UoA 17 Geography, Environmental Studies and Archaeology

Our researchers are skilled at solving archaeological problems in creative and innovative ways, bringing us closer to an understanding of human history and pre-history and shaping our understanding of the way we live today. With a GPA of 2.97, archaeology has a general UoA ranking of 32nd, and is ranked 12th among archaeology departments in the UK. A distinctive feature of this unit is that half of our research has been deemed as having ‘very considerable’ impact in terms of its reach and significance.

Quality level 4 3 2 1 UC
Overall 28.0% 44.0% 25.0% 3.0% 0.0%
Outputs 31.3% 39.5% 25.0% 4.2% 0.0%
Impact 40.0% 50.0% 10.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Environment 0.0% 50.0% 50.0% 0.0% 0.0%
About the REF

Archaeology and Conservation research at Cardiff University focuses on Europe and the Mediterranean world. Our staff are empowered to be innovative and encouraged to solve archaeological problems in a creative way that embraces the wider public.

Research projects are varied but include the Neolithic colonisation of the Balkans; the dietary importance of marine resources in Britain; the hillforts of Western Britain; human-animal relationships; the Roman occupation of Wales; and the preservation of heritage iron.

Research income has been secured from diverse organisations such as the EPSRC, the Egypt Exploration Society, the Leverhulme Trust, Historic Scotland and the Museum of London. A project to provide precise chronologies for the Neolithic in Europe was awarded a £2.1 million ERC Advanced Investigator grant.

The department has always considered fieldwork and data collection an important part of its role and recent fieldwork includes large-scale excavations of the hillfort at Ham Hill, Somerset and the Roman fort at Caerleon in South Wales. Other excavations have taken place in Serbia, Crete, the Isles of Scilly and Egypt.

Our team includes a dedicated illustrator/artist, a digital illustrator, photographer, laboratory manager and a professional conservator. Recent investment in conservation science has led to the purchase of state-of-the-art equipment.

Case studies

Protected hull of ss Great Britain

Saving heritage ironwork from the ravages of rust

Studying effective corrosion cures to help our museums preserve ironwork for posterity.

Groups

The principal periods and areas researched by the staff can be summarised under the following groups:

Research themes 

ThemeDetails
ChronologiesA major focus of attention has been the refinement of archaeological chronologies and a number of important monographs and papers have been published since the RAE 2008.
The built environmentResearch in the built environment is concerned with the understanding of domestic architecture and the social significance of monumentality.
Human and animal lifewaysResearch into human and animal lifeways focuses on two strands of evidence, bones and isotope analysis, which both provide insights into the social and physical aspects of individuals, animals and food.
Materials research (conservation, technology and agency)The scientific and theoretical study of artefacts is the main research interest of the materials research (conservation, technology and agency) group.
Fieldwork and data collectionThe department has always regarded fieldwork and data collection as a key aspect of archaeology and is committed to pioneering techniques of data analysis and collection that contribute to the development of the discipline.

Overall ranking

Pos. Institution GPA
1 University of Bristol A 3.33
2 Royal Holloway College and Bedford New College 3.26
2 University of Cambridge B 3.26

29 University of Exeter B 3.02
30 University of Southampton A 3.01
31 Swansea University 2.98
32 Cardiff University 2.97
33 The Open University 2.96
33 University of Hull 2.96
34 University of Manchester A 2.95

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