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PhD experience

You'll be encouraged to play an active role in our vibrant research environment.

The Archaeology department is an internationally renowned centre for social and theoretical archaeology, with a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary approaches cross-cutting the humanities and the sciences. 

  • You’ll be taught by academic staff who conduct world-leading research in cutting edge fields such as archaeology of identity, ritual, medicine, materiality, monumentality, death, cosmology and religion.
  • You will be part of an active research community; 90% of our research was judged as having “very considerable impact” (3*) in the most recent UK-wide research review (REF 2014).
  • You'll benefit from research links with key disciplines, including social anthropology, museology, history of art and visual studies, geography and history.

Archaeology students in their own words

Part-time PhD student Sarah Botfield discusses her thesis, entitled 'Representations of the Natural and Cultural World in Mid-Late Neolithic Ceramics'.

Your role in our department

Everyone is really friendly. People are very open. You're put at your ease, and I've always felt very welcome to ask questions, to talk to lecturers.

Stephanie / Past MA and PhD archaeology student

You will be encouraged to play an active part in the department. Our students run a Postgraduate Discussion Forum and are invited to the Archaeology Research Seminar Series.

Many also routinely organise conferences connected with their research supported by the Archaeology department, as well as sessions at major conferences such as the Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG). 

Postgraduate field research is supported by our technician, who provides training and advice regarding the use of equipment and fieldwork methods.

We also provide advice to our students in preparing research for publication in peer-reviewed journals, edited collections and monographs.

Your working environment

All research students have access to working space in a large open-plan office shared with Art History and Visual Studies.

This dedicated space provides computer facilities, shelving space, and an interdisciplinary collegiate atmosphere. University support is also excellent with a new state of the art student resources building in the heart of the campus adjacent to our School.

Breadth of expertise

These themes are addressed in relation to various periods and regions. Here are some examples.

Prehistory in Britain and Western Europe (the Mesolithic, Neolithic, and Iron Age); Near Eastern archaeology, Mediterranean archaeology (Bronze Age, Greek and Roman periods), African archaeology, Pacific archaeology, and the historical archaeology of Australia, the United States and Britain.

We are also known for our diverse fieldwork methods, ranging from survey and excavation, through to oral history, ethnography and ethnoarchaeology. 

We are an internationally recognised centre for social archaeology. Our vibrant research is characterised by a number of themes. These include:

  • Identity, for example gender, ethnicity, religion, and sexual politics
  • Place, landscape, and monumentality
  • History, theory, and philosophy of archaeology
  • Material culture and social practice
  • Social complexity and the development of state-organised societies
  • Archaeological heritage and the social significance of the past