Logo UAB

Theoretical Trends in Archaeology

Code: 100725 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
2500241 Archaeology OB 3 2
The proposed teaching and assessment methodology that appear in the guide may be subject to changes as a result of the restrictions to face-to-face class attendance imposed by the health authorities.


Rafael Micó Pérez

Use of Languages

Principal working language:
spanish (spa)
Some groups entirely in English:
Some groups entirely in Catalan:
Some groups entirely in Spanish:


In order to provide students with basic training in concepts, theories and explanatory hypotheses about societies of the past that derive from archaeological research, students should have a basic formation in Prehistory and History in general terms, from Classics to Contemporary times.

Objectives and Contextualisation

- Searching, selecting and managing information autonomously, both from structured sources (databases, bibliographic lists, specialized publications), and from data available on the internet.

- To acquire skills for the critical analysis of archaeological texts, identifying and contextualizing historically the issues raised and the theoretical and methodological resources used in their resolution.

- To recognize and put into practice the following skills for teamwork: commitment, collaboration habit and ability to provide positive elements for solving problems.

- To discuss from the specialized knowledge acquired in an interdisciplinary context.


  • Developing critical thinking and reasoning and communicating them effectively both in your own and other languages.
  • Providing a context for the concepts of archaeological theory and its origin and distinguishing the main epistemological and methodological debates in social sciences.
  • Respecting the diversity and plurality of ideas, people and situations.
  • Students must be capable of applying their knowledge to their work or vocation in a professional way and they should have building arguments and problem resolution skills within their area of study.
  • Students must be capable of collecting and interpreting relevant data (usually within their area of study) in order to make statements that reflect social, scientific or ethic relevant issues.
  • Students must be capable of communicating information, ideas, problems and solutions to both specialised and non-specialised audiences.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Autonomously searching, selecting and processing information both from structured sources (databases, bibliographies, specialized magazines) and from across the network.
  2. Critically assessing the sources and theoretical models.
  3. Effectively expressing themselves and applying the argumentative and textual processes of formal and scientific texts.
  4. Identifying main and supporting ideas and expressing them with linguistic correctness.
  5. Identifying the recent interdisciplinary developments affecting the archaeology.
  6. Mastering the relevant languages to the necessary degree in the professional practice.
  7. Using specialized knowledge acquired in an interdisciplinary context when debating.
  8. Using suitable terminology when drawing up an academic text.
  9. Using the specific interpretational and technical vocabulary of the discipline.


The theoretical guidelines and the methodological structure of the archaeological discipline will be presented. Also, the historical development of Archaeology from its origins will be critically reviewed.

1. Archaeology and the Ancient World

2. Medieval, modern and enlightened paradigms.

3. Evolutionism, Diffusionism, Historical Particularism, and Functionalism.

4. The Historical-Cultural School: general principles.

5. The Historical-Cultural School and the chrono-cultural typologies.

6. The Processual Archaeology (‘New Archaeology’) and the building of a explicitly scientific Archaeology.

7. Postmodern thought and Postprocessual Archaeologies: critical perspectives and the interpretive vindication.

8. Historical Materialism and Archaeology: approaches from V. G. Childe to the present.

9. Emergent perspectives and approaches in Archaeology.


The subject consists of practical classes and seminars.

-In the theoretical sessions the central contents of the agenda will be taught, relating the different theoretical currents with their historical context and with the problems they seek to solve.

-In the seminars will carry out team work, focused on the analysis of theoretical proposals in the research practice of archaeology.

Annotation: Within the schedule set by the centre or degree programme, 15 minutes of one class will be reserved for students to evaluate their lecturers and their courses or modules through questionnaires.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Lectures 40 1.6 2, 5
Type: Supervised      
Seminars 20 0.8 2, 1, 7, 6, 3, 4, 9
Type: Autonomous      
Individual and team work and study 78 3.12 2, 1, 6, 5


The subject will be evaluated through individual and / or group essays, public presentations and written tests.

The evaluation system is organized into three modules, each of which will be assigned a specific weight in the final grade.

- Essays module: in this module the essays presented during the course will be evaluated.

- Public presentations and open debate module (seminar).

- Written tests module: this module is aimed at strenghthen the understanding of technical vocabulary and theoretical models, and it is restricted to the resit process.

To qualify for the resit, it will be required to have submitted to all evaluable activities and to have passed at least half of them (threshold grade: 4 points over 10).

In the event of a student committing any irregularity that may lead to a significant variation in the grade awarded to an assessment activity, the student will be given a zero for this activity, regardless of any disciplinary process that may take place. In the event of several irregularities in assessment activities of the same subject, the student will be given a zero as the final grade for this subject.

