BA Ancient History and Archaeology
Find out how we're adapting during COVID-19.
Studying BA Ancient History and Archaeology enables you to understand the societies and people of the past. You'll have the opportunity to explore ancient Greece and Rome, join an archaeological dig, and study abroad.
Ancient History is the study of the Greek and Roman worlds over a period spanning from 2000 BC to around 600 AD; it covers parts of modern Africa, Asia and Europe. You will learn about these ancient worlds in their political, literary, social, cultural and religious contexts.
At the University of Reading, our expertise in archaeology starts with the earliest humans and spans up until the medieval period. We focus mainly on British, European and Near Eastern Archaeology, but explore other regions across the world. You will learn about burial archaeology, material culture, bioarchaeology (including human remains), forensics, past environments (including geoarchaeology), museums and gender archaeology.
In the Department of Classics, our academics are at the forefront of their disciplines. Their research feeds directly into your studies, exposing you to the latest developments in the field.
The Department of Archaeology has an outstanding track record for student satisfaction, with scores consistently between 90-100% for overall student satisfaction in the National Student Survey, 2010-2021. Core modules will provide you with a solid historical and archaeological grounding and optional modules will allow you to explore the different periods, cultures and countries that interest you. Popular modules taken by students on this degree include: The Ancient World on Film and Rome's Mediterranean Empire.
Your first year is about discovery and experimentation. You will address important modern questions and trace them back to their roots, exploring different periods of ancient history through both literary and material sources. You can enhance your knowledge of the ancient world through optional Latin and Greek language modules, or deepen your understanding through hands-on experience with artefacts from the Ure Museum.
If you are interested in studying abroad, you have the opportunity to spend a term at one of our partner universities in your second year, getting to know a new academic and cultural environment. You can also apply to study at the British School at Athens and the British School at Rome, which both offer summer school opportunities to University of Reading students.
This degree programme is also available as a four-year course, giving you the option of spending your third year on a placement or studying for one year at a University abroad, gaining valuable professional and international experience. You can also combine the two options by spending one semester studying abroad and then undertaking a half-year professional placement abroad or back in the UK.
We provide opportunities for you to undertake placements in a variety of contexts. Placements are an excellent way to enhance your work-related skills and develop a network of contacts, as well as strengthen your employability prospects.
Opportunities are available working across the archaeological, heritage, planning and museum sectors including: research institutions, government organisations, local planning authorities, archaeological consultancies, field units, specialists and archivists. The University's museums – including the Department's own Ure Museum – also provide a number of voluntary work placements, ranging from helping with school visits to preparing displays and exhibitions. Alternatively you can choose a placement in a non-related business or industry, exploring different career options and enhancing your employability by drawing on the many non-vocational, transferable skills you obtain from an Ancient History and Archaeology degree.
Recent examples include:
- Traineeship with Oxford Archaeology
- Traineeship at the Field School
- Archaeological science placement at QUEST, the University of Reading’s scientific consultancy company
- Volunteering at the Ure Museum, Cole Museum of Zoology and the Museum of English Rural Life
- Human remains placement
- Mediterranean Palaeoclimate Project placement
- Hominin Skeletal Morphology placement
- Archaeological Graphics placement
- Lithics Reference Collection placement
- “Developing Experimental Archaeology for Research and Training” placement
- “The Ecology of Crusading: Isotope Analysis and Faunal Remains” placement
- Summer Enterprise Experience and Discovery internship scheme
Our Department has a dedicated member of staff in charge of placements, who can provide you with advice and support.
Students opting to undertake a standard three-year degree course will also have the opportunity to take a fully-credited placement or to spend a single term at one of our partner Universities abroad. Current options include the Universities of Malta, Aarhus (Denmark), Torún (Poland) and the University of Florida in Gainesville (U.S.A).