Archaeology and Classical Civilisation BA


Fact file - 2018 entry

BA Jt Hons Archaeology and Classical Civilisation
UCAS code
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 offers the opportunity to combine a broad engagement with classical culture and society with learning archaeological skills and techniques, to enable first-hand study of anicent material culture.
Read full overview

This course offers the opportunity to combine a broad engagement with classical culture and society with learning archaeological skills and techniques, to enable first-hand study of ancient material culture. Study of Greek or Latin is not required but may be taken as part of the course.

Year one 

Two core modules give a broad introduction to the history and culture of Greece and Rome and their receptions. You may also either choose to study Ancient Greek or Latin, or pick two out of three modules focusing on topics in ancient history, classical literature, or classical 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 study of Latin or ancient Greek.

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 Classics.

Entry requirements

A levels: ABB

English language requirements 

IELTS 7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

If you require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education, which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

Students who successfully complete the presessional course to the required level can progress onto their chosen degree course without retaking IELTS or equivalent.

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.  


The following is a sample of the typical modules that we offer as at the date of publication but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and the module information in this prospectus is provided for indicative purposes only.

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 rise of the city-state in the Archaic period, and Alexander the Great. You will also explore developments in Greek literary and artistic culture and as 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, to complement 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

What is archaeology? How do we decide where to excavate and what happens after that? How do we date our sites and finds? This module will answer these questions and many more! In this module we look at the history of the discipline and how the evidence uncovered during excavation is discovered, recorded, and analysed, and how we use this to provide evidence for human societies from prehistory to the present day. You also go ‘into the field’ with integrated fieldwork at nearby Wollaton Park where you can learn and practise new skills such as mapping and surveying earthworks and buildings.


The Archaeology of Britain

This module provides you with an overview of the archaeology of the British Isles from the earliest humans up to the industrial revolution. By focusing in Britain as a ‘time core’ we will provide you with a clear understanding of the dynamics of cultural change as well as introducing you to all the important sites and discoveries that are on your doorstep. Teaching is delivered in a mix of lectures, seminars and fieldtrips. The module covers the entire story of Britain, beginning in the Palaeolithic period, ranging across Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age societies, to consider the Roman occupation, Anglo-Saxon and Viking incursions, and medieval, Tudor and modern Britain. It will reveal that, as today, the British Isles have always been cosmopolitan – a rich mix of cultures and identities that have resulted from millennia of colonisations, migrations and invasions.


Archaeology: The Living and the Dead

This module deals with the archaeology of life and death in all its complexity and diversity. You will learn about the major archaeological discoveries that have fundamentally changed our interpretations of past peoples. We also look at the personalities and ideologies that have shaped our discipline, noting how changing perspectives on gender, ethnicity and class have in turn shaped our ideas about the past. The module then turns to the archaeology of death – since, paradoxically, this can tell us a huge amount about the living. The cultural and scientific study of human remains will give you insights into past diets, social status, health and attitudes towards different members of society, while the study of burial practices and rituals cast light on the structure of human societies and their beliefs, from prehistory to the modern era.



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 will understand the kinds of evidence on which ancient historians rely, as well as appreciating how contemporary preoccupations can influence the perspectives of modern scholars 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.
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 Persuasian' and 'Love and War'. Issues treated have included: the relationship of literature and society, oral culture, performance, genre, gender, religion and literature, and artistry in historical writing. For this module you will have eight 1-hour seminars over the year and two 1-hour lectures each week.
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 medium 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.


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 how we interpret archaeological evidence from multiple different perspectives. Here we explore how changes in the wider social and theoretical landscape have changed archaeological understanding through time. You will be introduced to the concepts and methods that you will put into practice in your third year dissertation or independent project, and learn how to develop a research proposal. The teaching is delivered in a mix of lectures, class workshops and research skills sessions.



Extended Source Study

This module is designed to develop your skills of research, analysis and written presentation as preparation for a 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.


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 2-hour seminars each week. 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.


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). For this module you will have a mixture of lectures, workshops, and 2-hour seminars spread across the year.


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 statesmen, 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 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.


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 and the type of work carried out by commercial units, museums, and local and national government heritage originations, with careers advice from professional archaeologists across the sector. Students will learn how archaeologists plan excavation projects, study the archaeology of standing buildings, and manage the historic environment. In the spring term, you will apply this knowledge and develop your research, presentation and team-working skills through a group multi-media heritage project focused on a local historic or archaeological site.


