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Investigate traces from the past and learn about the long-term history of people and environments. With expert knowledge of environmental archaeological methods, you can map prehistoric landscapes, climate change and understand past ways of life. Courses mix theory with practical exercises in the field and lab, and prepare you for a career as an archaeologist, environmental scientist, heritage guide or for laboratory or GIS oriented work.
During the degree programme you will build upon your existing knowledge of archaeology, Quaternary science, physical geography or related subjects. You will develop skills in methods for analysing environmental evidence in the form of plant and insect remains. You will also learn to read traces left in soils and sediments by studying their physical and chemical properties.
Environmental archaeology is about understanding how people have impacted on, and interacted with, environments. By studying organic and chemical remains or artefacts using methods from the natural sciences you can build a picture of the role humans have played in different ecosystems. Within the field we study long time perspectives, from the end of the Ice Age until historical times, and include farming as much as hunter gatherers.
When studying environmental archaeology, you mix theory with practice in the field and lab. You learn specialised methods to investigate questions such as what prehistoric people grew and ate, what the landscape looked like and how climate has changed. Teaching is mainly based around real problems, and during the programme you build up a toolbox of methods and skills for excavation, analysis, interpretation and presentation of archaeological and environmental data. You will work closely within a real life project and excavation environment.
During the first year of the programme, you will obtain a solid foundation in environmental archaeological field and lab methods, followed by more detailed theory and methods. In order to effectively map excavation sites, you will also learn Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for archaeology and environmental archaeology. The first year ends with an independent thesis (15ECTS), which allows you to apply for the degree of Magister.
During the second year, you may customize your degree according to your interests. If you choose a generalist profile, then you may take electives or traineeship for an entire term. If you choose a specialist profile, it is half a term of electives or traineeship followed by the Methodological specialisation course. The final term consists of a 30 ECTS Master's thesis.
Environmental archaeology, field and laboratory methodology. Environmental archaeology - advanced study in theory and methodology. Environmental archaeology - advanced study in theory and methodology II. GIS for environmental archaeology and archaeology. Magister thesis in environmental archaeology.
Optional/elective courses or internship/work placement. Master Thesis in Environmental Archaeology.
This degree prepares you for work as an archaeologist, environmental archaeologist, administrator or investigator at a heritage board, administrative organisation or museum. Other employment possibilities include those within landscape management and conservation, creating exhibitions, as a nature/heritage guide or museum curator.
The programme also prepares you for working with Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and various laboratory processes. Potential workplaces include administrative organisations, land survey agencies and forestry or conservation agencies. The degree is also highly appropriate for building a career in environmental archaeology, paleoecology, Quaternary science or similar research fields. You will also be eligible to apply for PhD studentships in archaeology, environmental archaeology and related subjects.
Watch the interview with Claudia Sciuto, PhD student in Environmental Archaeology at Umeå University.
During the degree you will develop your capacity for independent thinking and scientific writing – essential skills for moving on to a career in research. After having read the Master's degree in Environmental Archaeology, you will be eligible to apply for PhD positions in archaeology or environmental archaeology in Sweden and internationally.
No. Study takes place on campus in Umeå with scheduled lectures, laboratory practicals, field studies, examinations and compulsory modules.Close
The programme only has an autumn intake.Close
No, it is only offered as a two-year full time study programme.Close
Yes, evaluation of previous courses in ecology, Quaternary science, or equivalent, is performed on an individual basis. You may also be able to accredit points from other relevant subjects, after evaluation, as your second year elective courses.Close
Yes, after discussion with the director of the programme, and primarily during year two.Close
There is significant competition for jobs within archaeology and a Master's degree can give you a competitive advantage. It may also advisable to broaden your education during the degree by reading subjects such as pedagogy, anthropology, history or journalism to widen your range of skills.[PIB2] You should also be prepared to move within Sweden or internationally in order to increase your chances of finding a job that suits you.
Our Master's programme is held in high regard internationally and many of our previous students work or are researchers abroad, including the UK, Norway and Denmark. A Master's degree also makes you eligible to apply for PhD positions in archaeology or environmental archaeology in Sweden and internationally.