This course is discontinued

MAS4302 – Historical landscapes

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The course will deal with different Nordic landscape types, with a special focus on cultural landscapes which contain elements from prehistoric and early historic times.
The basic structure of landscapes will be presented, together with their geology, topography, and an evaluation of what properties are relevant for human occupation and exploitation.
The course will focus on the cultural furnishing of landscapes, and how they are used within a diversity of social and cultural contexts. There will be a special focus on sustainable resource exploitation, and on how traditional communities have responded to climate change and shifting sociopolitical regimes.
Another aspect will be that of the symbolic landscapes. Traditional landscapes contain both functional and spiritual elements, such as graves, assembly sites and sacrificial places. A method of visual landscape analysis (based in landscape architectural methods) will be introduced. The course is based in landscape archaeology, but will have an inter-disciplinary profile. Scandinavian and North Atlantic landscape will be used as examples.

Learning outcome

Students will have an inter-disciplinary understanding of prehistoric and early historic landscapes in the Northern World. They will know about basic geological structures (bed-rock, deposits, hydrology), and they are expected to know the basic methods for landscape analysis, including visual analysis. They are expected to know the basic literature, and to know enough to make use of landscape based information from several disciplines in their own research and thesis writing.


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.


Recommended previous knowledge

The course is particularly relevant to students with a background in archaeology, history or human ecology, but it may also be taken by students with different backgrounds.
The literature in the reading list is in English. Students with a command of Scandinavian languages may use subsidiary Scandinavian literature when required.

Overlapping courses

10 credits against MAS2302 - Historical landscapes


8 double lectures and 3 exercises / seminars. In order to qualify for the exam, students are required to participate in at least one qualifying exercise.

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.


During the semester the students are required to participate in at least one qualifying exercise. The exam will consist of a 10-page essay (approx. 2300 characters per page) on a personally selected topic, designed in co-operation with the teacher.

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

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


This course can be taken in connection with the Master's Degree Program in Nordic Viking and Medieval Culture

Facts about this course







Teaching language