding of metal and ceramic technology and seeks to relate manufacture and use of artefacts to their relevant social contexts in the Bronze Age, the Iron Age and the Medieval Period in the Nordic region.

Combined with insights from ethnography and ethnoarchaeology in various parts of the world, you will learn how items of bronze, iron and clay were manufactured and used, and gain insight into the artefacts’ find context on sites from the Bronze Age, the Iron Age and the Medieval Period.

The course has a prominent practical component where the theory form the lectures will be put into practice in the Laboratory work.

In the laboratories prepared bags of selected materials and accompanying work sheets will be distributed. These weekly meetings are informal and a lively discussion of the selected material, the technology and its social links is encouraged.

Learning outcome

You will:

  • Learn the most important aspects of metal and ceramic technology. Through the use of the chaîne opératoire approach and seeing objects as having biographies, you will be able to recognize main stages of production and to identify types of raw material used in the manufacture of artefacts.
  • Learn how to relate the use of objects to their social context. You will develop a thorough understanding of the various stages in metal and ceramic technology and the specific technology’s place within the wider society.
  • Obtain the relevant skills to scientifically study museum collections of bronze, iron and clay objects from the Bronze Age, the Iron Age and the Medieval Period in the Nordic region.
  • Be able to draw valid conclusions about production and the wider social aspects of manufacture and use of objects.
  • Acquire a high level of practical skills in discerning different forms of materials and techniques for making and using particular objects, and be able to convert into writing a report on the practical results of laboratory group work


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.

Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.

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


There will be 9 lectures and 5 practical laboratory assignments (based on 5 of the lectures).

It is compulsory to attend all the lab sessions and at least 5 of the general lectures. Any absence from compulsory activity must be documented and applied for. This is how you apply for a valid absence from compulsory activities/compulsory attendance: Absence from compulsory Activity/attendance


The students have to submit 5 practical assignments, based of the lab sessions, during the course. All assignments must be approved before the students submit their final essay.

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 final examination is an independent essay on a related topic

  • The length of your paper should be approximately 5 pages. We consider a standard page to be 2300 characters without spacing.
  • It is recommended to use as much of the syllabus as possible in the essay.
  • Do not write your name in your exam (term paper). Use your candidate number. It is a four digit number which you will find next to your exam registration in StudentWeb. You are given a unique candidate number for each exam.
  • The paper should have a front page stating your candidate number, the course code and name, and the semester and year.
  • The front page, bibliography and footnotes are not included in the page count.
  • Please remember to insert page numbers.
  • The students are responsible for their upload. Unreadable or unfinished documents will be graded thereafter.

Submit assignments in Inspera

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

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 spring


Every spring

Teaching language