Marcie Weeks explored many options when deciding where to study archaeology at university. It wasn't until a visit to the Department of Archaeology at the University of Reading where she "fell in love'' and identified her first choice.
“Upon visiting the University of Reading it became my first choice very quickly. I fell in love with how friendly and welcoming the department are and the exciting and community feel to it. The lecturers are warm and dedicated to their subjects, and it is a flexible course with a focus on hands-on learning which appeals to me. The focus on the field school and practical training also really drew my attention, as actually doing this real archaeology is my favourite way to learn.”
Marcie chose to combine studying archaeology with history. This joint degree allowing her to gain insight and practical experience in these closely aligned subjects.
“I love the combined nature of my course. At A level I enjoyed History, particularly working with written primary source material. By choosing to combine History with Archaeology I have been able to continue expanding on the skills of studying primary literature, but also learning how to interpret artefacts, sites and other archaeological evidence.
It has allowed me to develop a huge variety of skills needed to study the past. My favourite area of study is medieval archaeology, particularly Anglo-Saxon England. But I also have a huge interest in osteoarchaeology and funeral archaeology.”
Our state-of-the-art home provides a perfect hub for our archaeology community. Here, students are able to access the facilities needed to succeed throughout their studies.
“The Department has many labs, one in particular I've spent a lot of time in is the bones lab. I've also made use of the designated study space for undergraduates in the Archaeology Building, known as the Reading Room. The space is a brilliant environment to work in, discuss the subject material, share ideas and get to know students across all the year groups.”
As well as the resources available within the Department, there are many others available to enrich our students learning at the University, including three on-campus museums.
“The University library and e-resources provide a wide scope of materials to research from. They even have special collections connected to the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL).”
positive learning environment
Being part of a like-minded and passionate community appealed to Marcie. At Reading, staff take the time to get to know their students and our flexible degrees provide a range of options on where to focus your learning as your studies progress, and give you the option of adapting your degree to suit your chosen interests.
"The learning experience was hands-on and engaging. Everyone cares about the discipline so much that the atmosphere is great for learning and research. Lecturers make sure that you have examples in class to handle what you are studying, and are always eager to take time to discuss archaeology, the course material, careers and current developments in the field with students.
You are able to build relationships with members of staff, and gain support and advice from people who are enthusiastic and interested in what you have to say.”
Marcie is also a hard of hearing student and is thankful for the support she has received in her time at Reading.
“The Department helped immensely with my adjustment to university life and do all they can to make classes as accessible as possible.”
Ruined student society
Marcie has enjoyed being involved with the RUined Archaeology student society, which has offered her the opportunity to expand her network and make some lifelong memories.
“Being part of RUined has allowed me to make some of my best memories at University so far. I've made friends across all year groups, including master's students. Through RUined I've connected with people providing academic support, which was especially useful in my first year. RUined hold socials, movie nights, and share information about new opportunities in archaeology.”
Marcie's positive experience in RUined has helped her to grow in confidence and next year Marcie will become the society's Vice President, helping to plan further events and activities.
Our dedicated field school provides students access to high quality fieldwork as part of their degree while providing a brilliant experience for the entire cohort. This has been a real highlight for Marcie that she recognises as a 'truly amazing experience.'
"Not only is the field school a hugely fun few weeks, but you learn so much about practical archaeology including excavation, geophysics, finds and visitors among many other things. It provides you with skills to discuss on your CV that you cannot get anywhere else, and can really help you narrow down what aspects of archaeology are your favourite.
I attended the Silchester field school between my first and second year, but I have also had the opportunity to get work experience with the commercial unit Thames Valley Archaeological Services in Reading. I got to work with post excavation, archives, finds and other aspects of the commercial industry. I have also worked as an archaeological reporter, conducting a survey of medieval graffiti in Exeter cathedral which has since been published."
This combination of experiences has helped Marcie fine-tune her future goals.
“After completing my course I aim to work in archaeology or the heritage sector with artefacts, in post excavation or curatorship.”