Archaeology and Ancient History (BA)

The integrated BA in Archaeology and Ancient History provides the ideal opportunity for students to combine traditional academic study with the development of practical skills.

The BA in Archaeology and Ancient History is an interdisciplinary programme that combines archaeological and historical approaches to the study of Europe and the Mediterranean from the fourth millennium BC to the eleventh century AD.  The main focus of the degree is the Greek and Roman world from the Aegean Bronze Age to the fall of the Roman Empire, but its scope extends from ancient Egypt to post-Roman Britain and the Byzantine Empire.

It aims to develop students’ knowledge and critical understanding of the political, social, economic and cultural structures of ancient societies, which were significantly different from modern industrialised societies, but have exercised a profound and continuous influence on the subsequent development of European and many other societies and cultures.

The programme offers a balance between modules covering specific historical periods, thematic modules that examine broad social and cultural topics, such as warfare, gender, religion, art and science, and modules that provide training in archaeological skills, methods and techniques. During the summer after the first and second years, you will complete a four-week archaeological fieldwork placement; placements are arranged, approved, funded and assessed by the School.

You will benefit from Archaeology & Conservation's facilities including bespoke teaching and research laboratories, dedicated geophysical and surveying equipment and a range of sophisticated equipment for the analysis of artefacts, including a scanning electron microscope.

The integrated honours BA Archaeology and Ancient History degree is designed to cultivate the skills of both the historian and the archaeologist, namely, the ability to assess evidence critically, to evaluate different interpretations of the evidence, to construct arguments on the basis of evidence, and to express opinions cogently in speech and in writing.

Distinctive features

The integrated honours BA Archaeology and Ancient History degree programme provides the training necessary for students who wish to study Ancient History or Archaeology at postgraduate level and a valuable range of intellectual and transferable skills for students who enter other professions.

Key facts

UCAS CodeVVC4
Next intakeSeptember 2016
Duration3 years
ModeFull time
Typical places availableThe School of History, Archaeology and Religion typically has 320 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe School of History, Archaeology and Religion typically receives 1800 applications.
Typical A level offerABB / BBB
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerGrade A in the Core, with a AB at A-level.
Typical International Baccalaureate offer32 points, including scores of 5/4 at Higher Level.
Other qualificationsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Detailed alternative entry requirements are available for this course
Admissions tutor(s)

This is a three-year degree programme of 360 credits, 120 credits in each year comprising core modules, which provide essential skills and training, and a wide variety of optional modules that allow you to tailor your degree to meet your interests. The course is structured so that you acquire in successive years the knowledge and skills required to become an independent researcher, equipped for high-level professional employment. 

Year one

The first year provides students with a focused introduction to Ancient Greek and Roman history; an introduction to the archaeology of Britain and of Mediterranean Societies; and initial training in the techniques and approaches that archaeologists employ.  

Year two

Years two and three are taught together as ‘Part Two’ and modules are offered in alternate years to ensure breadth of options.  Over the two years, students must complete 240 credits of modules, normally 120 credits each in Archaeology and Ancient History. 

You are required to undertake an independent study during year two and one further core module in Ancient History. An archaeology fieldwork project is a core Archaeology requirement of each year and takes place during the summer preceding that academic year (between years one and two and between years two and three).  This project is taught through four-weeks of student participation in archaeological excavations, field-surveys, museum curatorial projects or other post-excavation, laboratory-based activities.

Over the two years you will be required to take one pair of complementary modules in Ancient History and Archaeology where the same chronological period is covered for either Greek or Roman society. 

