Archaeology is a unique discipline that bridges the sciences and the humanities to understand ancient societies and how the past can help us to meet the challenges of the present. During your BSc in Archaeology, you will develop your knowledge of the discipline of archaeology and learn how archaeologists use scientific evidence to interpret the past. You will study the entire span of human history – from the earliest period of human development to later prehistoric societies, from the rise of early civilisations and empires to the development of the modern world. Archaeology is an exciting subject where constant new discoveries are being made and new scientific techniques are being developed that change our understanding of past human societies. Year one is the same as the BA Archaeology course, and will provide you with a core training in archaeological methods and techniques. As you progress into the second and third years you can choose to specialise in archaeological modules with a strong scientific component, and you will develop the skills to undertake your own independent research.
It is compulsory for you to gain archaeological experience in the UK or overseas by participating in an approved excavation project or related work experience placement (20 days for Single Honours students, 10 days for Joint Honours students).
As well as the wide range of modules offered by the Department of Archaeology, each year you also have the option to take some subsidiary modules offered by other Departments such as Classics or History of Art, or to study a language.
Year one will lay the foundation of your study of archaeology with core modules in the principles and methods of archaeological investigation, as not many students have studied archaeology in depth before they come to university. You will be taught how we discover, excavate, record and analyse archaeological evidence ranging from landscapes to buildings and settlements to buried objects and organic remains. You will have training in the field in basic archaeological techniques and you will study the core principles of archaeological science. You will also be given an overview of the archaeology of the British Isles from early prehistory to the industrial revolution, and study key themes such as the archaeology of burials.
In the summer vacation you will complete at least part of your required fieldwork placement.
In year two you will study more advanced core modules in archaeological research and archaeological science, which will teach you the diverse ways in which we approach and interpret our evidence, and help you to create a research proposal for your third-year dissertation project. You will examine in depth different types of archaeological science and varied analytical techniques including environmental archaeology, osteoarchaeology and ancient materials analysis. and the ways in which we can use archaeological evidence to reconstruct past human diets, lifestyles, culture and technologies. You will also study heritage issues and the professional aspects of archaeology, which is essential for anyone who would like to go into a career in the heritage sector, and you will work in groups to create a heritage project based on a local site. You can also choose to study particular periods in more depth such as Roman or Anglo-Saxon archaeology, or specialised topics such as underwater archaeology.
Your final year gives you the chance to undertake your own research project on an original topic with an archaeological science focus, which you will write up as a dissertation with the support of a member of staff. Recent dissertations have covered a wide range of subjects, from Bronze Age metal working, to the use of stable isotopes in tracking ancient population movements and the archaeology of ancient Mediterranean shipwrecks. The rest of the year is taken up with a variety of modules of your own choosing from the wide range offered by the Department, which are based on the current research of members of staff. The Department offers modules covering many different aspects of archaeology from prehistory to the medieval period. and a wide range of modules in bioarchaeology and archaeological science.