Underwater Archaeology Research Centre
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Modules in Underwater Archaeology are taught at the Department of Archaeology at The University of Nottingham.

All levels are offered with modules available as part of the Archaeology BA and BSc programmes, a Masters and a PhD in underwater archaeology topics.

Archaeologists at Nottingham can participate in museum curation.

Undergraduate studies

The BA Archaeology aims to introduce you to the discipline of archaeology and to explain how archaeologists use evidence to interpret the past. You will progress from the first-year core modules to a more in-depth, scientific approach in the second and third years. It is compulsory for you to gain excavation experience in the UK or overseas.

BA Archaeology

Optional modules in BA Archaeology

Underwater Archaeology V62346

The module functions as an introduction to Underwater Archaeology and, using specific case studies, will discuss the full range of underwater remains from shipwrecks and sunken harbours to logboats and lake dwellings. The aim is to provide students with a broad grounding in the subject and, through the selection of an appropriate essay topic and seminar discussion, allow them to specialise in areas of the subject that they find most stimulating. At the end of this module the student will be able to: Outline the range and scope of underwater archaeological evidence; Describe the main methods, principles and techniques of underwater archaeological investigation (and express how these differ from those applied to sites located on land); Discuss some of the difficulties faced by underwater archaeologists such as the impact of legislation regarding shipwrecks and items found in the sea; the difference between treasure hunting and archaeological research; the costs of underwater excavation and the conservation of waterlogged remains.


Submerged Worlds: Lost Lands and Sunken Cities V63SUB

An overview of the archaeological evidence for submerged settlements. The module will cover the full range of submerged 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.

Postgraduate studies

On-site masters courses

MRes Archaeology (Underwater path)

This Underwater Archaeology path of the MRes aims to provide students with a sound practical, methodological and theoretical grounding in underwater archaeology allowing them to develop the skills needed for a career in the subject. Masters students follow an individually tailored programme of study, supported by the research and teaching expertise of our staff. As well as studying particular maritime and freshwater topics, students will learn the core skills and techniques needed to be an effective underwater fieldworker.

Full course details


Masters level modules

Perspectives in Underwater Archaeology V64041 (30 credits)

This module provides a broad introduction to the current methods and practice of Underwater Archaeology. Rather than a specific time period or geographical area, 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 1500 BC to the last century. Among the issues tackled are:

  • Methods and techniques of underwater excavation
  • Post-excavation processing of underwater material
  • The problems of conservation and wet finds processing
  • Shipwrecks from 1200 BC to the present day

Maritime Archaeology V64039 (30 credits)

Following an introduction to ship types of all periods found throughout Europe this module will look at the main issues facing archaeologists and heritage managers working in the maritime zone. Using the UK as a key study area, it will introduce students to practical issues relating to maritime and coastal zone management, the conflicts of development vs. conservation, excavation vs. monitoring, legislation and current threats to the maritime zone.

Freshwater Archaeology (30 credits)

This module will examine the range of archaeological sites encountered in freshwater environments with a specific focus on the study of prehistoric European lake dwellings. Evidence from sites in Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Poland, Ireland and Scotland will be examined. The module will also introduce students to the logistics and practices of working in freshwater environments, introducing key skills in underwater excavation and surveying. In addition students will be introduced to the study of plant remains from submerged deposits which will include a practical class examining waterlogged material from a crannog site in Argyll.

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 legislative changes. This list is an example of typical modules that we offer, not a definitive list.

Postgraduate research PhD or MPhil courses 

It is possible to carry out research leading to an MPhil or a PhD in a topic related to underwater archaeology. Contact Dr. Jon Henderson to discuss potential research topics.

Midlands4Cities funding

The Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership supports the personal and professional development of the next generation of arts and humanities doctoral researchers. Studentships are available to UK/EU students.

How to apply to the University of Nottingham through Midlands4Cities


Related research centres

Centre for Late Antique and Byzantine Studies

Institute for Medieval Research

Centre for Spartan and Peloponnesian Studies

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Underwater Archaeology Research Centre

The University of Nottingham
School of Humanities
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 4842