The optional 40-credit final year dissertation may be written on a topic that requires both archaeological and historical material or on a topic that uses historical or archaeological material alone.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Independent 2nd Year StudyHS433420 credits
Archaeology Fieldwork 2HS234310 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits
The History of Archaeological ThoughtHS235020 credits
Archaeological PhotographyHS240710 credits
Archaeological PhotographyHS241410 credits
Reading Latin 2HS332220 credits
Reading Greek 2HS332420 credits
Latin Historical TextsHS334310 credits
Latin Historical TextsHS334410 credits
Greek Historical TextsHS334610 credits
Reading Latin 1HS342120 credits
Reading Greek IHS342320 credits
Greek Historical TextsHS334510 credits
Museums Collections ManagementHS242120 credits
Archaeological IllustrationHS242910 credits
Archaeological IllustrationHS243010 credits
Pots, Poems and Pictures: Using Evidence for Ancient HistoryHS433620 credits
Surveying and ProspectionHS231410 credits
Complex Societies in Barbarian EuropeHS236510 credits
Egyptian Funerary ArchaeologyHS237620 credits
Technology and MaterialsHS240010 credits
Forensic and OsteoarchaeologyHS242320 credits
Roman BritainHS236220 credits
Art & Archaeology of Archaic GreeceHS238620 credits
Julian the ApostateHS330710 credits
Greek ValuesHS330910 credits
Gender & Sexuality in Greece and RomeHS336220 credits
Byzantium: The Golden Age, c. 850 - 1050HS332910 credits
Science and Technology in the Graeco-Roman WorldHS337310 credits
Ancient Persia: the Achaemenid Dynasty 559-331 BCEHS337820 credits
Conquest & Crisis: The Roman RepublicHS331630 credits
Rome and CarthageHS333320 credits
Myth and History in Ancient Greek CultureHS337520 credits
Early Rome: History and ArchaeologyHS436010 credits
Hellenistic Art and ArchitectureHS435610 credits
Art and Power in Rome, 211 BC - AD138HS436810 credits
Introduction to Computing for Archaeologists and Ancient HistoriansHS241610 credits
Computer Projects for Archaeologists and Ancient HistoriansHS241710 credits
The Roman ArmyHS436720 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits

Year three

Years two and three are taught together as ‘Part Two’ and modules are offered in alternate years to ensure breadth of options.  Over the two years, students must complete 240 credits of modules, normally 120 credits each in Archaeology and Ancient History. 

You are required to undertake an independent study during year two and one further core module in Ancient History. An archaeology fieldwork project is a core Archaeology requirement of each year and takes place during the summer preceding that academic year (between years one and two and between years two and three).  This project is taught through four-weeks of student participation in archaeological excavations, field-surveys, museum curatorial projects or other post-excavation, laboratory-based activities.

Over the two years you will be required to take one pair of complementary modules in Ancient History and Archaeology where the same chronological period is covered for either Greek or Roman society. 

The optional 40-credit final year dissertation may be written on a topic that requires both archaeological and historical material or on a topic that uses historical or archaeological material alone.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Archaeology Fieldwork 2HS234310 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits
Module titleModule codeCredits
Archaeological PhotographyHS240710 credits
Archaeological PhotographyHS241410 credits
Reading Latin 2HS332220 credits
Latin Historical TextsHS334310 credits
Latin Historical TextsHS334410 credits
Greek Historical TextsHS334610 credits
Reading Latin 1HS342120 credits
Reading Greek IHS342320 credits
Surveying and ProspectionHS231410 credits
Reading Greek 2HS332420 credits
Greek Historical TextsHS334510 credits
Researching the Ancient World: Final Year DissertationHS433540 credits
Museums Collections ManagementHS242120 credits
Archaeological IllustrationHS242910 credits
Archaeological IllustrationHS243010 credits
The History of Archaeological ThoughtHS235020 credits
Complex Societies in Barbarian EuropeHS236510 credits
Egyptian Funerary ArchaeologyHS237620 credits
Technology and MaterialsHS240010 credits
Forensic and OsteoarchaeologyHS242320 credits
Roman BritainHS236220 credits
Art & Archaeology of Archaic GreeceHS238620 credits
Julian the ApostateHS330710 credits
Greek ValuesHS330910 credits
Gender & Sexuality in Greece and RomeHS336220 credits
Byzantium: The Golden Age, c. 850 - 1050HS332910 credits
Science and Technology in the Graeco-Roman WorldHS337310 credits
Ancient Persia: the Achaemenid Dynasty 559-331 BCEHS337820 credits
Conquest & Crisis: The Roman RepublicHS331630 credits
Rome and CarthageHS333320 credits
Myth and History in Ancient Greek CultureHS337520 credits
Early Rome: History and ArchaeologyHS436010 credits
Hellenistic Art and ArchitectureHS435610 credits
Art and Power in Rome, 211 BC - AD138HS436810 credits
The Roman ArmyHS436720 credits
Introduction to Computing for Archaeologists and Ancient HistoriansHS241610 credits
Computer Projects for Archaeologists and Ancient HistoriansHS241710 credits
Pots, Poems and Pictures: Using Evidence for Ancient HistoryHS433620 credits
The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

