Course Structure

Photo taken in the Ashmolean Museum's Dynastic Egypt gallery

First Year: Honour Moderations

The four courses taken in the first year are designed to provide a general background to the three disciplines that feature within the degree: archaeology, biological anthropology and social anthropology

Paper 1 Introduction to World Archaeology

Paper 2 Introduction to Anthropological Theory

Paper 3 Perspectives on Human Evolution

Paper 4 The Nature of Archaeological and Anthropological Enquiry

Assessment Method: these subjects are examined in the Trinity Term of the first year by four three-hour papers of three questions each.

Students take part in a compulsory two-week training excavation during the summer vacation of the first year and a further three weeks of archaeological or anthropological project work (fieldwork/excavation/internship) of their own devising.

Photo taken in the Pitt Rivers Museum

Second and Third Years: Final Honour School

The second and third years of study continue to balance detailed knowledge of particular periods and areas (or scientific topics), which are explored as option subjects, with broadly comparative courses which strive to integrate both an archaeological and an anthropological dimension. The result is that you can construct half of the Final Honour School to suit your own interests, while retaining a solid breadth across all aspects of archaeology and anthropology. We feel that this offers students a uniquely powerful, broad and flexible course that avoids excessive specialisation while emphasising student choice.

Paper 1 Social Analysis and Interpretation

Paper 2 Cultural Representations, Beliefs and Practices

Paper 3 Landscape and Ecology

Paper 4 Urbanization and Change in Complex Societies: Comparative Approaches

Option papers and the dissertation.  Three option subjects, chosen from a wide range of anthropological and archaeological topics, give the student the opportunity to develop expertise in a particular area and period. The dissertation offers the opportunity to investigate them in sometimes unexpected contexts and combinations.

Assessment Method: the second and third years are occupied in preparation for the four core papers and three optional papers of the Final Honour School examined in the Trinity Term of the third year, and the writing of a 15,000-word dissertation.