BA Ancient History and Archaeology
Immerse yourself in the ancient Greco-Roman world, and discover how their cultures continue to influence the world today, with our BA Ancient History and Archaeology degree.
Choose the University of Reading
- Top 100 in the world for Archaeology (QS World Rankings by Subject 2023)
- Ranked 1st in the UK for research quality and research outputs in Archaeology (Times Higher Education Institutions Ranked by Subject, based on its analysis of REF 2021)
- 95% of our research in Classics is of international standing (Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021), combining 4*, 3* and 2* submissions – Classics)
- The University of Reading scored 2nd best for teaching quality in Archaeology (The Times & Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024)
- 100% of students in the Department of Archaeology and 100% of students studying BA Ancient History said our teaching staff were good or very good at explaining things (National Student Survey, 2023)
- Overall, 97% of graduates from Archaeology are in work or further study within 15 months of graduation (based on our analysis of HESA data © HESA 2023, Graduate Outcomes Survey 2020/21; includes all Archaeology responders)
As a Joint Honours student, your programme is shared with the Department of Classics, where instructors are at the forefront of their disciplines. Their research feeds directly into your studies, exposing you to the latest developments in the field.
Explore the past through archaeological and historical techniques
At Reading, our BA Ancient History and Archaeology joint degree combines the study of ancient history – and its political, military, social and cultural contexts – with invaluable archaeological training.
You'll immerse yourself in the rich cultures of Greece and Rome from around 2000BC to 600AD, and discover how these ancient civilisations have influenced later periods and the world we know today. Your archaeological studies will take you even further back in time, broadening your geographical focus and enabling you to experience the excitement of genuine discovery.
We'll support you to develop skills that span the humanities and sciences. Your learning can include:
- the investigation of artefacts, monuments and museum collections
- the development of empires in Mesopotamia, Egypt and Rome
- ancient Greek and Roman history, culture and society
- the role of religion in social change through different time periods
- examining how ideas of gender are reflected and imposed through the historical and material world.
Placements and Study Abroad
A supportive, collaborative learning environment
- Read about Marcie Weeks’s experience as a joint honours student in Archaeology.
We are international, research-intensive departments with expertise that spans the sciences, humanities and social sciences. You’ll learn about global issues, enhanced by the latest developments and thinking within archaeology and ancient history.
- Professor Hella Eckardt is demonstrating Britain’s long history of diversity
- Professor Aleks Pluskowski is using environmental archaeology to provide a different perspective on the impact of religious change
- Dr Emma Aston brings her love for ancient Greece to the classroom, making her teaching exciting and accessible
- Professor Barbara Goff turns to the classical world to address today’s pressing issues.
You'll also have the chance to join RUined, a student-run society for those with a passion for archaeology. RUined is a great way to meet people across Reading, build your network, and participate in events like club nights, quizzes, alcohol-free socials, and the annual summer and winter formals.
Field School and field trips
Put your learning into practice through our Archaeology Field School, which is optional on this degree. You’ll gain hands-on experience in all aspects of an archaeological excavation, including:
- finds processing
- studying ancient plant and animal remains.
Beyond the Field School, many of our modules include field trips to sites and museums around England. You will be encouraged to get involved with research excavations in the UK and Europe, spanning prehistoric monuments, Roman cities, and medieval castles.
Archaeology is not just about digging – it's an academic subject that will teach you valuable theoretical and practical skills. You’ll also have opportunities to use specialist equipment and GIS (geographical information systems), work in laboratories, and access the University's three on-campus museums.
Flexible study options
At Reading, you can explore different periods of ancient history through both literary and material sources.
Your studies will address important questions relevant to our global future, including human diets and health, environmental change, politics and power, inequality, migration and identity.
By studying human societies through time, you’ll understand how the critical issues of today have roots in the past, and you’ll gain insights from how previous cultures tackled comparable problems.
You can enhance your knowledge and understanding of the ancient world through varied learning opportunities, such as:
- optional Latin and Greek language modules
- hands-on experience with artefacts from the University’s Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology, which features one of the largest collections of Greek and Egyptian antiquities in Britain.
Skills for life
Throughout your degree, you’ll gain a broad range of skills and experiences that are highly regarded by employers, including:
- the ability to analyse and understand complex information
- the ability to research and present findings in a coherent manner
- empathy with others from diverse cultures, backgrounds and beliefs.
All our degree programmes include professional development training and further opportunities, supported by the University’s dedicated Careers Service.