Archaeology BSc


Fact file - 2017 entry

UCAS code:V401
Qualification:BSc Hons
Type and duration:3 year UG
Qualification name:Archaeology
UCAS code
UCAS code
Archaeology | BSc Hons
3 years full-time (available part-time)
A level offer
Required subjects
must include a science A level
IB score
Course location
University Park Campus 
Course places


This course will give you an insight into the scientific techiques that archaeologists use. 
Read full overview

Archaeology bridges the sciences and humanities. During your BSc in Archaeology, you will develop your knowledge of the scientific techniques that archaeologists use to study ancient societies and learn to integrate scientific approaches with human perspectives on the past. Year one is the same as the BA Archaeology course, but the second and third years allow you to specialise in archaeological modules with a strong scientific component. It is compulsory for you to gain excavation experience in the UK or overseas.

Year one 

In the first year, you will be introduced to the discipline of archaeology: understanding the past through the study of its material remains. This is achieved by studying the general principles and methods of how archaeological sites and remains are recovered and interpreted, and by seeing how our knowledge of development of the British Isles, from prehistory until the Middle Ages, is illuminated by archaeology.

Year two

In the second year, five more advanced modules continue your progress in understanding the principles and practice of archaeology. You will examine different types of archaeological science including environmental archaeology and material culture, as well as undertaking modules on different periods in Europe and the Mediterranean building on the introductory modules of the first year. You will also develop practical archaeological research and IT skills.

Year three 

Your final year gives you the chance to undertake your own research project which you will write up as a dissertation. The rest of the year is taken up with a variety of modules of your own choosing from the wide range offered by the Department. The Department offers modules covering the full range of archaeology from prehistory to the medieval period and a wide range of modules in bioarchaeology and archaeological science.



Entry requirements

A levels: ABB-BBB  (must include a science A level)

English language requirements 

IELTS 7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

Students who require extra support to meet the English language requirements for their academic course can attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education (CELE) to prepare for their future studies.

Students who pass at the required level can progress directly to their academic programme without needing to retake IELTS.

Please visit the CELE webpages for more information.

Alternative qualifications

For details please see alternative qualifications page

Flexible admissions policy

In recognition of our applicants’ varied experience and educational pathways, The University of Nottingham employs a flexible admissions policy. We may make some applicants an offer lower than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances. Please see the University’s admissions policies and procedures for more information.  


Typical year one modules


Understanding the Past - Introduction to Archaeology

This module will provide you with an introduction to archaeology as a discipline. It covers the development of the subject and examines methods for discovering, recovering and analysing archaeological remains. Archaeological prospection/survey, excavation, post-survey/excavation analysis, approaches to dating, materials analysis and an introduction to frameworks of social interpretation are all themes addressed within the module, which also introduces some of the key practical skills for archaeology. The teaching is delivered in a mix of lectures, seminars, practical classes, and computer workshops on average taking up about 2 hours per week across a full year.

Introduction to Archaeological Science

The use of methods from biological and earth sciences has transformed the practice of archaeology from the discovery of radiocarbon dating to establish chronology in distant prehistory to the use of stable isotope analysis to trace the movements and diet of past populations. This module will introduce you to some of the key developments in archaeological science over the last 50 years and will show you how scientific methods have dramatically changed our understanding of the past. The teaching is delivered in a mix of lectures, seminars and practical classes on average taking up about 2 hours per week across a full year.

Forests to Farmers: Prehistoric Archaeology of Britain

This module provides an overview of the archaeology of the British Isles from the earliest traces of human activity until the Roman invasion of Britain. It will introduce you to key concepts in prehistoric archaeology through study of the major archaeological finds and sites of the period from henges to the hillforts of Wessex. The teaching is delivered in a mix of lectures and seminars, on average taking up about 4 hours per week across the autumn semester.

