Classical Archaeology masters

Classical Archaeology

Coordinators: Prof. Andrew Wilson and Prof Bert Smith

Classical Archaeology


The Master's degrees in Classical Archaeology include a one-year Master of Studies (MSt) and a two-year Master of Philosophy (MPhil). Candidates for the MSt and the first year of the MPhil choose three subjects as set out under Course Subjects, while the second-year MPhil students take a fourth taught subject and prepare a dissertation of not more than 25,000 words. MSt students may elect to prepare a 10,000-word dissertation in place of one subject.

This scheme allows candidates to choose from a wide range of periods (from Prehistoric Aegean to Later Antiquity) and many different aspects of the subject (see lists). Candidates may also be allowed study an unlisted topic within Classical Archaeology, or directly related to it, provided that the topic is appropriate and teaching is available. Those who are seeking a broader course may, if they wish, select as one subject from among those offered in any of the following MSt courses (subject to availability of teaching): Byzantine Studies, Classical Literature, European Archaeology, Greek and Roman History, History of Art, Women's Studies, World Archaeology.

Teaching is mainly through small-group tutorials or classes of 1-4, supplemented by a wide range of lecture courses. Not all courses listed may be available every year.

Course subjects

For the MSt and the first year of the MPhil students take three options. At least one period option must be chosen from List A and a subject option from List B. The third subject can be taken either from the same lists, or from among any of the subjects offered for the MSt degrees in Byzantine Studies, Classical Literature, European Archaeology, Greek and Roman History, History of Art, Women's Studies, World Archaeology. Typically, students choose one period and two subjects. Where appropriate, a specially defined subject, not listed below, may be approved by the Graduate Studies Committee of the School of Archaeology, provided that suitable teaching is available. Alternatively, MSt students can prepare a 10,000-word thesis in place of the second or third subject.

The academic year has three terms, and the period from List A is taught in the third term, the other two subjects in the first two terms. Typically, the subjects are chosen from those on List B being offered in any given term by the academic staff in classical archaeology. Each staff member offers a different subject in his or her areas of specialism in each of the first two terms; so students normally choose from about 8 different subjects each term, covering major topics from the Bronze Age to the Late Roman period.

Period topics (List A) Coordinator(s)
Early Iron Age Greece, 1200-700 BCProf Irene Lemos
Archaic, 800-480 BCProf Irene Lemos
Classical, 500-300 BCProf Bert Smith
Hellenistic, 330-30 BCProf Bert Smith
Late Republican, 200-30 BCDr Janet DeLaine
Early Imperial, 30BC-AD 120Dr. Peter Stewart
Middle Imperial, AD 70-250Prof. Andrew Wilson
Late Antiquity, AD 280-650Dr Ine Jacobs
Byzantine, AD 600-1453Dr Ine Jacobs
Subject topics (List B)
Aegean and the East, 1200-600 BCProf Irene Lemos
Aegean Bronze Age scriptsDr Lisa Bendall
Archaeology of ancient Macedonia, 600-100 BCDr Maria Stamatopoulou
Archaeology of Athens and Attica, 600-50 BCDr Maria Stamatopoulou
Archaeology of Greek WomenDr Maria Stamatopoulou
Archaeology of Roman urban systemsProf. Andrew Wilson
Archaeology of the Early Greek polis, 800-450 BCProf Irene Lemos
Archaeology of the Roman economyProf. Andrew Wilson
Burials, settlements, and society in Early Greece, 1200-650 BCProf Irene Lemos
Byzantine ConstantinopleDr Ine Jacobs
Early Ionia, 1000-450 BCProf Irene Lemos
Etruscan ItalyDr Charlotte Potts
Greek and Roman housingDr Janet DeLaine
Greek and Roman wallpaintingDr Maria Stamatopoulou and Prof Bert Smith
Greek coinageProf Chris Howgego and
Greek Funerary Archaeology, 600-100 BCDr Maria Stamatopoulou
Greek sculptureDr Maria Stamatopoulou and Prof Bert Smith
Greek VasesDr Thomas Mannack
Historical narrative in Hellenistic and Roman artProf Bert Smith
History of collections: classical artDr. Peter Stewart
Landscape archaeology in the Greek and Roman worldProf. Andrew Wilson
Late Roman and Byzantine architectureDr Ine Jacobs
Late Roman and Byzantine mosaics and paintingDr Ine Jacobs
Maritime archaeology of the Greek and Roman MediterraneanDr Damian Robinson
Myth in Greek and Roman artProf Bert Smith and Dr Thomas Mannack
Plants and Animals in the Roman WorldDr Lisa Lodwick and Dr Angela Trentacoste
Pompeii and OstiaDr Janet DeLaine
Problems and methods in ancient art-historyProf Bert Smith
Roman architectureDr Janet DeLaine
Roman BritainDr Damian Robinson
Roman coinageProf Chris Howgego
Roman North Africa Prof. Andrew Wilson
Roman PortraitsProf Bert Smith and Dr. Peter Stewart
Roman Provincial ArtDr. Peter Stewart
Roman sculptureProf Bert Smith and Dr Janet DeLaine
Topics in Aegean PrehistoryDr Lisa Bendall
Topography of Rome (can be taken as BSR City of Rome)Dr Janet DeLaine
Topics from Archaeology MSt/MPhil
Topics from Archaeological Science MSt/MSc

Not all the courses listed may be available every year.

Academic staff



  • three subjects are chosen for written examination
  • one subject, chosen from List A, will be examined by a written 3-hour unseen paper with a choice of questions
  • the second subject will normally be examined by a pair of 5,000-word preset essays or the candidate may chose to substitute a 10,000-word dissertation on an approved topic
  • the third subject will normally be examined by a further pair of 5,000-word pre-set essays
  • a viva voce examination


  • the first year examination (as for MSt, but without the option of a dissertation) must be passed to qualify for the second year
  • the second year is  examined in one further subject chosen from those listed for the MSt, normally by  a pair of 5,000-word preset essays, and by a compulsory 25,000-word thesis which counts as two elements
  • a viva voce examination

The dissertation

For the one-year MSt degree a thesis of up to 10,000 words on an approved topic is optional. For the two-year M.Phil degree submission of a thesis of up to 25,000 words on an approved topic is required.

Recent  MPhil thesis titles include:

  • Bronze Age Collapse: Textual and Archaeological Evidence for the end of the Mycenaean World
  • Vase Paintings from the Aegean in the Twelfth Century BC (Late Helladic IIIC Middle)
  • Shifting Identities: Interregional Exchange and Ports of Trade in the Mediterranean World during the 8th and 7th Centuries BC.
  • The Polychromy of Hellenistic Terracotta Figurines.
  • Statues of women in the Hellenistic polis
  • The Iconology of Macedonian Tomb Paintings
  • The Utilisation of classical motifs by the Austrian Habsburgs: 1685-1792.
  • Gesture in Hellenistic and Early Imperial Art
  • Construction Man-power for Imperial Building in Trajanic Rome
  • Roman exploitation of the eastern desert of Egypt
  • Harbour Cities and Merchant Communities in the Roman Mediterranean 100BC - AD 300
  • Reconstructing the Roman Diet and Its Economic Implications: A faunal analysis of Roman Dorchester
  • Aspects of Housing in the Late Roman World: The Architecture and Decoration of Villas

Period details

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Subject details

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