Aarhus University Seal

PhD course Isotopes in Archaeology

The PhD course 'Isotopes in Archaeology' took place over two days in May at AU Campus Moesgård and was hosted by Centre for Urban Network Evolutions (UrbNet).

Written by PhD students Kirstine Haase, Hanna Dahlström and Neeke Hammers

Eleven participants from universities in Denmark, Germany, and Italy took part in the course, which consisted of ten lectures given by seven specialists within different fields of isotope research. Lectures were given by specialists from Aarhus University as well as two speakers from Cambridge University and the University of Kiel. The framework for the course created an open and intimate atmosphere where all could participate and contribute to the discussion. The format helped support this environment with a mix of lectures, exercises, and workshops, making everyone very active during the whole course.

A reading list was distributed prior to the course, and each participant had to submit a case study beforehand. The case study was both a starting point for the exercises but also made sure that the lecturers knew the level of knowledge and aims of the course for each participating PhD student.

The course was focused on two themes: 1) Diet and environment and 2) Sourcing and time. The first day of the course focused on isotope studies on humans, animals, plants and soils, whereas the focus during the second day was mainly on material culture (metals, glass and ceramics). Following the lectures, we had short discussion sessions revolving around the case studies sent in by the participants, and on the second day, there were interactive workshops covering the main themes taught over the preceding two days.

The international background of the PhD students as well as the specialists ensured a high-quality learning environment and created a good debate climate, since different research traditions and backgrounds were represented. 


A joint dinner was also part of the official program which gave the participants a chance to talk and network on a more informal basis.