Exploring Archaeological Evidence 

This module is designed to provide you with a solid understanding of the theory and practice of scientific archaeology, building on what you have learnt in the first year, and covers a series of exciting topics, ranging from bioarchaeology (zooarchaeology and archaeobotany) to ancient technologies. You will learn how to identify, analyse and interpret plant remains and animal bones, and how these can be employed to study diet, economic practices and cultural identities in the past. You will explore how glass, pottery and metal objects were made, used and traded, using a range of different approaches and techniques combining theory, ethnography and scientific analysis. The module includes a combination of lectures and practical sessions which will enhance your understanding and equip you with real skills to increase your employability should you seek a career in archaeology.


Underwater Archaeology

Doing archaeology underwater is one of the most challenging but exciting contexts in which we work! This module will provide you with a broad introduction to current methods and practice of Underwater Archaeology. The module explores themes such as shipwrecks, submerged cities and sunken harbours, lake dwelling and freshwater archaeology, using case studies ranging in space from Scandinavia to Australia and in time from 1500 BC to the last century. It tackles the varied techniques of underwater excavation, finds processing and conservation, and the issue of cultural resource management vs. treasure hunting.


Empires and Identity

This module will examine the archaeology of empire, hegemony and identity in three different historical periods, exploring how archaeological material can shed light on ways in which empires were experienced by both colonisers and colonised. We will start with Rome, arguably the model for many later imperial projects, and assess the evidence for the expansion of the empire and the ways in which Roman and other identities are manifested. We will then consider the medieval empires of northern Europe, the Mediterranean, and the relationship between the Islamic world and the Crusader kingdoms of the Latin east. Finally, we will consider the Age of Discovery and the growth of European trans-Atlantic empires in the early modern era, exploring archaeological evidence for early colonial settlements, the growth of slavery, and the impact on native peoples.


Human Osteology and Evolution

What can we learn from the human skeleton and how can we tell the stories of past people from their bones? In this module you will handle real archaeological skeletons and learn how to identify their age, sex, stature and pathologies, and how we can reconstruct past populations from burial evidence. We also consider the skeleton in terms of human evolution, examining the anatomical differences between human and non-human primates, as well as the archaeology and life ways of our earliest ancestors. 


The Archaeology of Anglo-Saxon England

This module considers the archaeology of England from the end of the Roman occupation until the Norman conquest. You will explore the question of the Romano-British survival and the

formation of new Anglo-Saxon societies, evidence of pagan beliefs and the conversion to Christianity; on the development of town and rural settlement patterns, on the role of the church in society and on the Viking incursions and Danish impact on England.



Typical year three modules


Dissertation in Archaeology

This module will introduce you to original archaeological research by providing you with an opportunity to undertake and write up your own substantial piece of work of 12,000 words, on an approved topic, under the supervision of an academic member of staff. For this project you will work in a way similar to an academic archaeologist, from identifying a suitable research topic to critically evaluating the issues relating to the subject area and sustaining a coherent and cogent argument. This undertaking will involve the culmination of the range of core practical and interpretative skills acquired during the first two years of the course.



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

The dissertation is your opportunity to carry out an in-depth investigation of a chosen area, to be agreed with a 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 workshops, lectures and one-to-one tutorials.


The Roman Empire in the East

The history and culture of the eastern Mediterranean world during the Roman Empire form the subject of this module. You will explore the events of the period, the 'mechanics' of Roman imperialism (conquest, organisation, administration), and the social, economic, religious and cultural interaction between the Romans and eastern indigenous peoples. You will grapple with the nature and problems of a variety of sources - literary texts, epigraphic material, archaeological data, and visual evidence - and will consider the extent to which the surviving picture of the eastern empire and its neighbours was constructed by Rome or by the eastern peoples themselves. Modern theoretical approaches, such as those to cultural identity and imperialism, will be used and scrutinised. For this 20-credit module you will have 6 hours of lectures and one 2-hour seminar each fortnight across a ten-week semester; assessment is by a combination of coursework essay and exam.



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 studies the historical development of Sparta (in both domestic and external affairs) from the seventh to fourth centuries BC. It engages 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. For this 20-credit module you will have 6 hours of lectures and one 2-hour seminar each fortnight across a ten-week semester; assessment is by a combination of coursework essay and exam.