In the event that tests or exams cannot be taken onsite, they will be adapted to an online format made available through the UAB’s virtual tools (original weighting will be maintained). Homework, activities and class participation will be carried out through forums, wikis and/or discussion on Teams, etc. Lecturers will ensure that students are able to access these virtual tools, or will offer them feasible alternatives.

Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Essays presentation 50 0 0 2, 1, 6, 3, 8, 5, 4, 9
Exam 30 2 0.08 2, 3, 8, 5, 9
Oral presentation and discussion 20 10 0.4 7, 6, 3, 8, 4, 9



(the list of references could be expanded at the time of addressing specific issues).

Binford, L. R. (1962), “Archaeology as anthropology”, American Antiquity, 28: 217-225.

Binford, L. R. (1988), En busca del pasado. Descifrando el registro arqueológico. Crítica, Barcelona.

Castro, P.V., Gili, S., Lull, V., Micó, R., Rihuete, C., Risch, R. & Sanahuja, Mª E. (2001), “Teoría de la producción de la vida social. Un análisis de los mecanismos de explotación en el sudeste peninsular (ca. 3000-1550 cal ANE)”, Astigi Vetus, 1, pp. 13-54.

Childe, V. G. (1984), La evolución social. Alianza, Madrid.

Clarke, D. L. (1968), Analytical Archaeology. Methuen, London (trad. cast. Arqueología analítica. Bellaterra, Barcelona, 1984).

Courbin, P. (1982), Qu’est-ce que l’archéologie? Payot, París.

Daniel, G. (1986). Historia de la arqueología: de los anticuarios a V. Gordon Childe. Madrid.

Díaz-Andreu, M.; Mora, G.; Cortadella, J. (coord.) (2009). Diccionario histórico de la arqueología en España (siglos XV-XX). Madrid.

Gándara, M. (1981), “La vieja “Nueva Arqueología”, Boletín de Antropología Americana, 3: 7-70.

Gutiérrez Lloret, S., (1997). Arqueología. Introducción a la historia material del pasado. Alicante.

Hempel, C. (1987), Filosofía de la ciencia natural. Alianza, Madrid.

Hodder, I. (1988), Interpretación en arqueología. Corrientes actuales. Crítica, Barcelona.

Johnson, M. H. (2000), Teoría arqueològica. Una introducción. Ariel, Barcelona.

Johnson, M. H. (2006). “Archaeology and theoretical culture”. Archaeological Dialogues, 13: 167-182

Lambert-Karlovsky, C. (ed.) (1989). Archaeological thought in America. Cambridge.

Lull, V. (2005), “Marx, Producción, Sociedad y Arqueología”, Trabajos de Prehistoria, 62 (1), pp. 7-26.

Lull, V. (2007), Los objetos distinguidos. La arqueología como excusa. Bellaterra Ediciones. Barcelona.

Lull, V. (2017), “¿De qué se ocupa la arqueología?”, MARQ – Arqueología y Museos, 8, pp. 9-22.

Lull, V. & Micó, R. 1997, "Teoría arqueológica I. Los enfoques tradicionales: las arqueologías evolucionistas e histórico-culturales", Revista d'Arqueologia de Ponent, 7: 107-128.

Lull, V. & Micó, R. 1998, "Teoría arqueológica II. La arqueología procesual", Revista d'Arqueologia de Ponent, 8: 61-78.

Lull, V. & Micó, R. 2001, “Teoría arqueológica III. Las primeras arqueologías posprocesuales”, Revista d'Arqueologia de Ponent, 11-12: 21-41.

Micó, R. (2006), “Archivos, espejos o telescopios. Maneras de hacer en arqueología”, Complutum, 17, pp. 171-183.

Moro, O. (2007). Arqueología prehistórica e historia de la ciencia. Hacia una historia crítica de la arqueología. Barcelona.

Richard, N. (1992). L’invention de la préhistoire, Une anthologie. París.

Schnapp, A. (1993). La conquête du passé. Aux origines de l’archéologie. París.

Shanks, M. & Tilley, C. (1987), Re-constructing Archaeology. Theory and Practice. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Shanks, M. & Tilley, C. (1987), Social Theory and Archaeology. Polity Press, Cambridge.

Trigger, B. G. (1992). Historia del pensamiento arqueológico. Barcelona.

Watson, P. J., Leblanc, S. & Redman, Ch. L. (1974), El método científico en arqueología. Alianza, Madrid.

White, L. (1982), Lacienciade la Cultura. Un estudio del hombre y la civilización. Paidos, Barcelona.


No specialised software is required