Archaeology

We are a small and friendly department, with easy and regular contact between students and staff. Teaching is conducted through lectures, seminars and small tutorial groups. We also host frequent lectures and seminars given by distinguished researchers from around the world.

Cambridge was the first university in the UK to teach Archaeology; our facilities are outstanding and the scope of our teaching and research global. The undergraduate course covers all periods of the human past, combining both theory and practice, and enabling students to draw upon skills from the humanities and sciences.
In the first year, all students take part in the Wessex Field Trip, visiting sites such as Avebury and Stonehenge. Students who choose to specialise in Archaeology participate in a field trip (usually abroad) in their second year, in addition to a two-week training excavation and four further weeks in the field, putting what they have learnt into practice.

We have a well-equipped IT laboratory and a series of purpose-built laboratories dedicated to archaeological science. Students also gain valuable hands-on experience from the collections of artefacts housed in the Faculty's Museum.
The archaeology course in the first year is a general introduction to the history of human society from its origins to the present day. In the second year, students are introduced to the history of archaeology, its theory and practice, and in the third they consolidate this with advanced and specialised courses. In the second and third years they also choose courses which enable them to specialise or diversify within a wide range of regional and period options.
Archaeology can be pursued as a career, through academic research and teaching, field archaeology, museums and heritage management, or it can form the starting point for a wide range of careers in other fields, including the media, publishing and education.

Suggested reading:

Cunliffe, B.W. (1994). The Oxford Illustrated prehistory of Europe. Oxford University press.
Fagan, B. (1990). The Journey from Eden. Thames & Hudson.
Renfrew, C., & Bahn, P. (1996). Archaeology: theories methods and practice (2nd ed.). Thames & Hudson.
Wenke, R. (1990). Patterns in prehistory. Oxford University Press.

From 2008-9, undergraduate teaching in the languages, history and archaeology of the Ancient Near East (Egypt and Mesopotamia) will transfer from the former Faculty of Oriental Studies to the Department of Archaeology. The new Ancient Near East courses will offer the opportunity to learn ancient languages (Middle Egyptian and/or Akkadian) from the first year, together with a broad introduction to the history and cultures of Egypt and Mesopotamia. In the second and third years, students will combine advanced language learning with in-depth study of archaeology and history. Opportunities for fieldwork and museum projects will provide practical experience.

Suggested reading:

Egypt: Kemp, B. 2005 (2nd ed.) Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civilization. Routledge. Manley, B. 1996. The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Egypt. Penguin. Quirke, S. 1992. Ancient Egyptian Religion. British Museum Press. Shaw, I. (ed.) 2000 The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt. Cambridge University Press.

Mesopotamia: Crawford, H. 2004 (2nd ed.). Sumer and the Sumerians. Cambridge University Press. Postgate, N. 1992. Early Mesopotamia, Society and Economy at the Dawn of History. Routledge. Van de Mieroop, M. 2003. A History of the Ancient Near East, ca. 3000-323 BC. Blackwell Publishers.

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