This course is discontinued

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Course content

This course will focus on providing a general understanding of lithic technology. The rudiments of technology will be presented. You will learn to identify humanly struck material from natural pieces, as well as to recognize various material types. You will also receive instruction regarding the essential attributes of flakes, blades, knapping debris, cores and various tool types. Furthermore, you will learn how lithic specimens were manufactured, how they break and why we find an abundance of certain categories of waste on Stone Age sites.

All general lectures will be supplemented by weekly laboratory work. In the labs. prepared bags of selected materials and accompanying work sheets will be distributed. There you will put into operation what you have learned. These meetings will be highly informal and a lively discussion of the selected pieces is encouraged. Lab time is not a test. It is a way to learn more about lithics and to find out that no question is a foolish one. IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT YOU ATTEND BOTH THE GENERAL LECTURES AND THE WEEKLY LAB.

Learning outcome

The course aims at developing a general understanding of the most important aspects of understanding lithic technology. The French method, the chaînes opératoire, will form the basis for this teaching. Having completed this course you should anticipate that you can work on a lithic collection from any of the stone using periods anywhere in the world and draw sensible and defendable conclusions as to production and aspects of manufacture of that collection.


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.

The course is available to all students accepted to the master program in archaeology.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

No obligatory prerequisites beyond the minimum requirements for entrance to higher education in Norway.


6 lectures 6 practical laboratory assignments based on the lectures.

The students have to submit 6 practical assignments during the course (obligatory). Each assignment shall be subject to the approval of the subject teacher and needs to 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.


Each student writes an independent essay on a related topic with a limit of 5 pages of 2300 keystrokes (space not included). The course is evaluated with pass/fail.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. Read more about the grading system.

Students can ask for an explanation of the grade. This must be done within a week after the grade was made known to the student. To obtain the explanation, send an e-mail to It is up to the sensor whether the explanation will be given orally or in writing. The student's e-mail must contain information of an e-mail address and a telephone number he or she can be reached on.

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





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