Ancient History and Archaeology BA


Fact file - 2017 entry

UCAS code:VVC4
Qualification:BA Jt Hons
Type and duration:3 year UG
Qualification name:Ancient History and Archaeology
UCAS code
UCAS code
Ancient History and Archaeology | BA Jt Hons
3 years full-time (available part-time)
A level offer
Required subjects
No more than one fine art or performance subject
IB score
Course location
University Park Campus 
Course places


This course will give you an insight into the common ground between ancient history and archaeology, giving you an understanding of the ancient world through both the material, and the textual evidence.
Read full overview

This course emphasises both the common ground between ancient history and archaeology and the different approaches of the two disciplines. It is suited to those who wish to approach an understanding of the ancient world through both the material, and the textual evidence. Study of Greek or Latin is not required, but may be undertaken as part of the course.

Year one

In ancient history you will study two core modules which give you an integrated introduction to the history and culture of Greece and Rome and their receptions. You may study an ancient language, or take a module which goes into more depth on topics in ancient history, plus a similar module on either ancient literature or ancient art. In archaeology, year one will lay the foundation for your study of archaeology with core modules in archaeological method and the prehistoric and historic archaeology of Britain up to the industrial revolution.

Year two

In year two you will study more advanced core themes in archaeological research and choose from a wide range of optional modules covering topics from the Roman Empire to underwater archaeology, including the study of ancient Greek or Latin.

Year three

In year three you will either write a 10,000-word dissertation in Classics and a 6000-word Independent Project in Archaeology, or a 12,000-word dissertation in Archaeology. Further optional modules from the two departments complete the year.

More information 

See also the Department of Archaeology.

Entry requirements

A levels: ABB 

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

We recognise that potential students have a wealth of different experiences and follow a variety of pathways into higher education. We therefore treat on a case-by-case basis applicants with alternative qualifications (besides A-levels and the International Baccalaureate) including: 

• Access to HE Diploma 

• Advanced Diploma 


• BTEC Extended Diploma 

This list is not exhaustive.The entry requirements for alternative qualifications can be quite specific; for example you may need to take certain modules and achieve a specified grade in those modules. Please contact us to discuss the transferability of your qualification. For more information, please see the 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


Studying the Greek World
This wide-ranging module introduces you to the history, literature and art of the Greek World from 1600BC-31BC, from the Bronze Age to a point when Greece had become part of the Roman Empire; no prior knowledge of the Greek world is required. You will consider major chapters of Greece’s history, such as the Mycenean Period, the Dark Ages, and the rise of the city-state in the Archaic period. You will also explore developments in Greek literary and artistic culture and consider aspects of the reception of ancient Greece in modern western culture.For  this module you will have one 2-hour lecture each week over the course of 10 weeks.
Studying the Roman World
This module introduces you to the history, literature and art of the Roman world from the beginnings of the city of Rome to the fall of the Roman Empire in the West. You will examine many important aspects of Rome’s history such as the Roman Republic, the rise of the empire, the establishment of the Principate, and the fall of Rome. At the same time you will explore developments in Roman literary and artistic culture, and consider aspects of the reception of ancient Rome in modern western culture. In addition, you will examine the relationship of the Roman world to the Greek world which complements the Autumn semester module ‘Studying the Greek World'. For this module you will have one 2-hour lecture each week.
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.
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 students 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 students with an overview of the archaeology of the British Isles from the Roman invasion until 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.



Interpreting Ancient Art
In this module you will explore Greek and Roman art with the aim of gaining a broad overview of visual material from classical 
antiquity, by concentrating on a cross-section of the most famous objects and monuments of Greek and Roman culture. You will be introduced to temple-sculpture, statues, wall-paintings, buildings and coins from 6th Century BC Greek sculptures to the 4th Century AD arch of Constantine in Rome. Material for this module is organised by theme and media rather than in chronological order, starting with topography, sculpture and vase painting. For this module you will have two 1-hour lectures each week and five 2-hour seminars over the course of your first year. 
Interpreting Ancient Literature

Ancient literature from Homer to late antiquity is studied in this module by focusing on a representative theme. Recent themes have been 'Perfomance and Persuasion' and 'Love and War'. Issues treated have included: the relationship of literature and society, oral culture, performance, genre, gender, religion and literature and analysis of style. For this module you will have eight 1-hour seminars over the year and two 1-hour lectures each week.

