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Archaeology (BSc)

  • F402

3 years (Full-time) / n/a (Part-time) / n/a (Distance / E-Learning)

Archaeology is the science of investigation. It addresses the 'big questions' about the human past over the huge periods of time for which there are no written records, so that the forensic skills of the archaeologist are to the fore, as well as combining written records with material evidence in the investigation of historical periods.

The Archaeology degree schemes at Cardiff are noted for their geographical and chronological breadth and the range of student choice they offer. They focus on the British Isles, Europe, Egypt and the eastern Mediterranean (visit the Cardiff School of History, Archaeology and Religion website for more information about studying Egyptian Archaeology ). As a student at Cardiff, one of the highly respected Russell group universities, you will learn with staff who undertake cutting-edge research on archaeology and history as well as developing innovative techniques in forensics, dating, and osteology. You will be studying in a vibrant and exciting capital city with the university campus at its heart but close to some of the richest archaeological landscapes and monuments in Britain.

Archaeology

Image: Cardiff students learning archaeological survey techniques at Saqqara, Egypt.

You will benefit from the Department of Archaeology & Conservation's facilities including state of the art teaching and research laboratories, dedicated geophysical and surveying equipment and a range of sophisticated equipment for the analysis of artefacts and biological materials. During the summer after each of your first two years, you will also complete a four-week placement on an excavation in Britain or abroad or within one of our partner heritage organisations (e.g. the National Museum of Wales); this lets you experience the excitement of archaeological discovery at first hand. Placements are arranged, approved, funded and assessed by the department, so that in this way, unlike some other institutions, your excavation performance counts toward your degree result.

The Cardiff degree provides a level of training, skill and knowledge that is respected within professional archaeology and will serve you well when applying for postgraduate study, for employment in archaeology and the heritage sector. Archaeology at Cardiff will also give you key transferrable skills for employment in a wide range of spheres outside of Archaeology, for example we focus on providing our students with the chance to work in schools, museums and community groups to enhance their communication skills in a number of innovative public engagement activities. Archaeology's diverse scientific and human skills make our graduates attractive to a wide range of employers.

Key Facts

UCAS Code F400
Duration 3 years
How to apply www.cardiff.ac.uk/howtoapply
Accreditation  
Typical places available The School admits 80 students each year to its undergraduate degree programmes
Typical applications received 280
Scholarships & Bursaries www.cardiff.ac.uk/scholarships
Fees www.cardiff.ac.uk/fees
Typical A-level offer ABB-BBC
Admissions Tutors Dr Alan Lane
Tel Number 029 2087 4259
Email address LaneA@cardiff.ac.uk
School website www.cardiff.ac.uk/share

The Bachelor of Science in Archaeology is a three-year degree which provides a level of training, skill and knowledge that is respected within professional archaeology and which serves students well when applying for postgraduate study, for employment in archaeology and the heritage sector, and for employment outside of the discipline.

Archaeology

Image: Cardiff students learning excavation techniques at Roman Caerleon, Wales.

Year One

In the first year of the BSc Archaeology degree, students study three subjects: a general introduction to the human past; a more detailed introduction to archaeological skills; and any other subject offered by the university which is timetable-compatible. Thus, in their first year, BSc Archaeology students take the following compulsory modules

  • British Prehistory
  • Archaeology of the Greek and Roman World
  • Post-Roman and Medieval Britain

You will choose from the optional modules below:

  • Human Origins, Complexity and Civilisation
  • Ancient Egypt
  • Environmental and Economic Archaeology
  • Archaeological Skills
  • Great Discoveries in Archaeology

You will take an additional 40 credits of modules from the School of History, Archaeology and Religion or from any other school or department of the university (scheduling/timetabling conflicts and entry requirements permitting). Year 1 Ancient History is a popular choice (though many other possible combinations exist) with two 20 credit modules:

  • Introduction to Ancient Greek History
  • Introduction to Roman History

As an Archaeology student, you will also complete a four-week placement on an excavation; placements are arranged, approved, funded and assessed by the department during the summer after the first year.

Archaeology Years 2 & 3

In the second and third years, students must complete 240 credits of modules of which 80 credits consist of core requirements. The remaining 160 credits come from a wide range of period, topic, or technique specific modules.

Core Bsc archaeology modules:

  • Drawing
  • An Independent Science Project
  • Archaeological Fieldwork
  • Archaeological Theory
  • Archaeological Science

The optional modules in Years Two and Three cover themes such as:

  • Forensic and Osteoarchaeology
  • Bioarchaeology
  • Environmental archaeology
  • Museum environments
  • Technology and Materials
  • Computing and Geographical Information Systems
  • Geophysics

and

  • Egyptian Archaeology
  • Specialist modules on Prehistoric Europe from the Palaeolithic to the Iron Age
  • The Greek and Roman worlds
  • Dark Age and Viking Britain
  • Crusader Archaeology

In Year Two, you will take the Independent Science Project module and in the third year you have the option of taking the Archaeology Science Dissertation module and in these modules you have the chance to follow your own special interests. During the summer after the second year, all students complete their second compulsory placement of excavation.

The School of History, Archaeology and Religion offers programmes that are exciting, cutting edge, research- led and in tune with demand. The School maintains a thoroughly student-orientated approach to the acquisition of knowledge and skills and offering the highest quality learning environment in which individuals can develop.

The School's programmes develop a range of important intellectual skills, including critical thinking, evaluating evidence, constructing arguments based on evidence, and presenting opinions effectively in writing and in debate. You will also gain valuable practical skills — for example, team-working, independent research and time management.

