Archaeology isn’t just about digging up old bones; it is the study of human activity and lifestyle through the recovery of material data. The discipline refers to the preservation of historical resources, translating the information it provides us with to offer us an overview of our history, as well as including the discovery of vital historical information.
Through the advancement of technology, it is becoming increasingly elementary to discover new information about our past, the cultures that live before us, which makes archaeology an ever-changing and fast-moving industry to become a member of.
Archaeology is very much the physical process of historical enquiry, as opposed to History and Ancient History, which are often concerned with literary resources more than the physical remains of cultures and societies such as skeletons, pottery, jewellery and ruins.
Archaeology is offered as a Bachelor’s of Arts (BA) and a Bachelor’s of Science (BSc) degree, although in general, a BSc will have more strict entry requirements than a BA. Therefore, students who wish to study a BA in Archaeology will find that they will need slightly lower A-level requirements for admission, some universities will require an admission interview or will expect students to complete an admission test. Universities will be interested in A-levels in History, Chemistry or Geography for entry; however, students are recommended to check with their university or degree course for precise entry requirements.
For those who are looking to develop their knowledge of archaeology, there are many different study options available. Even though students Archaeology sector after graduation, most candidates choose to learn about the subject by studying it directly at university. Archaeology degrees tend to be three years in length, although some institutions offer a four-year course that includes a sandwich year/ placement year (Learn more – What if my course has placement).
Universities offer BA Archaeology, BSc Archaeology and BA Bioarchaeology for students. If students are stuck on what they want to study at university, Archaeology is also available as a joint honours degree, offering candidates to study two different areas.
Students will learn through attending lectures, seminars and tutorials and learn outside the classroom through visiting museums, excavation sites and heritage sites on a regular basis. Degree courses vary between institutions, and the nature of field trips will differ depending on the location of the university, and the key sites surrounding them, which is why choosing the right university and course is vital.
Students should consider location significantly during their decision on what universities to apply for, as certain institutions will have valuable heritage sites near them, using the interactive UK university map can help finding the best location. Some universities also offer trips abroad to other excavation sites, and research will showcase what universities have on offer – studying abroad is available and common with this course.
Students will be assessed through examinations, coursework, and research projects. Students will conduct lab work, and then write reports regarding on their findings and work. At certain universities, they recommend students to take up work experience during the summer which can aid their studies and practical excavation skills and assessments.
Undergraduate degrees usually include a dissertation or research project which usually takes place in their final year.
The majority of Archaeology courses should teach candidates the essential skills required to analyse and preserve data, as well as offering students a general knowledge and understanding of history.
Archaeology also offers studies in connecting areas such as Greek History and Philosophy to expand young minds. This degree also introduces students to a world of ideas and critical thinking that can be applied to all areas of life.
University offers students a chance to gain valuable life skills that can be implemented after graduation, from time management to organisation skills. Students will learn how to work towards a deadline, as well as vital social skills which can be learned through presentations and group work.
Archaeology is perfect for those who are naturally inquisitive and a passion for history, as well as enjoy working outdoors. This degree will provide students with an in-depth knowledge of archaeological practices, as well as an insight into past cultures and societies.
The degree will be a combination of discovery, detective work and analysis, and depending on where students decide to study; there will be an option to specialise in specific areas that appeal to personal interest, from Ancient Egypt to The Americas and Greek History.
The degree also offers unique historical experiences and provides students with a personal interaction with the past. Within a discipline such as a history where scholarly work is valued, archaeology offers a hands-on approach.
There are a number of career opportunities available for graduates with an archaeology degree. Many students pursue careers that let them use the core knowledge they learned during studying or on excavation sites, such as cultural heritage sites, or working within archives or museums as curators.
Different archaeological degrees offer theoretical and practical excavation skills for students, which can provide the pathway to their career options once graduating. This type of degree can lead students to teach, or practical work through heritage and cultural sites.
Archaeology also aids students in gaining skills within teamwork and leadership which they will learn through fieldwork excursions, as well as computing skills, communication skills and the ability to work with attention to detail.
Archaeology students are innovating, interesting and hard working individuals which employers will value. There are career paths into heritage and environmental agencies, however, there are many different career sectors where graduates can find potential employment.
Graduates can use their writing and analytical skills that they acquired throughout the course to find work within the arts sector as Writers and Journalists, or within the Business sector and working within Marketing and PR departments. There are also options of working as government officers, archaeologists and working in development but within an Archaeological capacity.
Although students who can’t get enough of learning can continue with their studies and there are many fantastic post-graduate options for studios graduates. Students can study a Master’s degree, and even a PhD eventually if it is worth their while. Usually on offer; Ma Archaeology, MSc Archaeology, MPhil Archaeology and PhD Archaeology.
Students can also study vocational courses in Law, or Teaching to enter into different areas of employment.
House’s Hugh Laurie, who is also best buds with Stephen Fry studied Archaeology and Anthropology at University of Cambridge, but could only manage to obtain a 3rd. Also, our own Prince Charles also studied Anthropology and Archaeology and received a 2:2!
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