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BA (Hons) Archaeology
BA (Hons) Archaeology

BA (Hons) Archaeology

  • ID:BU440020
  • Level:3-Year Bachelor's Degree
  • Duration:
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Admission Requirements

Entry Requirements

  • This course requires 104–120 UCAS tariff points including a minimum of 2 A-levels or equivalent. We are happy to consider a combination of qualifications and grades to meet the overall tariff, for example A-levels A*CC, ABC, BBB or BCC, BTECs DDM or DMM. You can use the UCAS calculator to see how your qualifications equate to UCAS tariff points.

English Requirements

  • If English is not your first language you'll need IELTS (Academic) 6.0 with minimum of 6.0 in either reading or writing and 5.5 in all other components or equivalent. 

Course Information

Why study BA (Hons) Archaeology at BU?

  • Take the degree as a BA or BSc according to whether you prefer an arts-based or scientific route. Everyone studies the same first year so it’s easy to transfer from one to the other 

  • Become a highly skilled practitioner experienced in all forms of landscape survey, remote sensing, excavation and recording 

  • Learn through expert-led lectures, seminars and an exciting range of relevant fieldwork opportunities all over the UK

  • Undertake a five-week or optional 30-week work placement, you may get to take part in excavations organised by our active team of archaeologists 

  • Attend BU’s Field School, a large-scale real site excavation where students have discovered significant finds that have changed the way we view the past

  • This course received an impressive 100% satisfaction rating from our final year students.

For September 2022 entry: In order to take advantage of new approaches to learning and teaching, as well as developments in industry to benefit our students we regularly review all of our courses. This course is currently going through this process and we will update this page in June 2022 to give you full information about what we will be offering once the review process has concluded.

UCAS Code: C786

More info: Click here

Year 1

Core units

  • Ancient People & Places: You will be introduced to the key thematic studies in archaeology concerning the evolution and development of ancient humans, changing technologies and material culture, and the organisation and development of past societies. You will be introduced to a range of archaeological, fossil, genetic and ethnographic evidence and develop core skills of analysis, interpretation, and reasoning using archaeological data.

  • Approaches to Archaeology: This unit aims to introduce you to key aspects of studying the past through the discipline of archaeology. Attention is focused on the history and development of the discipline from the sixteenth to twenty-first centuries; the principal current epistemologies and theoretical traditions; formation processes and methods of discovering archaeological sites and features; the main classes of evidence represented by artefacts and ecofacts, their characteristics, how they are studied by archaeologists, and the information they may provide; current traditions of archaeological endeavour; and the nature of key dimensions of the past including time, space, place, and society.

  • Study Skills: Fundamental skills for any scientist are the ability to work with a range of field and lab data. This unit will provide you with the knowledge to perform statistical analysis, create charts, graphs & maps, and write clear and concise reports using appropriate software packages.

  • Archaeological Practice: The knowledge and skills essential to the aspiring archaeologist practicing within the modern professional discipline of archaeology will be covered in this unit. It will also provide you with an understanding of the interconnectedness of data derived from field situations and that recovered from archived sources in an on-going analytical process of refinement and reinvestigation. Successful completion of the unit will enable you to understand the context of archaeological data, which will support and enhance aspects of structural, arte-factual and palaeo-environmental analysis delivered at all levels in the courses in which it lies.

  • Gathering Time: This is about the chronological framework that supports archaeological understanding and interpretation. You will be introduced to the concept of time, how it is measured and reckoned in current societies and how it has been understood by societies in the past. You will gain an understanding of current techniques in dating and what methods are appropriate for use with different archaeological materials.

  • Studying Ancient Materials: You will learn to handle a range of artefacts and other archaeological materials including ceramics, textiles, foodstuffs, glass, metals and building materials. You will be able to observe and record their characteristics and their importance to the interpretation of people and societies.