Rome to Revolution: Historical Archaeology of Britain

This module provides you with an overview of the archaeology of the British Isles from the Roman invasion, covering Anglo-Saxon, Viking and medieval periods, up to the industrial revolution. Using key sites and discoveries, students will be introduced to the challenges of understanding the archaeology of periods partially documented in textual sources. The teaching is delivered in a mix of lectures and seminars, on average taking up about 4 hours per week across the spring semester.

Great Discoveries in Archaeology

In this module the staff of the archaeology department will share the sites and discoveries that not only inspired them but have also been major benchmarks in the development of the discipline. Each lecture focuses on a major discovery or theory that has fundamentally changed previous held interpretations of the past. The module also looks at the personalities and ideologies that have shaped our discipline, noting how changing perspectives on gender, ethnicity and class have in turn shaped ideas about the past. The teaching is delivered in a mix of lectures and seminars, on average taking up about 2 hours per week across the autumn semester.

Grave Matters: The Archaeolog of Death, Burial and Commemoration

This module examines the many types of archaeological evidence represented through the treatment of human remains from prehistory until the early modern period. You will learn how the study of human remains can give insights into past diets, social status, health and attitudes towards different members of society, while the study of burial practices can tell about the structure of societies and their beliefs. The teaching is delivered in a mix of lectures and seminars, on average taking up about 2 hours per week across the spring semester.


Typical year two modules


Archaeological Research: theory and practice

The excitement of discovery and research is the foundation of everything we do as arhcaeologists. This module is aimed at helping you to develop more advanced research skills and to discover the methods that are used in major archaeological research projects. In particular you will be introduced to the concepts and methods that you will put into practice in your third year dissertation or independent project. The teaching is delivered in a mix of lectures and seminars, on average taking up about 2 hours per week across the year

Archaeology and Society: Heritage and Professional Skills

This module will introduce the structure and context of the professional archaeological sector in the UK, and issues and debates in cultural heritage. It will outline the process of working in archaeology, the various career options, the training required and the type of work carried out by commercial units, museums, and local and national government heritage originations. This will include contact and presentations by real archaeologists working in the various sectors covered. In the spring term, students will apply their knowledge and develop their research and presentation skills in a group heritage project focused on the presentation of a local historic or archaeological site.

Archaeological Evidence 1 and 2

These two modules run across the full academic year and will allow you to focus on developing archaeological skills and understanding archaeological evidence. They will be taught in 5-week intensive blocks of three-hours a week; each student will chose two specialised topics per semester, choosing from options including Glass, Metallurgy, Zooarchaeology, Archaeobotany, Building Survey, Lithics, Ceramics, and Human Skeletal Remains. Each topic is taught in a 5-week intensive block using lectures and seminars covering 3 hours per week across the academic year. 



The Archaeology of the Roman Empire

This module provides an overview of the archaeology of the Roman Empire, developing themes encountered in the first year Rome to Revolution module. It traces the development of the Roman world and examines the archaeology of the Empire’s provinces. Specific themes in this course include town, villas and the countryside, and housing the army among other related topics. For this module you will have a combination of lectures and seminars, on average taking up about 2 hours per week across the year.

Underwater Archaeology

This module will provide you with a broad introduction to current methods and practice of Underwater Archaeology. The module focuses on themes such as lake dwellings, shipwrecks, submerged cities and sunken harbours. Case studies are used ranging in space from Scandinavia to Australia and in time from BC 1500 to the last century. Among the issues tackled will be; methods and techniques of underwater excavation; post-excavation processing of underwater material; problems of conservation and wet finds processing; shipwrecks from 1200 BC: the ship as a symbol; sunken harbours, cities and processes of submergence; lake dwelling & freshwater archaeology; cultural resource management vs. treasure hunting.  For this module you will have 2 hours of lectures and seminars each week.

The Medieval World

This module considers the archaeology of Europe and the Mediterranean from the end of the Roman Empire to the high Middle Ages (from c. AD 400–1400). Key topics include: the formation of post-Roman societies; rural settlement; the emergence of central places and the development of towns; trade and exchange; and the introduction of Christianity and the role of the Church. The lectures and seminars, totalling around 2 hours per week, will explore integrated approaches to archaeological evidence incorporating landscapes, standing buildings, excavated sites and material culture. 

