BA Ancient History and Archaeology / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

Course description

Our BA Ancient History and Archaeology will enable you to combine the techniques 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 methods to examine ancient objects, human remains and landscapes. You will study 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, with the opportunity to join fieldwork or museum placements during your degree.

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 could support research on such as Inuit material culture, Australian rock art or Scandinavian hoards, enriching 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;
  • group exercises;
  • presentations;
  • reports;
  • one to one academic support sessions;
  • original research guided by academic tutors.

Subsidised fieldwork includes one-day site visits as well as extensive periods of excavation in a wide range of locations such as Herefordshire, Yorkshire and Scotland.

You'll also be trained in our archaeological labs and museum archives, 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
Doing Archaeology 1 CAHE10501 20 Mandatory
The Odyssey CAHE10101 20 Optional
The Making of the Mediterranean CAHE10132 20 Optional
The Story of Britain CAHE10141 20 Optional
Cities and Citizens CAHE10231 20 Optional
Discoveries and Discoverers: Sights and Sites CAHE10282 20 Optional
Virgil's Aeneid CAHE10422 20 Optional
Introduction to the History and Culture of Pharaonic Egypt CAHE10651 20 Optional
Tomb and Temple: Religion and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt CAHE10702 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
Living and Dying in the Ancient World SALC10602 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 18 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 and delve into politics and society in Classical Greece. 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 CAHE20052 20 Mandatory
Politics and Society in Classical Greece CAHE20061 20 Mandatory
Thinking Archaeology CAHE20112 20 Mandatory
Doing Archaeology 2 CAHE20501 20 Mandatory
Through Cicero's Eyes CAHE20031 20 Optional
The Conquering Hero: The Life, Times and Legacy of Alexander The Great CAHE20041 20 Optional
Neolithic Britain CAHE20131 20 Optional
Ancient Medicine CAHE20381 20 Optional
Families in the Greek and Roman Worlds (6th c. BCE - 3 c. CE) CAHE20442 20 Optional
Roman Women in 22 Objects CAHE20532 20 Optional
Dealing with the Dead: The Archaeology of Death and Burial CAHE20722 20 Optional
The First Cities: The Archaeology of Urbanism in the Near East CAHE20911 20 Optional
The Archaeology of Ritual CAHE20992 20 Optional
Slavery in the Ancient Greek World CAHE24502 20 Optional
Middle Egyptian Hieroglyphs CAHE25561 20 Optional
Art and Technology in Ancient Egypt CAHE25762 20 Optional
Greece in Britain, 1750-1950: Discovery, Dialogue, and Modernity CAHE29352 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 17 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 a degree tailored to your own interests.

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
Through Cicero's Eyes CAHE30031 20 Optional
Neolithic Britain CAHE30131 20 Optional
Ancient Medicine CAHE30381 20 Optional
Families in the Greek and Roman Worlds (6th c. BCE - 3 c. CE) CAHE30442 20 Optional
Dealing with the Dead: The Archaeology of Death and Burial CAHE30722 20 Optional
The Roman Army and the North-West Frontiers CAHE30881 20 Optional
The First Cities: The Archaeology of Urbanism in the Near East CAHE30911 20 Optional
The Archaeology of Ritual CAHE30992 20 Optional
Greece in Britain CAHE39352 20 Optional

What our students say

Manchester is an amazing city.  

I've met some really wonderful people on my course, the support I have received from staff has been incredible, the fieldwork is great experience and fun, and I can now call myself an archaeologist.

Catherine O'Doherty, Ancient History and Archaeology BA

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