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BA Ancient History and Archaeology / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

Course description

Our BA Ancient History and Archaeology will enable you to combine the science of archaeology with the culture and history of ancient civilisations in your studies.

The study of people lies at the heart of our courses, such as exploring how the Roman Empire used architecture as a political statement. Yet we also use scientific techniques to examine ancient objects, human remains and landscapes.

You will study the ancient Mediterranean empires alongside the archaeology of Britain, Western Europe, the Greek and Roman worlds and the Near East.

Throughout the course, you'll have opportunity to study ancient languages and to conduct expert-led archaeological fieldwork, gaining knowledge of two complementary approaches to the past while gaining key skills in analysis and interpretation.

Study with us and you'll explore artefacts, architecture, ancient texts and beliefs using our well-equipped laboratories, our own departmental teaching collections, and the exclusive archives and curatorial expertise of Manchester Museum.

Special features

Experience digs in the UK and abroad

Fieldwork training is an integral part of Archaeology, and you'll be introduced to excavation techniques by experienced archaeologists.

Placement year option

Apply your subject-specific knowledge in a real-world context through a placement year in your third year of study, enabling you to enhance your employment prospects, clarify your career goals and build your external networks.

Study abroad

You may apply to spend one semester studying abroad during Year 2. You'll have the opportunity to join research teams and help make discoveries that shape our knowledge of the world.

Destination-specific specialisms such as Inuit material culture, Australian rock art, or Scandinavian hoards could shape your final year dissertation.

Explore in-depth collections on campus

Discover artefacts, architecture, ancient texts and beliefs using our well-equipped laboratories, our own departmental teaching collections and the exclusive archives and curatorial expertise of Manchester Museum .

Outreach and engagement

You'll have the opportunity to share your passion for archaeology through community and public engagement projects.

Teaching and learning

You'll benefit from a breadth of teaching methods designed to develop your transferable skills, including:

  • tutorials;
  • seminars;
  • laboratory sessions;
  • lectures;
  • fieldwork;
  • one-to-one tutorials;
  • group exercises;
  • presentations;
  • reports;
  • original research guided by academic tutors.

Subsidised fieldwork includes one-day site visits as well as extensive periods of excavation in locations as close as Stonehenge and Orkney or as distant as Africa and the Middle East.

You'll also learn within our archaeological labs, where you'll be trained to use a wide range of equipment to analyse and record objects. You can pursue training in digital illustration and GIS packages to support this activity and access landscape survey and geophysics equipment for fieldwork.

Coursework and assessment

Assessment methods include:

  • written examinations;
  • coursework essays;
  • research reports;
  • practical tests;
  • fieldwork workbooks;
  • individual projects;
  • oral presentations;
  • third year dissertation;
  • digital posters;
  • audio performances.

In addition, archaeology field training involves a variety of assessment over a range of skills and techniques.

Course content for year 1

Gain a solid foundation in archaeology by exploring life and death in the Ancient World, and some of the most spectacular discoveries from around the globe.

Explore the Roman world, including changes in society, and the collapse of its political structures. Study key developments in Greek political, cultural and social history during the archaic period. Then select from a breadth of additional optional units in both subject areas.

Two weeks of archaeological fieldwork in the UK or abroad in your first summer enable you to travel to see and work on sites first-hand.

Course units for year 1

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Constructing Archaic Greek History CAHE10011 20 Mandatory
From Republic to Empire: Introduction to Roman History, Society & Culture 218-31BC CAHE10022 20 Mandatory
Discoveries and Discoverers: Sights and Sites CAHE10282 20 Mandatory
Living and Dying in the Ancient World SALC10602 20 Mandatory
Introduction to Mediterranean & Classical Archaeology CAHE10122 20 Optional
The Making of the Mediterranean CAHE10132 20 Optional
The Story of Britain CAHE10141 20 Optional
Stories and Storytelling in the Ancient Greek and Roman Worlds CAHE10212 20 Optional
Cities and Citizens CAHE10231 20 Optional
Understanding the Past: Human Stories through Science CAHE10341 20 Optional
Virgil's Aeneid CAHE10422 20 Optional
Doing Archaeology 1 CAHE10501 20 Optional
Intensive Greek 1 CAHE20151 20 Optional
Intensive Latin 1 CAHE20171 20 Optional
Advanced Latin Language 1 CAHE30110 20 Optional
Advanced Greek Language 1 CAHE30120 20 Optional
Intensive Greek 2 CAHE30162 20 Optional
Intensive Latin 2 CAHE30182 20 Optional
The Odyssey CLAH10101 20 Optional
Standing on The Shoulders of Giants: Foundations for Study in The Arts SALC10002 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 20 course units for year 1

Course content for year 2

Explore the major ideas and approaches used by archaeologists or focus more on the practical skills learned in your first summer of fieldwork.

Examine the golden age of the Roman Empire or delve into politics and society in Classical Greece, and explore the archaeology of prehistoric Europe, or the emergence of civilizations in the Near East.  You'll also enhance your employability and travel through two further weeks of subsidised fieldwork.