Interpreting Ancient History
This module considers some of the important historical issues from major periods of Greek and Roman history with an emphasis on the methodological questions raised from ancient source materials and modern debates on those issues. On completion of this module you wll have a more detailed knowledge of these important historical issues and clearly understand the kinds of evidence basis on which ancient historians rely, as well as an appreciating of how contemporary preoccupations can influence the perspectives of modern practitioners of the discipline and generate debate between them. For this module you will have eight 1-hour seminars over the year and two 1-hour lectures each week.
Beginner's Greek 1
In this module you will be provided with an introduction to the grammar and vocabulary of classical Greek; no previous knowledge is assumed. Emphasis is placed on acquiring the ability to read Greek; the course is intensive and takes you to a high level of knowledge in a short period of time. Language learning requires regular and frequent reinforcement which can be hard work but is very rewarding. For this module you will have four 1-hr classes every week, enabling you to keep working steadily over the course of 10 weeks.

Typical Year Two Modules


Archaeological Research: Theory and Practice

The excitement of discovery and research is the foundation of everything we do as archaeologists. 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 two hours per week across the year. 



Extended Source Study
This module is designed to develop your skills of research, analysis and written presentation as preparation for your third year dissertation. You will write a 5,000-word essay chosen from a range of topics, each focusing on a single piece of ancient source material. You will be provided with a topic for investigation, starter bibliography and tips on how to approach the question. The questions will  suggest a range of possible approaches from evaluation of historical source material to exploration of literary effects, relationships with other material, discussion of context or reception. For this module you will have a mixture of lectures and four 2-hour seminars over a period of 10 weeks.
Independent Second Year Project 

This module is your opportunity to expand your knowledge of the Classical world in an area which interests you, and to experiment with a method of communicating that knowledge which is different from the usual assessment practices of essay-writing, exam-writing and seminar-presentation. You might undertake research that leads to (for example) the construction of a database, or to the reconstruction of some ancient Greco-Roman artefact. You might acquire experience of a communication method which could be of use to you in a future career, e.g. by constructing a teaching plan, writing in a journalistic style, planning a museum exhibit. You might choose to experiment with a different medium of communication, , e.g. a video or a website. A supporting portfolio documenting your research forms part of the assessment, alongside the project itself. For this module you will have a combination of lectures, seminars, computing training and workshops.

Studying Classical Scholarship

This module focuses on the history and development of the scholarship on ancient Greece and Rome and on specific theories, approaches and methods used by modern scholarship. The aim is to sharpen your engagement with and understanding of scholarship, and to give a deeper appreciation of the ways the ancient world has been appropriated. Studying the history of scholarship in its socio-political context will show you how the questions we ask depend on the situations we live in; it will also allow you to judge the merits and limitations of scholarly approaches and will develop your skills of research and analysis, as preparation for your 3rd-year dissertation. You will have a combination of lectures and four two-hour seminars. As with the Extended Source Study, you will choose a work-sheet relating to an area of the ancient world which particularly interests you; the module is assessed by an oral presentation and a 4500-word essay.

The emperor Constantine (306-337) had a significant impact on the Roman Empire and on European history in the longer term, above all through his support for Christianity, but also through his foundation of the city of Constantinople. This module aims to place his reign in its wider context - the turmoil experienced by the Roman Empire during the third century, the recovery of stability under Diocletian and the Tetrarchy, the emergence of the Christian church as a significant feature of the empire's religious landscape, and the new military challenges which the empire faced in the form of Persia and northern barbarian groups – and to assess Constantine’s policies on a range of fronts: religious, military and social. This semester-long 10-credit module involves one 1-hour lecture each week and a fortnightly 1-hour seminar, and is assessed by an exam.
Classics and Popular Culture
This module explores the reception of ancient Greek and Roman culture in modern popular media such as films, theatre, novels, museums, architecture, children's literature and comics, and sets out to reach an understanding of how these receptions influence the way Greek and Roman culture is approached, used, and questioned. Lectures may focus on any of the following: classical education from the 19th century to the present, the influences of the Classics on the production and content of modern literature, the establishment of museums, use and abuse of the Classics in political and philosophical debate, their role on the theatre stage as well as in film and other visual media (television, computer, games, comics, pop music). Lectures are interspersed with weekly events based around a film, documentary, guest speaker or theatrical performances, and seminars to allow focussed group discussion of those events. For this module you will have two 2-hour sessions a week, comprising 15 lectures and workshops and five seminars.
Ancient Faces
What can a face tell us? This module explores Greek and Roman portrait sculptures, how and why they were made, where they stood, and what they  stood for. Topics covered include: the features necessary to call a depiction of a face a portrait; the relationship of face and body in the shaping of a portrait; the emergence of the portrait in Greek art, portraits of Greek generals and statemen, Hellenistic female portraiture, and  how to analyse marble portraits by means of 3D technology. For this module you will have one 1-hour lecture per week and five 1-hour  seminars over the semester.
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.

