BA Archaeology and Anthropology
Explore humanity from its earliest origins to the cultures and societies of today with our BA Archaeology and Anthropology 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 environmental and ethical performance (People and Planet University League 2023/24)
- In 2023, the University of Reading was the first ever winner of the Times Higher Education (THE) award for Outstanding Contribution to Environmental Leadership
- 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)
- Top 3 in the UK for teaching quality in Archaeology (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024)
- 100% of students in the Department of Archaeology 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)
Explore the archaeological past and cultures of today
Our BA Archaeology and Anthropology course allows you to combine two fascinating and related disciplines. Archaeology examines the material evidence from our past and present, while anthropology focuses on human development and contemporary cultures.
Studying these disciplines together will provide you with insight into what it means to be human. This will enable you to address issues that are critical to our shared global future, including:
- the relationship between humans and environmental change
- inequality, migration and identity
- population growth and development
- human diets and health
- politics, economics and sustainability.
By examining human development, behaviour and different cultures, you’ll better understand the roots of these issues. You’ll learn how other societies have tackled comparable problems and how contemporary societies are addressing them now.
Using methodological approaches from the sciences, social sciences and humanities, you’ll explore the diversity of human experience. You will learn about the biological evolution of our earliest ancestors, the pre-historical and historical development of different cultures, and present-day ways of life and social issues.
We’ll support you to develop a broad range of subject-specific and transferable skills that span the humanities and sciences. Your learning can include:
- the investigation of artefacts recovered through excavations and standing monuments
- how material, biological, and ethnographic evidence can be used to understand past and contemporary cultures and societies
- handling human remains to learn about burial archaeology and biological anthropology
- examining how ideas of gender vary between different times and societies today
- how climate and environmental change has impacted lives past and present.
Placements and Study Abroad
You can combine your studies with short term placements or study abroad opportunities. You can also choose to take this course over four years to include a year-long professional placement or a study year abroad.
A supportive, collaborative learning environment
Join the University of Reading’s Department of Archaeology, a community of passionate and inquisitive staff, students and alumni.
We’re an international, research-intensive department with expertise that spans the sciences, humanities and social sciences. You’ll learn about global issues, enhanced by the latest developments and thinking within social and scientific archaeology and anthropology.
- Dr Alanna Cant studies how people make use of culture and the past in today’s world
- Dr Mary Lewis analyses skeletal remains to uncover the health of past peoples
- 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.
You'll also have the chance to join RUined, a student-run society for those passionate about 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.
- Read how BA Archaeology and Anthropology student Mia Dare’s studies have allowed her to view different cultures from a fresh perspective.
Field School and field trips
You will have the opportunity to put your learning into practice through your time with the Archaeology Field School. There, you will 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’ll 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 also an academic subject that will teach you valuable theoretical and practical skills, with 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
Tailor your degree to your interests with our range of optional modules and varied learning opportunities, covering:
- cultural and social diversity
- inequality and sustainable living
- biological and evolutionary anthropology
- environmental and climatic change
- material culture, heritage, and museums.
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.