Course units for year 2

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
The Roman Empire 31BC - AD235: Rome's Golden Age CAHE20051 20 Mandatory
Politics and Society in Classical Greece CAHE20062 20 Mandatory
Thinking Archaeology CAHE20111 20 Mandatory
Doing Archaeology 2 CAHE20502 20 Mandatory
The World of Late Antiquity: Europe and the Med from the Severan Dynasty to the Rise of Islam CAHE20022 20 Optional
Through Cicero's Eyes CAHE20032 20 Optional
The Conquering Hero: The Life, Times and Legacy of Alexander The Great CAHE20041 20 Optional
Neolithic Britain CAHE20131 20 Optional
Intensive Greek 1 CAHE20151 20 Optional
Intensive Latin 1 CAHE20171 20 Optional
Families in the Greek and Roman Worlds (6th c. BCE - 3 c. CE) CAHE20441 20 Optional
Roman Women in 22 Objects CAHE20532 20 Optional
Dealing with the Dead: The Archaeology of Death and Burial CAHE20722 20 Optional
Origins of States: The Archaeology of Urbanism in the Near East CAHE20911 20 Optional
Introduction to the History and Culture of Pharaonic Egypt CAHE21441 20 Optional
Slavery in the Ancient Greek World CAHE24501 20 Optional
Heritage and Reception CAHE24601 20 Optional
Advanced Latin Language 1 CAHE30110 20 Optional
Advanced Greek Language 1 CAHE30120 20 Optional
Intensive Greek 2 CAHE30162 20 Optional
Intensive Latin 2 CAHE30182 20 Optional
Advanced Latin Language 2 CAHE30210 20 Optional
Advanced Greek Language 2 CAHE30220 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 23 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

By now, you'll have developed a keen interest in a topic which you can research in depth for a dissertation in either Archaeology or Ancient History. Continue to specialise in specific areas of interest to shape and complete your degree.

Course units for year 3

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Classics, Ancient History, Archaeology and Egyptology Dissertation CAHE30000 40 Mandatory
Intensive Greek 1 CAHE20151 20 Optional
Intensive Latin 1 CAHE20171 20 Optional
The World of Late Antiquity: Europe and the Med from the Severan Dynasty to the Rise of Islam CAHE30022 20 Optional
Through Cicero's Eyes CAHE30032 20 Optional
Advanced Latin Language 1 CAHE30110 20 Optional
Advanced Greek Language 1 CAHE30120 20 Optional
Neolithic Britain CAHE30131 20 Optional
Intensive Greek 2 CAHE30162 20 Optional
Intensive Latin 2 CAHE30182 20 Optional
Advanced Latin Language 2 CAHE30210 20 Optional
Advanced Greek Language 2 CAHE30220 20 Optional
Advanced Latin Language 3 CAHE30310 20 Optional
Advanced Greek Language 3 CAHE30320 20 Optional
Artefacts and Interpretation CAHE30362 20 Optional
Families in the Greek and Roman Worlds (6th c. BCE - 3 c. CE) CAHE30441 20 Optional
Dealing with the Dead: The Archaeology of Death and Burial CAHE30722 20 Optional
The Roman Army and the North-West Frontiers CAHE30882 20 Optional
Origins of States: The Archaeology of Urbanism in the Near East CAHE30911 20 Optional
Egypt in the Graeco-Roman Worl CAHE31401 20 Optional
Finding Happiness in the Ancient World CAHE34402 20 Optional
Slavery in the Ancient Greek World CAHE34501 20 Optional
Heritage and Reception CAHE34601 20 Optional
Seaborne State? Venice and the East 1150-1550 HIST31861 20 Optional
Science and Islam RELT30522 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 25 course units for year 3

Facilities

Manchester Museum

Manchester Museum is The University's own award-winning facility, home to important prehistoric, classical and ethnographic collections, which you'll draw from in your learning.

You'll go behind the scenes to handle, analyse and interpret rare artefacts, including one of the finest Egyptology collections in Britain.

Our ongoing collaboration between the museum and the global work of archaeology staff offers unique opportunities for students to get involved in the design of major exhibitions.

Whitworth Art Gallery

The Whitworth Art Gallery holds important archaeological textile collections, and art and sculpture on themes such as landscape as part of its broader internationally significant collections.

The Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology

The Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology is home to a film library with some 1,500 titles, from classic ethnographic film to contemporary documentary and world cinema. To complement the film titles, it boosts a comprehensive collection of written materials by anthropologists and film makers, including a selection of journals.

Archaeological laboratories

Our dedicated archaeological laboratories contain a wide range of equipment you can use during your degree.

Get to grips with our extensive archaeological artefacts, ranging from the Early Palaeolithic to the 20th century.

Use microscopes, professional photography and measurement equipment, a 3D scanner and printer, and portable XRF to analyse and record artefacts. Or try out our GPS equipment, total stations and drones when out in the field. 

Learn how to combine these with software for digital illustrations GIS analysis of maps and spatial data and 3D digital models to enhance your analysis and understanding.

Throughout your degree, this equipment will be available for loan from our dedicated lab technician, who can also offer any extra training you need.

Our separate teaching and research labs are used for teaching thorough our degrees, and are available for independent student study and research. They also host our experimental archaeology group, which regularly meets to make and use types of artefacts from a range of archaeological periods. 

Find out more on the facilities page.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: dass@manchester.ac.uk