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.

Underwater Archaeology

This module will provide you with a broad introduction to current methods & practice of Underwater Archaeology. The module focuses on themes such as lake dwellings, shipwrecks, submerged cities & sunken harbours. Case studies are used ranging in space from Scandinavia to Australia and in time from 1500 BC 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.

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 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. For this module you will have weekly 1-hour tutorials, seminars and workshops.


Independent Research Project
Students not undertaking a dissertation in archaeology will carry out an independent research project (6,000 words) in the autumn or spring semester, using skills they have acquired in earlier modules to research a subject of their choice under the guidance of an appropriate supervisor. For this module you will meet with you supervisor in individual tutorials.
Dissertation in Classics
In this module you will be able to carry out an in-depth investigation of a chosen area, to be agreed with your supervisor in advance. You will use the skills that your degree has equipped you with thus far to plan, research and complete a 10,000-word essay. There will be a mix of contact to achieve this including one-to-one tutorials with a supervisor, workshops and lectures.
Sparta dominates much of archaic and classical Greek history, and has figured prominently in the thought and imagination of other Western societies from antiquity to the present. This module will study the historical development of Sparta (in both domestic and external affairs) from the seventh to fourth centuries B.C. It will engage with the central issues that arise in historical study of Sparta: the problematic nature of our evidence; the Spartan social, political and military system; her subordinate populations; relations between Spartans and others both at home and abroad; and the forces behind Sparta's rise and fall as a great power.
Encounters with the Supernatural: Religion, Magic and the Greeks
This year-long Special Subject module investigates the different ways in which ancient Greek men and women interacted with a wide variety of supernatural entities, including gods, heroes, nymphs and the dead. You’ll start by exploring the range of supernatural entities and ways in which relations with the supernatural structured daily life for ancient Greek men and women. You will then investigate key modes of interaction with the supernatural, as well as thinking about how ideas about and approaches to the supernatural varied over time and place. You’ll have three hours of seminars weekly. The module is assessed through a combination of coursework essays, formal presentation and exam.
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. 
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 each week.
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.
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.
Beastly Questions
This module is about the human-animal relationships that are fundamental to all societies, through its shaping of diets, economies, landscapers and beliefs, and cultural ideologies. The study of the human-animal interaction can provide detailed insight into the structure and worldview of past societies. During the course you will investigate a wide range of issues including: 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.
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).  
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 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. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.



You will have a broad knowledge of archaeological theory and practices and periods of ancient history and will have undertaken in-depth study into areas of your own interest. Your transferable skills will include communication skills, the ability to construct a logical argument and to synthesise and evaluate information and independent thinking.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2014, 90% of first-degree graduates in the Department of Classics who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £16,929 with the highest being £26,000.*

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 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.  


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.

Home students*

There are several types of bursary and scholarship on offer. Download our funding guide or visit our financial support pages to find out more about tuition fees, loans, budgeting and sources of funding.

To be eligible to apply for most of these funds you must be liable for the £9,000 tuition fee and not be in receipt of a bursary from outside the University.

* 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)

KIS is an initiative that the government has introduced to allow you to compare different courses and universities.


There is assessment associated with this programme that is not attached to a specific module. Students are required to complete 10 days of archaeological fieldwork training, normally during the summer after first year. 

This placement is assessed on a pass/fail basis.

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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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