Archaeology

Image: Cardiff students learning techniques to study animal bones from archaeological sites.

Strong pastoral support within the School is supplemented by university-wide assistance in housing, finances and career development.

In studying archaeology at Cardiff, you will encounter new ways of looking, thinking and doing. You will examine evidence from a wide range of sources, such as bones, insects, potsherds and coins. You will develop your own arguments based upon your interpretation of the archaeological record. You will be able use a range of sophisticated surveying methods and, if you wish, you will have the opportunity to use advanced techniques of scientific analysis. You will excavate your first potsherd, stone tool or coin.

The study of the past requires a wide range of skills, and when you have completed your degree, you will take them with you. In your archaeology course you will work as part of a team in the field and in the laboratory; you will research ideas, form opinions and present them in your own terms; you will develop your writing to address a range of audiences; you will use a range of software programmes and develop a wide range of practical skills. These transferable skills will be of benefit in your future career, no matter what path you decide to take.

You will receive written and oral feedback from module tutors on your assessed course work. Each student is allocated with a personal tutor who you will meet with regularly throughout the year to discuss your personal development. Every member of staff has weekly office hours advertising when they are available for students to drop in for further support.

Both delivery of teaching and methods of assessment vary. Teaching is by lectures, seminars, practical/lab classes and field classes. Assessment is normally by a combination of coursework and exams; some modules are assessed entirely by coursework.

Typical A-level Offer  ABB-BBC
Typical WBQ Offer  Pass in the Core, with an BB at A-level
Typical Int Bacc Offer  28-36 points, including scores of 5/4 at Higher Level
Other Archaeology welcomes students with non-traditional qualifications and those with relevant practical experience. For our BSc Archaeology (F402) we will accept the Access to HE Diploma in Science or combined sciences, or the Access to Humanities route for admission sometimes subject to a successful interview. Please see more information about alternative entry requirements here

Please find here further information about admissions and selection criteria for this degree programme.

The School of History, Archaeology and Religion believes in giving its graduates the best opportunities to find employment. The study of the past requires a wide range of skills, and when you have completed your degree, you will take them with you. In your archaeology course you will work as part of a team in the field and in the laboratory; you will research ideas, form opinions and present them in your own terms; you will develop your writing to address a range of audiences; you will use a range of software programmes and develop a wide range of practical skills. These transferable skills will be of benefit in your future career, no matter what path you decide to take.

We believe that Archaeology students are particularly well placed to compete for employment as their degree involves a range of practical and academic skills which have a wide value beyond archaeology. These transferrable skills have permitted our graduates to find work in journalism, banking, finance, teaching and a wide range of other areas.

We organise interactive workshops with the Careers Service to help students identify their skills and attributes. Many of our graduates enter professions which make direct use of their academic expertise such as work in archives or museums. The majority, however, compete very successfully in a wide range of other fields.

In 2011, 62% of the School's graduates were in employment within six months of graduation while a further 29% were engaged in further study.

An archaeology degree represents a challenging, interesting and exciting way to prepare for the future.

Fieldwork is an integral part of all the Archaeology degrees at Cardiff, giving our students hands on experience in real field situations. The fieldwork programme has been designed to give students the widest range of field experiences linked to classroom-based teaching.

You will be out in the field with us within a few weeks of joining us, visiting some of the key sites in the locality which will help embed you in Cardiff, meet other students on your programme in informal surroundings, and meet some of your lecturers outside of the classroom.

Throughout Year 1 you will undertake various local day trips to sites like the Avebury stone circles, Caerleon Roman legionary fortress, Cirencester Roman and medieval town and Tintern Cistercian Abbey. You will learn how to read monuments and landscapes and evaluate the impact of modern heritage presentation on ancient monuments.

Between Year 1 and Year 2 all students undertake a four week excavation or fieldwork project. This will be on an excavation in Britain or abroad or within one of our partner heritage organisations (e.g. the National Museum of Wales); this lets you experience the excitement of archaeological discovery at first hand. Placements are arranged, approved, funded and assessed by the department, so that in this way, unlike some other institutions, your excavation performance counts toward your degree result. A second placement of four weeks takes place between Year 2 and Year 3.

Archaeology

Image: Cardiff students excavating a round house at Ham Hill. Image © Cambridge Archaeological Unit.

You will be engaged in the creation of new knowledge and the excitement of discovering the past. You will handle ancient artefacts and reveal ancient structures, perhaps handle the bones of our most ancient ancestors, or analyse the remains of ancient meals and rituals. Recent department projects have included the dramatic new discoveries at the Roman legionary fortress of Caerleon, excavation of Ham Hill the largest Iron Age hillfort in England, fieldwork on the Egyptian catacombs at Saqqara and Palaeolithic excavations in the Danube Gorges. Projects led by Cardiff staff or colleagues from elsewhere have taken place in Romania, Germany, Crete, South Uist, Orkney and North Wales.

Many of you will not have excavated before and you will be introduced to the techniques of excavation and recording so that by the end of your degree you will be familiar with the main processes of archaeological fieldwork. Whether you stay in archaeology, or take up employment elsewhere, your excavations and their team working and social dimensions will be one of your most memorable university experiences.

Next intake: September each year

School Contact

Name: Dr Alan Lane  

Telephone: +44 (0)29 2087 4259 

Fax: +44 (0)29 2087 4929 

Email: LaneA@cardiff.ac.uk  

School Website: www.cardiff.ac.uk/share

More information

School of History, Archaeology and Religion