Mediterranean Prehistory

This module examines the background to the rise of the 'classical' urban civilisations of Mediterranean Europe, concentrating on Greece and Italy. It takes a long chronological perspective, with emphasis on the Bronze Age in the Aegean (Minoan Crete and Mycenaean Greece) and Italy and the development of Iron Age societies in Greece and Italy (including the Etruscans), and what we can learn about them through archaeology. For this module you will have a combination of lectures and seminars, on average taking up about 2 hours per week

Making of the Modern World
This module considers archaeological approaches to the creation of the modern world, through the study of British and European societies and their impact around the globe from the end of the medieval period to the present day (from c. AD 1400 – 2000). Students will study key themes including the development of early European colonial empires and the maritime world system, the archaeology of plantations and slavery, the growth of consumption, industrialisation and urbanisation, and archaeological approaches to our contemporary world, and how archaeological evidence provides new insights into the lives of those who are normally ‘hidden from history’.

Typical year three modules


Dissertation in Archaeology

This module involves the preparation and production of an approved topic of 12,000-14,000 words, not including edited material. This will involve the culmination of the range of reading, learning and graphic and photographic skills acquired during the first two years of the course. The final dissertation must be in accordance with the regulations. For this module you will have a one 1-hour tutorial and a one 1 hour and a half seminar to study for the module.



Beastly Questions

This module is about the human-animal relationships that are fundamental to all societies since they shape diets, economies, landscapers and beliefs but also cultural ideologies. The study of the human-animal interaction can provide detailed insight into the structure and worldview of past societies. This module sets out to provide new insights into mainstream archaeological questions. During the course you will investigate a wide range of issues included the hunter gatherer/ farming transition, the impact of the roman empire; the creation and meaning of ancient landscapes; expressions of social status, ethnicity and gender. For this module you will have a combination of lectures, seminars and workshops for one semester.


Commensal Politics: Food, Plants and Social Change

This module will provide an alternative approach to understanding society and its changes through time, linking the past to current issues of food security, sustainability, trade and social in/stability. It will explore the social role of food and plants, tackling issues such as the development of tastes, identity, social status, ethnicity, health and medicine, perceptions of nature and commensality, the creation of ‘foodscapes’ and the investigation of diet and plants that cross boundaries in space and time. For this module you will have a combination of lectures and seminars, on average taking up about 2 hours per week.


Topics in Human Evolution

This module will discuss the latest research in Human Evolution. Based on a seminar format students will choose the topics to be covered during the module, from a shortlist of 12, plus any ideas of their own. Once the topics will be decided students sign up to present (on a first-come first-served basis) and there is a short lecture on each topic to give everyone an overview. Students will then present the paper to the group and the presentations are followed by a group discussion. Topics covered will vary according to the interests of the group and in 2015-16 they included Bipedalism, brain size, Homo floresiensis (AKA the Hobbit), landscape use, hunting vs. scavenging, and responses to death and danger.


Professional Bioarchaeology

This module will introduce you in the professional analysis of archaeological plant, animal and human remains. It will be taught entirely through practical sessions, with students learning 'on the job'. Under close supervision, students will work in small groups to carry out laboratory assessments of archaeological assemblages, to the standard expected by the commercial sector. The skills and experience gained through this module will facilitate a transfer into professional archaeology. The module will be taught through three compulsory Saturday schools – attendance at all three schools is required for students to gain a pass mark.


The Archaeology of the Silk Road

 This is a discipline-bridging module taught by lecturers from across the University campus, exploring a range of archaeological, historical, geographical, biological and scientific themes for the study of the great international trade route, the Silk Road. Students will study the Byzantine and medieval Islamic Silk Roads, Renaissance Venetian luxury trade and exchange, Central Asian history and trade, 19th century perceptions of the Silk Road, scientific techniques and trade and exchange along the Silk Road and genetic studies of the movement of peoples along the Silk Road (Scandinavia, the Middle East and central Asia).  