Jason and the Argonauts

A cross-medium, cross-genre, cross-cultural perspective on one important myth: Jason and Medea, the quest for the golden fleece, the journey of the first ship. The myth that pre-dates Homer brings together the famous fathers of Homeric heroes (Peleus, Telamon), in a gathering of the marvellous, the semi-divine and the ultra-heroic. For this module the central text will be the Argonautica of Apollonius but a wide range of texts, images and films, Greek, Roman and beyond will be part of the module. Themes include: the Greeks and the other; civilisation and colonisation; Jason and Medea; gender and sexuality; the nature of heroism; monsters, marvels and magic. For this 20-credit semester-long module, you will have two 1-hour lectures each week and one 2-hour seminar each fortnight.


Imperial Biography

This module considers the genre of literature known as Imperial Biography: that is, biographies written about the Roman Emperors. In particular, it will focus on Suetonius' Lives of the Caesars and the anonymous text known as the Historia Augusta. The module will not only look at the limitations of the genre as a whole in relation to its structure and sources, but it will also look at major themes within the lives and key case studies of specific examples - ranging from discussion of physiognomy, to gender and sexuality, omens and portents, religion and philosophy, administration and empire-building, birth and death scenes and so on. For this 10-credit module you will have 3 hours of lectures and one 1-hour seminar each fortnight across a ten-week semester.


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, covering key themes such as urban growth, trade and industry, households and daily life, guilds and the Church. 


Rome and the Mediterranean

In this module you will examine the archaeological evidence for the Roman period in Italy and the Mediterranean from 300 BC to 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. Through a combination of lectures and seminars you will learn about Rome’s expansion into Italy and the Mediterranean, and the changes that occurred in towns, domestic building, rural settlement, religion, economy and society across the period from the Republic until Late Antiquity.


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. You will explore the world of the Mycenaean palaces and citadels, their towns and trading ports, warfare, religion and cult activities, mortuary practices and ancestor worship, and their wider connections across the Mediterranean world.


Dead Important: archaeological answers to modern-day issues

Archaeology may be focused on the study of the past, but we believe that it is vitally important to help us understand the present and make a contribution to the future. This really exciting module breaks new ground by using archaeology to inform present-day concerns caused by increasing human population, intensification of food production, urbanisation, globalisation, climate change and inter-cultural conflict. None of these issues are purely modern phenomena, and this module brings an archaeological perspective covering 10,000 years of global culture change, using the innovative research being undertaken in our Department, to model bio-cultural dynamics and make a contribution to understanding and meeting the challenges facing the modern world.


Food and Culture: An exploration of tastes

Food is not just about nutrition and environment but it has also a strong socio-cultural dimension. This module takes an innovative approach to understanding the social role of food and plants, linking the past to current issues of food security, sustainability, trade and social in/stability. The module tackles issues such as the development of tastes, identity, social status, ethnicity, health and medicine, and feasting and commensality. It will explore the creation of ‘foodscapes’ and the investigation of diet and plants that cross boundaries in space and time from prehistory to the modern era, bringing together perspectives from archaeology, anthropology, sociology and geography.


Through a Glass Darkly

Ancient glass is a unique and beautiful translucent material. Since it was invented some 5000 years ago it has been used for a wide range of functions, from luxurious and decorative objects, to vessels and containers for traded liquids, to the coloured windows used in medieval churches and cathedrals. This module covers how glass is made from raw materials, how it was coloured and decorated, and how it was used in a variety of functional and ritual contexts from the Bronze Age to the medieval period. The module brings together socio-cultural and scientific perspectives to show how scientific analysis sheds light on glass technology, trade and provenance, and during practical sessions students will handle ancient glass and try out some of the techniques for themselves.




You will have a broad knowledge of the Greco-Roman world and an in-depth knowledge of specific areas of your own interest. You will have developed knowledge of archaeological theory, techniques and research methods, and, if you elected to learn Greek or Latin, language skills that will help you interpret and translate source materials. You will also have developed transferable skills including communication skills, team-working skills, independent thinking and the ability to construct a logical argument and synthesise and evaluate information.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2015, 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 £20,027 with the highest being £30000.*

In 2015, 96% 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, 2014/15. Salaries are calculated based on those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

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, by 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. 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

Our International Baccalaureate Diploma Excellence Scholarship is available for select students paying overseas fees who achieve 38 points or above in the International Baccalaureate Diploma. We also offer a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected countries, schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees. Find out more about scholarships, fees and finance for international students.


Key Information Sets (KIS)

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


How to use the data

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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