Evidence shows there’s been a huge surge in demand for archaeologists in the UK following a sharp rise in infrastructure projects, so there’s never been a better time to study this degree at BU.
You can take the degree as either a BA Archaeology or BSc according to whether you prefer an arts-based or scientific route. All students study the same first year so it’s easy to transfer from one to the other. Themes in Archaeology & Anthropology, and Societies of Prehistoric Europe, are both key highlights of the curriculum, among many others. There’s a combination of academic study and practical experience in place, producing highly skilled practitioners experienced in all forms of landscape survey, remote sensing, excavation and recording.
You’ll learn through expert-led lectures, seminars and a range of exciting and relevant fieldwork opportunities all over the UK. As well as a five or 30-week work placement, you will attend an archaeological field school at the end of your first year. Participation in BU’s renowned field school – the Place Field School – allows you to gain a wide range of practical skills. The annual dig is an unrivalled opportunity to work on a real archaeological excavation; finds in previous years by our students have changed what we thought we knew about the past.
You may also have the opportunity to take part in other excavations organised by our active team of archaeologists, such as the excavations in the Cotswolds that uncovered a 6,000-year-old prehistoric burial monument. You could also work with commercial archaeologists to gain essential transferable skills recognised by the Chartered Institute of Archaeologists.
The entry requirements for this course are 104 - 120 UCAS tariff points including a minimum of two A-levels or equivalent.
Numeracy and Literacy requirement: GCSE English and Mathematics grade 4 (or grade C in the old grading system). We also accept iGCSEs, Key Skills and Functional Skills and other qualifications at Level 2 of the National Qualifications Framework.
A-level and AS levels: 104 – 120 UCAS tariff points from a minimum of two A-levels.
Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate – Skills Challenge Certificate: We accept this qualification, but it must be accompanied by an A-level sized qualification to meet the overall UCAS tariff.
Access to HE Diploma: 102 – 118 UCAS tariff points with any combination of Distinction, Merit, Pass grades.
International entry requirements
English language requirements
If English is not your first language, you will need to provide evidence that you can understand English to a satisfactory level. English language requirements for this course are normally:
IELTS (Academic) 6.0 with a minimum of 6.0 in either reading or writing and 5.5 in all other components, or equivalent.
On this course you will be taught by a range of staff with relevant expertise and knowledge appropriate to the content of the unit. This will include senior academic staff, qualified professional practitioners, demonstrators, technicians and research students. You will also benefit from regular guest lectures from industry.
AAFS Study Skills: Fundamental skills for any scientist are the ability to work with a range of field and lab data. This unit will provide you with the knowledge to perform statistical analysis, create charts, graphs & maps, and write clear and concise reports using appropriate software packages.
Ancient People & Places: You will be introduced to the key thematic studies in archaeology concerning the evolution and development of ancient humans, changing technologies and material culture, and the organisation and development of past societies. You will be introduced to a range of archaeological, fossil, genetic and ethnographic evidence and develop core skills of analysis, interpretation, and reasoning using archaeological data.
Approaches to Archaeology: This unit aims to introduce you to key aspects of studying the past through the discipline of archaeology. Attention is focused on the history and development of the discipline from the sixteenth to twenty-first centuries; the principal current epistemologies and theoretical traditions; formation processes and methods of discovering archaeological sites and features; the main classes of evidence represented by artefacts and ecofacts, their characteristics, how they are studied by archaeologists, and the information they may provide; current traditions of archaeological endeavour; and the nature of key dimensions of the past including time, space, place, and society.
Archaeological Practice: The knowledge and skills essential to the aspiring archaeologist practicing within the modern professional discipline of archaeology will be covered in this unit. It will also provide you with an understanding of the interconnectedness of data derived from field situations and that recovered from archived sources in an on-going analytical process of refinement and reinvestigation. Successful completion of the unit will enable you to understand the context of archaeological data, which will support and enhance aspects of structural, arte-factual and palaeo-environmental analysis delivered at all levels in the courses in which it lies.
Gathering Time: This is about the chronological framework that supports archaeological understanding and interpretation. You will be introduced to the concept of time, how it is measured and reckoned in current societies and how it has been understood by societies in the past. You will gain an understanding of current techniques in dating and what methods are appropriate for use with different archaeological materials.
Studying Ancient Materials: You will learn to handle a range of artefacts and other archaeological materials including ceramics, textiles, foodstuffs, glass, metals and building materials. You will be able to observe and record their characteristics and their importance to the interpretation of people and societies.
Archaeological Science: This unit will develop your understanding of how thematic archaeological research questions may be addressed through the use of archaeological scientific techniques and approaches. Knowledge of case studies will be developed to promote understanding of the potential applications of archaeological science to investigate the behaviour of past human societies.
Environmental Archaeology: Introducing you to the principles and practice of Environmental Archaeology and palaeoenvironmental reconstruction, the unit will provide an overview of site formation processes, the types of environmental evidence encountered in the archaeological record, and the appropriate sampling strategies used to recover them. Examples of the interpretation of environmental evidence will be provided through archaeological case studies. The final lecture will demonstrate how many of the environmental proxies used in Environmental Archaeology are transferable to forensic sciences, focusing on the specific example of palynology.
Field & Research Skills: To ensure you gain a practical understanding of the aims, strategies and methods of fieldwork, you will participate in a fieldwork training project. During this, you will carry out practical tasks such as excavating, processing finds and samples. You will work in groups to solve problems, developing team skills and professional competencies.
Post-excavation Skills: Providing you with practical hands-on post-excavation skills, you will gain an understanding of the planning, management and documentation of post-excavation studies. Practical experience will also be obtained in one of a range of post-excavation specialist skills, focusing on the formulation of a post-excavation research archive, retrieval and analysis of data derived from excavation and field survey, and the preparation of specialist reports. You will also acquire an appreciation of key concepts and methodological approaches including: post-excavation recording and use of archaeological assemblages to address archaeological research questions; analytical approaches; classification systems and typologies; depositional and taphonomic processes; and relevant technical skills.
Independent Research Project
Our Archaeology degrees teach you the skills you need to work in the field, as well as a host of transferable skills that you can apply to a variety of roles in other sectors. Many of our graduates go on to work for organisations related to archaeology and historical preservation.
According to a recent report by Historic England, 3,000 people are currently employed in commercial archaeology in England, but this will need to grow by a minimum of 25% over the next six years to meet demand.
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