The Archaeology of Anglo-Saxon England

This module will consider the archaeology of England from the end of the Roman occupation until the Norman conquest. You will focus on the question of the Romano-British survival and the impact of Romano-British culture on the Anglo-Saxon incomers, on the archaeology of the early state in England, on the development of town and rural settlement patterns, on the role of the church in society and on the Danish impact on England. For this module you will have a combination of lectures, seminars and field trips over the course of 11 weeks. 


The Archaeology of the Medieval City

The aim of this module is to provide you with a broad knowledge of the archaeological evidence for the development of cities and urban life in the later medieval period AD 1000-1500, with a focus on English towns and cities in their wider Europe context. The module will explore the integration of varied sources of archaeological evidence including urban landscapes, buildings and material culture, and particular emphasis placed on interdisciplinary approaches to urban economic and social life. For this module you will have a combination of lectures, seminars, workshops and a field trip over the period of 11 weeks.


Rome and the Mediterranean

In this module you will examine the archaeological evidence for the Roman period in Italy and the Mediterranean from c. 300 BC to c. AD 550. The major social, cultural and economic changes of the region in this period will be discussed as well as in the context of wider historical and archaeological approaches to the Mediterranean. You’ll have an hour of lectures and an hour-long seminar for this module.


The Archaeology of Mycenaean Greece

This module will introduce you to the archaeology of the Mycenaean world and will give you familiarity with the achievements and the material culture of one of the greatest European Bronze Age civilizations of the second millennium BC, by discussing the historical, social, cultural and economic context of the period. For this module you will have a combination of lectures and workshops, on average taking up about 2 hours per week.


Prehistoric Italy

In this module you will learn about the prehistory of Italy from the earliest Palaeolithic settlement down to the Final Bronze Age, the premise for the complex societies of the First Millennium. Topics will include: The first farmers, early metallurgy, Lake dwelling and Terramare, The Apennine culture and the pastoral model, and the Mycenaean connection. For this module you will have a one 2-hour lecture and a one 1-hour seminar each week.


Submerged Worlds

The module will cover the full range of submerged archaeological sites from entire prehistoric landscapes through sunken cities to individual sunken settlements. As well as considering what these sites add to the archaeological record, the module will consider the processes of submergence, bringing in new evidence for the complexity of tectonic changes and human adaptations to sea-level change. For this module you will have a combination of lectures and workshops , on average taking up about 2 hours per week.


The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. The above list is a sample of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.



Our Archaeology degrees have been designed to provide extensive general training in the discipline. You will get acquainted with a full range of theoretical, analytical and field methods, and you will gain a broad view knowledge of human culture from the palaeolithic to the medieval period and an in-depth understanding of some of the most exciting areas and periods of human past. 

A course in archaeology fosters many vital skills. Researching and presenting your work involves a high degree of creativity and you will learn how to be careful and precise in carrying out analysis of a range of subjects. The course helps you to develop your ability to research and process a large amount of information and to present the results of your research in an articulate and effective way. A degree in archaeology from the University of Nottingham shows potential employers that you are an intelligent and hard-working individual who is flexible enough to undertake any form of specific career training.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2014, 75% of first-degree graduates in the Department of Archaeology who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £19,500 with the highest being £25,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home and EU first-degree graduates, 2013/14.

Careers Support and Advice

Studying for a degree at The University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take. Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our Careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.  

The University of Nottingham is the best university in the UK for graduate employment, according to the 2017 The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide.



Fees and funding

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £2,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International/EU students

The University of Nottingham provides information and advice on financing your degree and managing your finances as an international student. The International Office offers a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees.


Key Information Sets (KIS)

Key Information Sets (KIS)

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This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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Department of Archaeology
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The University of Nottingham
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