How will I be taught?

The School of History, Archaeology and Religion enables you to develop in a high-quality learning environment, supported by a student-orientated approach to the acquisition of knowledge and skills.

Teaching methods include lectures, seminars, practicals, field trips, and one-to-one tutorials. You will also undertake independent study and research, with guidance from tutors.

Lectures provide an overview of the key concepts and frameworks for a topic, equipping you to carry out independent research for the seminars and to develop your own ideas.  Seminars provide an opportunity for you to explore the ideas outlined in the lecture in a small group environment.

Seminars usually consist of about 15 students and the seminar leader (a member of the teaching team). Seminars may take various formats, including plenary group discussion, small group work and student-led presentations. They offer a rewarding opportunity to engage critically with the key ideas and reading of a topic, and to explore areas of particular interest with an expert in the field.

Archaeological skills are promoted through a range of designed practicals and direct participation on fieldwork projects, including excavation, surveys, post-excavation programmes and curatorial projects in museums.

How will I be supported?

All modules make extensive use of Cardiff University’s Virtual Learning Environment, Learning Central, where you can access course materials and links to related reading and online resources. In addition to the main University libraries, you will have access to the Sheila White Library, which contains additional copies of books on Greek and Roman history and culture.

You will be assigned a Personal Tutor, who is able to advise you on academic and pastoral matters in a confidential and informal manner. Personal Tutors meet with you regularly to discuss progress and provide advice and guidance, and are available for consultation at other times as needed. Opportunities for you to reflect on your abilities and performance are made available through a structured programme of Personal Development Planning and through scheduled meetings with Personal Tutors.

How will I be assessed?

Modules are assessed by various methods, including coursework essays, written reports, source criticisms, critical reviews, examinations, class tests and oral presentations.

Coursework and examinations are used not only for assessment purposes but also as a means of developing your capacities to gather, organise, evaluate and deploy relevant information and ideas from a variety of sources in reasoned arguments.  Assessment, including coursework, exams, and oral presentations, will test the different skills you have learned. 

Progression is built into assessment, in that you will do smaller guided tasks in Year One, as well as formative essays in Years Two and Three. Progression is also evident in the growing emphasis on lengthier, independent work culminating in an optional 10,000-word dissertation in Year Three.  Final Year modules also demand deeper engagement with independent methods of working, together with greater demands on handling critically a larger number of bibliographical tasks and items.

The format of the assessed work for the second-year Independent Study is chosen by the student; possible formats include an extended essay, a piece of creative writing, sample pages from a book or magazine, a teachers’ pack, a film, or a reconstruction drawing or model.

Feedback:

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.

Students receive written feedback and a one-to-one tutorial on all their coursework assessments, and oral feedback on assessed presentations, seminar and practical work, and fieldwork. They also receive oral and written feedback from their supervisor on preparatory work and drafts for the Independent Study and Dissertation. Individual written feedback is provided for exams, as well as a general report on the performance of the class as a whole.

What skills will I practise and develop?

The BA Archaeology and Ancient History degree combines practical and research skills and encourages students to develop a range of discipline-specific skills that employer’s value. Students learn to assess critically a body of knowledge, to develop hypotheses, test them against qualitative and quantitative evidence, and present conclusions both in writing and orally. They learn to work both independently and as part of a team.