Year 2

Core units

  • Field & Research Skills: To ensure you gain a practical understanding of the aims, strategies and methods of fieldwork, you will participate in a fieldwork training project. During this, you will carry out practical tasks such as excavating, processing finds and samples. You will work in groups to solve problems, developing team skills and professional competencies.

  • Post-excavation Skills: Providing you with practical hands-on post-excavation skills, you will gain an understanding of the planning, management and documentation of post-excavation studies. Practical experience will also be obtained in one of a range of post-excavation specialist skills, focusing on the formulation of a post-excavation research archive, retrieval and analysis of data derived from excavation and field survey, and the preparation of specialist reports. You will also acquire an appreciation of key concepts and methodological approaches including: post-excavation recording and use of archaeological assemblages to address archaeological research questions; analytical approaches; classification systems and typologies; depositional and taphonomic processes; and relevant technical skills.

  • Themes in Archaeology & Anthropology: This unit will introduce you to the diversity of contemporary and past human cultures around the world, and to some of the methods anthropologists and archaeologists use to study these differences.

  • Societies of Prehistoric Europe: Keynote lectures are supported by discussion sessions to provide you with an introduction to the study of early farming societies in temperate Europe and the northern Mediterranean to provide a sound understanding of how these societies inhabited and manipulated their environment.

Option units (choose two):

  • Maritime Archaeology: This unit is focused on the development of maritime archaeological traditions and management regimes in the UK. You will be introduced to the archaeology of boats and ships from the past enabling you to understand the broad chronology of their development. The unit will be delivered through a combination of keynote lectures and seminars supported by a field-trip to a site relevant to the key elements (e.g. the Mary Rose, Chatham Historic Dockyard or the Cutty Sark).

  • Rome & Barbarian Europe: In this unit you will be taught primarily by illustrated lectures. The lecture programme will be delivered in two consecutive strands comprising the ‘Golden Age’ of the Roman Empire (1st – 3rd Centuries AD) and the Later Empire with its changing cultural reference points. Field visits will be made to British sites of significance to the periods under study, laying stress upon their importance to the historic environment. The unit provides a chronological and topographical framework within which you will develop an understanding of the history, archaeological impact, key sites, monuments, belief-systems, artistic expression, political complexity, fashions and environment of the Roman Empire from the 1st Century to the 7th Century AD in its wider European, African and Asian context. The complex interrelationship between the classical world and that of, so-called ‘barbarian’ (Celtic/Germanic/Scandinavian/Slavic) people of north and Eastern Europe will, in particular, be studied from the standpoint of history, archaeology and geography. Key to the unit will be the analysis and understanding of and cultural diversification and change.

  • Becoming Human: What makes us (as humans) unique? Where did our species come from? Starting from the divergence of the human lineage from that of other apes, this unit will demonstrate how a wide variety of different lines of evidence can inform the way in which we became human. You will learn how archaeologists and anthropologists interpret the fossil and archaeological evidence to understand the ways in which our ancestors and related species lived and how this changed over time. A key focus throughout will be on the relationship between the biological and social environments for evolution, and how the interaction between them influenced the evolution not only of our distinctive biological life histories, subsistence and foraging patterns but also our social life and culture, in the form of technology, material culture, language and symbolism.

  • Environmental Archaeology: The unit will provide an overview of the forms of environmental evidence encountered in the archaeological record, and the appropriate sampling strategies used to recover them. Examples of the interpretation of environmental evidence will be provided through archaeological case studies.

  • Geographic Information Systems: On completion of this unit, you will be able to select and plan GIS analysis using the appropriate software and manipulate the software for specific tasks. Emphasis is on data capture and analysis, and the presentation of data as cartographic maps.

Please note that option units require minimum numbers in order to run and may only be available on a semester by semester basis. They may also change from year to year.

Placement year

You may choose to complete an optional 30-week work placement which can be carried out anywhere in the world. The placement year offers a chance to gain experience and make contacts for the future.

