Research Degrees

The School of Archaeology has an excellent international research profile notably in British, European, African, and Asian archaeology, in all branches of Classical archaeology, and in science-based and theoretical aspects of the discipline. This provides a stimulating and exciting environment for students wishing to undertake substantial, independent research of their own. 

There are three research degrees in Archaeology, examined solely by thesis: the DPhil in Archaeology, the DPhil in Archaeological Science, and the DPhil in Classical Archaeology, but projects which cross these disciplinary boundaries are welcome, and students are enrolled in the most appropriate degree. Although students are encouraged to attend lectures and participate in research seminars, there is no formal course of instruction. Instead, students are guided in their research by supervisors, appointed by the Committee for the School of Archaeology, who are experts in their field of research. While the degree of contact varies depending on individual circumstances, students generally develop a close relationship with their supervisors.  

The DPhil is a full-time degree and students are expected to complete their theses, which have a maximum word length of 80,000 words, within  three or at the most four years. To begin with, students are admitted as Probationer Research Students, transferring to full doctoral status within four terms of their arrival. Their progress is formally assessed through the submission of written work and an interview by a small assessment panel ('transfer of status'), while a further similar assessment ('confirmation of status') is held within seven terms of their arrival. At each stage students also make a short formal presentation of their research at one of the Doctoral Student Symposia organised by the School of Archaeology, which help students develop their presentational skills at an early stage of their careers. Successful doctoral theses must, among other things, display evidence of substantial and original research, lucid and scholarly presentation and a sound knowledge of the general field within which the thesis falls.

Recently completed DPhil theses:

Accommodating the divine: the form and function of religious buildings in Latial and Etruscan settlements c. 900-500 BC.

Bayesian methods for the construction of robust chronologies.

Bernicia and the Sea: coastal communities and landscape in North-East England and South East Scotland, c.450-850 A.D. 

Development of emotional rendering in Greek art, 525-400 BC.

Late Holocene Archaeology in Namaqualand, South Africa: hunter-gatherers and herders in a semi-arid environment.

Life and death in the Korean Bronze Age (ca. 1500-400 BC): an analysis of settlements and monuments in the mid-Korean peninsula

Performative construction of identity in the Shang and Zhou Dynasties.

Pompeii, insula IX.3: a case study of urban infrastructure.

Portraiture of Caracalla and Geta: form, context, function.

Ports, Emporia and the Growth of the Roman Economy 166 BC – AD 300

Production and trade of Roman and Late Roman African cookwares.

Southeast Asia in the ancient Indian Ocean World: combining historical, linguistic and archaeological approaches.

Stable isotope evidence for diet change in Roman and medieval Italy: local, regional and continental perspectives.

The Western Caucasus: imported weapons and armor in the Hellenistic period.