Students will acquire and develop a range of essential transferable and discipline-specific skills, including:

  • intellectual skills - such as critical thinking, reasoning, assimilating and summarising complex information and ideas, analysing and evaluating evidence, critiquing interpretations or arguments, coping with uncertain or incomplete data, constructing arguments based on evidence, and presenting them effectively in writing and in debate;
  • employability skills - such as effective communication through written reports and oral presentations, contributing to group discussions, working independently and in teams, using IT resources effectively, and time management;
  • enterprise skills - such as creativity (practised especially in the Independent Study project), problem-solving, initiative, and independent thinking;
  • research skills - (developed especially in the Independent Study and Dissertation): defining a project, formulating research questions, locating relevant information, and presenting the results in an oral presentation and an extended written report;
  • discipline-specific skills - analysing historical and archaeological problems, locating and using appropriate evidence and bibliographic resources, handling literary and archaeological material, analysing images, reading inscriptions, papyri and coins, and understanding the scholarly conventions used in relation to these types of evidence;
  • practical archaeological skills - such as fieldwork skills, illustration, photography, surveying, geophysics, GIS, dating, scientific analysis of artefacts, bones, soils and plant remains, museum practice and public outreach;
  • language skills - the programme offers an opportunity for students to study Latin and Greek at beginner’s and intermediate level, and to read texts in the original languages.

In 2013/14, 92% of the School’s graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduation.

We organise interactive workshops with the Careers Service to help students identify their skills and attributes. History graduates find work in a wide range of related and non-related professional employment. Some choose to undertake postgraduate study at Cardiff or elsewhere, and some have become internationally reputed historians.

Jobs

  • Archaeologist
  • Historian
  • Lecturer

UK and EU students 2016/17

EU students entering in 2016/17 will pay the same tuition fee as UK students for the duration of their course. Please be aware that fees may increase annually in line with inflation. No decisions regarding fees and loans for EU students starting in 2017/18 have been made yet. These will be determined as part of the UK's discussions on its membership of the EU and we will provide further details as soon as we can.

Tuition feeDepositNotes
£9,000None

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our Funding and fees section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Students from outside the EU 2016/17

Tuition fees for international students are fixed for the majority of three year undergraduate courses. This means the price you pay in year one will be the same in years two and three. Some courses are exempt, including four and five year programmes. Please check with us for full clarification.

Tuition feeDepositNotes
£14,500None

Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?

You will need suitable clothing (e.g. waterproofs and suitable footwear) and sometimes accommodation (e.g. tent and sleeping bag) for field trips and fieldwork.  The University has funds available for students experiencing financial difficulties in purchasing this equipment.

As per Cardiff University’s admissions policy.

We offer workplace experience to our students through our four-week, funded excavation, museum and heritage work placements at the end of the first and second year.

Students are also encouraged and financially supported to attend fieldwork placements abroad. Archaeology students are also encouraged to take advance of the Cardiff Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (CUROP) which provides summer placements for undergraduates in the University research environment. CUROP offers a stipend to support a student on a placement of up to eight weeks duration, working with supervision on staff-defined research projects.

There are also opportunities to work with heritage industry professionals (e.g. Cadw) as part of fieldwork placements or the Heritage Communication module and to gain further experience in working with the public of all ages via a range of initiatives (e.g. the Guerilla Archaeology outreach group, the CAER heritage project and the Share With Schools scheme). Finally, there are weekly research seminars with international guest speakers, a student Archaeology Society and a range of other events (e.g. conferences, Bushcraft weekends).

The Years Two and Three fieldwork projects are taken in the summer preceding those academic years.  The Fieldwork projects are taught through four weeks of student participation in archaeological excavations, field-surveys, museum curatorial projects or other post-excavation, laboratory-based activities.


Key Information Sets (KIS) make it easy for prospective students to compare information about full or part time undergraduate courses, and are available on the Unistats website.