Alternatively you can complete a short five-week placement and complete your course in three years.

Final year

Core units

  • Archaeological Management: This unit will cover the principles and practice of conservation and management of the historic environment in the UK, examining the professional environment, legislative background, and organisational context. You will also cover the principles of business planning and project developments, including the costing and tendering procedures associated with the professional delivery of contracting and consultancy work, and consider ethical, professional and health and safety issues. Working in groups, you will perform an assessment of the archaeological or historical potential of a given site, monument, building, or area, the threats posed to it, and options available to mitigate those threats, preparing you for professional employment in archaeological and conservation organisations.

  • Independent Research Project: The Independent Research Project provides you with an opportunity to gain experience of research in a topic of your choice relevant to your degree and to demonstrate your ability to report that research. Such experience is considered essential for those students interested in pursuing academic and/or professional research at a higher level of responsibility and achievement.

Option units (choose three):

  • Later Prehistoric Britain: By the end of this unit you will have a detailed critical understanding of the archaeology of the later Bronze Age and Iron Age Britain, broadly 1500BC-AD50, in Britain in its continental context. The unit will provide a broad knowledge of chronological and regional variations within later prehistoric Britain and also contribute to the knowledge and understanding of the development of archaeological theory.

  • The Science of Human Remains: Practical lab sessions will allow you to examine skeletal material of modern humans in archaeological and forensic contexts. You will examine the ways in which disease can inform health status in past societies and how disease, trauma and skeletal pathology can identify individuals in a forensic context.

  • Emergence & Extinction - Reconstructing Pliocene & Pleistocene Environments: Giving you an understanding of past and current theories surrounding the nature and effects of environmental change during the last 10 million years, various lines of evidence are considered including geomorphology, palynology, ice cores, fossil flora and fauna and genetics. The unit will include aspects of evolutionary theory and will consider theories relating both the emergence and extinction of species to wider environmental change. Consideration will also be given to differing approaches to understanding broad ecological changes and to competing hypotheses regarding both individual and mass extinctions.

  • Animals & Society: This unit aims to provide you with a detailed critical understanding of humans’ interactions with animals in Britain from the Palaeolithic through to the early Post-medieval period. These interactions include the exploitation of animals for meat and other products and how animals were incorporated into burial practices and other rituals.

  • Roman Britain: You will be provided with the opportunity to explore in detail the practical and theoretical problems associated with the study of the material culture and archaeology of a distinct geographical area. The unit seeks to provide you with a solid understanding of the importance of archaeological data in the understanding and interpretation of historical chronologies.

  • Sarup to Stonehenge - Neolithic & Chalcolithic of Northwest Europe: The archaeology of the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods, broadly 4000-2000BC, in the British Isles and the adjacent Continental coastlands from western France to southern Scandinavia is one of the most formative periods in the social and economic development of communities occupying northwest Europe, and includes both the transition from hunter-gatherer to farming cultures and the introduction of metallurgy. The unit will provide a broad and comparative knowledge of a selected chronological period for a selected geographical region and contribute to your knowledge and understanding of the origins and development of archaeology as a discipline. A field-visit will normally be made to allow the direct observation of a selection of field monuments we discuss. We expect you to visit a number of sites and museums during the course of the year, in order to broaden your overall experience of the Neolithic Period.

Please note that option units require minimum numbers in order to run and may only be available on a semester by semester basis. They may also change from year to year.

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Pre Courses

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Pathway Courses

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Career Opportunity

Career Opportunity

Our Archaeology degrees teach you the skills you need to work in the field, as well as a host of transferable skills that you can apply to a variety of roles in other sectors. Many of our graduates go on to work for organisations related to archaeology and historical preservation. 85% of our Archaeology students are in employment 15 months after graduating.

There is an increased demand for archaeologists and the profession has been placed on the government list of skilled occupation shortages.

Ability to settle

Overseas Student Health Cover

OSHC: 624 ($) GBP per year

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