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Archaeology is a subject that spans the entirety of the human past all across the globe.  Oxford’s School of Archaeology is one of the few departments in the world where so many diverse aspects of archaeological teaching and research are brought together to address critical questions about our past.  We offer a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees (we were ranked joint first place in the Complete University Guide 2013 for Student Satisfaction and Research) and have research projects on all the inhabited continents. As a result, we have the depth and breadth of expertise to help students tackle complex issues ranging from human origins and early hunter-gatherers, to the ancient environment, classical and historical archaeology, and chronology.  We are also particularly fortunate that the legacies of eminent archaeologists who have called Oxford home, including Sir Arthur Evans and Lawrence of Arabia, continue to provide inspiration to both students and staff.

News and Announcements


The Higgs Bison: mystery species hidden in cave art

Ancient DNA research has revealed that Ice Age cave artists recorded a previously unknown hybrid species of bison and cattle in great detail on cave walls more than 15,000 years ago. The mystery species, known affectionately by the researchers as the Higgs Bison because of its elusive nature, originated over 120,000 years ago through the hybridisation of the extinct Aurochs (the ancestor of modern cattle) and the Ice Age Steppe Bison, which ranged across the cold grasslands from Europe to Mexico.

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Ancient Britons' teeth reveal people were 'highly mobile' 4,000 years ago

Archaeologists have created a new database from the teeth of prehistoric humans found at ancient burial sites in Britain and Ireland that tell us a lot about their climate, their diet and even how far they may have travelled. In a paper, led by Dr Maura Pellegrini from the University of Oxford, researchers say that individuals in prehistoric Britain were highly mobile.

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Greenland shark revealed to have longest life expectancy of all vertebrates

An international team of scientists led by the University of Copenhagen and including the University of Oxford has found that the Greenland shark has a life expectancy of at least 272 years. This discovery shows it is the longest living vertebrate known to science, exceeding even bowhead whales, turtles and tortoises. The findings are published in latest issue of the journal, Science

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Day of Archaeology

The EngLaId (‘English Landscapes and Identities’) project, headed by Prof. Chris Gosden of the School of Archaeology, is taking part in the virtual ‘Day of Archaeology 2016’, on Friday 29th July.  The Day of Archaeology, promoted by NEARCH, in which Chris Gosden is a collaborator, is an international project to share the day-to-day experiences of archaeologists across the world with members of the public, to promote awareness of and interest in the discipline. All those who are working, studying or volunteering in the archaeological world are invited to participate.

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Innovation of Stone Age humans 'not linked with climate change'

Environmental records obtained from archaeological sites where there are Middle Stone Age deposits are the subject of the study published in the journal, PLOS ONE.  Patrick Roberts from the University of Oxford, and colleagues, find that the Middle Stone Age marked a period of dramatic change amongst early humans in southern Africa.

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HEIR receives an OxTALENT 2016 award

The Historic Environment Image Resource team led by Dr Sally Crawford, Dr Katharina Ulmschneider and Dr Janice Kinory is delighted to have received an award at the OxTALENT 2016 'Celebrating the Digital' competition for their HEIR tagger crowdsourcing platform and mobile app.

'The judges commended the engaging, simple design and ease of use of HEIRtagger and noted the impact of the project both for researchers and the public.'
HEIR is featured in the Outreach and Public Engagement - Harnessing the Power of the Crowd category.

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Dr Linda Hulin of OCMA interviewed on BBC 4's 'In Our Time',

Melvyn Bragg and guests (including Dr Linda Hulin, Fellow of Harris Manchester College and Research Officer at the Oxford Centre for Maritime Archaeology) discuss The Bronze Age Collapse for this week's episode of BBC 4's 'In Our Time'...


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Human Evolution in Structured Populations

Dr Eleanor Scerri and Dr Heidi Eager (Cornell University) have organised an evening symposium entitled ‘Human Evolution in Structured Populations’ on the 1st of September, 2016, funded by the British Academy of Arts and Social Sciences, The Galton Institute and the Wellcome Trust. The symposium will explore the archaeological, fossil and genetic data that suggest that the emergence of our species occurred within a set of subdivided populations located across Africa, rather than within a small and isolated East African population.

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Dispersal across Asia

Human Colonization of Asia in the Late Pleistocene

The Wenner-Gren Symposium #153 on “Human Colonization of Asia in the Late Pleistocene” will be held March 18-24, 2016, at Tivoli Palacio de Seteais in Sintra, Portugal. The conference is organized by Christopher Bae (University of Hawai’i at Manoa), and Michael Petraglia and Katerina Douka, both of the University of Oxford. Click here for Symposium details. 

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GAO 2016 Graduate Conference Registration Open

Registration for the Graduate Archaeology at Oxford (GAO) conference is now open. The conference will run 12th-13th March, 2016, in Oxford and will focus on the multidimensional ways in which humans have interacted with their natural environment in prehistoric and historic times. 

The deadline for registration is 12th February, 2016. Please submit the registration form below to gao2016@merton.ox.ac.uk. For additional information, including the provisional schedule, please visit http://www.arch.ox.ac.uk/gao-conferences.html

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Award for joint project with Cotswold Archaeology

Dr Wendy Morrison has been awarded £9,100 from Historic England for a joint 3 month project with Cotswold Archaeology. Master of all we survey: towards GIS synthesis of large scale development-led geophysics will explore the potential for collating and utilising results from a multiplicity of individual geophysical surveys across England.

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Research on prehistoric farming in western Eurasia recognised at the Shanghai Archaeology Forum

Amy Bogaard received a research award for recent work investigating the nature of prehistoric farming in western Eurasia (‘From First Farmers to First Cities: New Insights into the Agricultural Origins of Urban Societies in Western Eurasia’) at the Shanghai Archaeology Forum in December, 2015.

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