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Studying archaeology (undergraduate)

Students study archaeology in different ways across the university. The core archaeology module (AA3020, Principles and Techniques in Archaeology) is available in the School of Classics to students taking degrees in Ancient History and Archaeology, Medieval History and Archaeology, BA International Hons Ancient History and Archaeology and Ancient History and Archaeology & Anthropology. A wide range of modules which are wholly archaeological or incorporate archaeology are available in the Schools of Classics, Geosciences and History. The flexibility of the St. Andrews Degree encourages students to study a wide range of subjects, archaeology is one that many choose to try and many of those who try it stay hooked.

Archaeology as taught at St Andrews

The University has a Centre for Archaeology, CATCH. The Centre brings together colleagues involved in archaeology from the Faculties of Arts and Sciences. For a list of staff involved see University staff with Archaeological Interests. Currently, the Centre’s focus is on developing research collaboration and teaching partnerships. Most archaeology teaching is undertaken by colleagues who research the culture and society of historical periods, and so archaeology at St. Andrews has a strong historical flavour. We teach some prehistory (The Archaeology of Minoan Crete, AA4149 and the Networks of the Cyclades AA4425) and students have the possibility to undertake dissertations (CL4999) in areas of archaeology that are not part of taught modules. Archaeological science is not a core part of our teaching, except in so far as it plays a part in our teaching of archaeological method. Our main strengths are in the archaeology of the Mediterranean world and mediaeval Europe, and of course in Scotland. Many of us are especially interested in seeing how the art and archaeology of past civilizations can be combined with other information about them. Our courses do not provide a full training in British archaeology appropriate for someone set on working in professional or commercial archaeology in the UK. These courses provide an excellent education in the wider use of the archaeological material for understanding ancient societies. We strongly encourage students to undertake fieldwork and/or archival work and to gain some good experience in archaeological projects. We draw on our connections with colleagues and institutions in the UK and abroad to help our students participate on projects. Recent graduates include some who have gone on to work as professional archaeologists, and others take a professional qualification in Museum Studies(with which we have strong links) and many have done further, postgraduate study in archaeology, either here or elsewhere and have gone on to work in other universities. 

Archaeological Courses

Students at St. Andrews study a range of courses in their first two (sub-honours) years. While a new specifically archaeological course is being developed at sub-honours level, archaeology is integrated into the Ancient History and Classical Studies modules. The emphasis at this point is in learning to use archaeological and historical sources together. Some modules build in a specifically archaeological week, and offer the choice of assessed work on archaeological themes within these broad courses. In AN2001 and AN2003 students are given practical classes on dealing with archaeological material like pottery, epigraphy, and numismatics and survey data. 

At Honours level we offer a wide range of courses that are entirely or largely archaeological in content. A number of these are listed below, although not all are available every year. Every Honours programme has its own rules about which courses may be taken, but most of these attract takers from a number of Honours programmes in History, Classics and related disciplines.

Degrees including Archaeology

Three Honours programmes exist in which archaeology plays a major part. These are ANCIENT HISTORY & ARCHAEOLOGY and MEDIAEVAL HISTORY & ARCHAEOLOGY, and the joint Honours degree ANCIENT HISTORY & ARCHAEOLOGY and SOCIAL ANTHROPOLOGY. It is also possible to study ancient History and archaeology as part of the Bachelor of Arts (International Honours) degree which the University runs jointly with the College of William and Mary in Virginia, USA. 

In each case students take the core course, AN3020 Principles and Techniques in Archaeology, and then a selection from a list of approved modules in archaeology and in the history of the period of your choice. You are not restricted to only mediaeval or only ancient courses. Candidates for this degree often attend the Summer Schools run at the British School at Athens and the British School of Rome. One popular option within these degrees is the chance to write a dissertation on some subject of archaeological and historical interest.

Students studying for these joint degrees are prominent in the Student Archaeological Society and in archaeology in St. Andrews more generally. If you would like to know more about studying at St. Andrews, have a look at Undergraduate Study at St. Andrews.

Sample of Archaeological Honours Modules available in the School of Classics

Other Honours Modules may be available in the Department of Medieval History

Archaeological Fieldwork Opportunities

Every year we provide students with information about placements on archaeological/archival projects. Some of our staff have active fieldwork programmes and we have on-going collaborative research projects in St Andrews too. When these programmes are running students are encouraged to apply for placement. If they are not running, every effort is made to help students find a place on an archaeological project or on one of the British School Summer Schools.

The Centre for Late Antique Studies and the Centre for Landscapes studies are also concerned with a number of archaeological research projects. 

Fieldwork at Bronze Age Site of Phylakopi, Melos, Greece



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