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MA Archaeology - Prehistoric Britain Pathway (MA)


Course Aims

The Prehistoric Britain pathway offers the opportunity to develop a critical understanding of the archaeological evidence for social development of British society in Prehistory from the agricultural colonisation of the early Neolithic, through the periods of ritual monument use in the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age and their transformation into the domesticated landscapes of the later Bronze Age. It culminates with an exploration of the regional diversification that occurred in the Iron Age and that the Romans encountered in the first century AD.

Course Description

The MA in Prehistoric Britain is designed to introduce students to the prehistory of Britain through a detailed examination of the archaeological record from Shetland to Cornwall and Kent. Cardiff has always been a centre for research into British Prehistory. In the past staff and students from Cardiff University were involved in the iconic excavation at Stonehenge and Silbury Hill. Current staff have been involved in excavations throughout the country including at Avebury, Maiden Castle, Cladh Hallan and Skara Brae and students are currently involved in excavations at Ham Hill in Somerset, the largest hillfort in Britain. Research themes in the recent past has included the chronology of early agricultural communities, the nature of monumentality in the first millennium BC, the domestic wild dichotomy and animal life ways and the spatial organisation of settlements.

As a result of our history of research in British Prehistory the library is well stocked and includes long runs of national, regional and local journals which are invaluable research tool for staff and students. Students are taught in small groups and are expected to contribute to seminar based learning by leading discussion and help with the organisation of conferences which occur on a regular basis.

The MA in Prehistoric Britain is an interdisciplinary degree which is suitable for students from a wide range of backgrounds.

Available Modules

 Students on the MA select a total of 180 credits of modules, consisting of:

  • 40 credits of core skills modules (Group 1)
  • 80 credits of option modules selected by the student (Group 2)
  • 60 credit dissertation (topic or theme chosen by the student in consultation with academic staff)

Core modules (Group 1):

  • Skills and Methods for Postgraduate Study
  • Postgraduate skills in Archaeology and Conservation

Option modules (Group 2):

  • Themes in the Neolithic
  • Britain and Ireland in the Neolithic
  • Later Prehistory of Britain
  • The Early Celts

Dissertation (Summer): After successful completion of the taught element of the degree scheme, students carry out research and write this up as a dissertation (maximum length 20,000 words). This presents an opportunity for further specialisation and allows students to demonstrate their command of research skills.

Special Features

  • Training in research methods and skills
  • Expert supervision of dissertation on Prehistoric Britain topics by research-active staff

Skills Acquired

In addition to helping students obtain a detailed and critical knowledge of their chosen area of Archaeology, the MA provides the opportunity to acquire and perfect valuable skills that are applicable to careers in many different fields. Often referred to as transferable or generic skills, these skills expand students' individual capabilities and make it easier for them to obtain employment and enter their careers with abilities that are widely considered essential for professional success.

Upon completion of the MA in Archaeology (and all other MA and MScs offered in Archaeology and Conservation at Cardiff), students will have acquired the following skills.

Intellectual skills, including the ability to critically evaluate evidence and its interpretation and to be tolerant of differing interpretations; to sustain a logical argument and reach a conclusion that can be defended; to synthesise and analyse information; to compare and contrast theoretical explanations and to integrate different methodologies.

Communication skills, including the ability to communicate orally in an appropriate professional medium; to make presentations both as an individual and as part of a group; to write effectively at an advanced level.

Numeracy skills, including the ability to display and present numerical data in appropriate formats; and to analyse numerical data and solve basic mathematical and statistical problems.

Information technology skills, including the ability to produce and calculate values using a spreadsheet; to produce and query databases; to use e-mail, the Internet and the World Wide Web; to find, manage and utilise information and data.

Personal skills, including the ability to manage workloads; to adapt and apply skills to new contexts; to assess and formulate priorities, constraints and goals and to adapt to changing circumstances.

Entry Requirements

1st or upper 2nd class UK Honours degree in an appropriate subject.

Suitable for graduates in Archaeology and related humanities and social science disciplines.

Students whose first language is not English will be required to pass an IELTS test (minimum 6.5) or equivalent.

Note: International students pursuing part-time programmes of study are not eligible for Tier 4 (General Student) visas and must have alternative leave to remain in the UK if they intend to study at the University in person.

Contact Information

Dr Steve Mills

Position:Lecturer in IT Applications
Dr Steve Mills
Telephone: +44 (0)29 208 75655Extension: 75655
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