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Archaeology and Ancient History (BA)

  • VVC4

3 years (full-time) / Options available Please contact the Admissions Tutor for details (part-time) / n/a (distance / e-Learning)

The integrated BA in Archaeology and Ancient History provides the ideal opportunity for students to combine traditional academic study with the development of practical skills. As a student at Cardiff, you will learn with staff who undertake cutting-edge research on the history and archaeology of the Classical World in a very wide range of subjects (such as the art and archaeology of Archaic and Classical Greece, early Rome, Greek and Roman warfare, Roman Britain, the later Roman empire, and Greek and Roman religion). You will also benefit from the Department of Archaeology & Conservation’s facilities including state of the art teaching and research laboratories, dedicated geophysical and surveying equipment and a range of sophisticated equipment for the analysis of artefacts, including a scanning electron microscope. During the summer after the first year, you will also complete a four-week placement on an excavation; placements are arranged, approved, funded and assessed by the department.

Key Facts

Duration 3 years
How to apply
Typical places available The School admits 260 students each year to its undergraduate degree programmes.
Typical applications received 1,650
Scholarships & Bursaries
Typical A-level offer ABB / BBB
Admissions Tutors Dr Shaun Tougher - Ancient History
Dr Alan Lane - Archaeology
Tel Number Ancient History 029 2087 4470
Archaeology 029 2087 5627
Email address
School website

This is a three year long degree programme comprising of some core modules that provide essential skills and training as well as a wide variety of optional modules for you to select from in order to tailor your degree to meet your interests.

You can also take further courses in the humanities and social sciences thereby developing the range of skills and knowledge required of the historian, and providing a broad based first year which equips you with a range of skills and knowledge.

Year One

In the first year, students study three subjects: a general introduction to Greek and Roman history (Ancient History); a general introduction to the archaeology of the human past (Archaeology A); and either an introduction to archaeological skills (Archaeology B), or another subject of their choice. Thus, in their first year, BA Archaeology and Ancient History students take the following modules:

Ancient History

  • Introduction to Ancient Greek History
  • Introduction to Roman History

Archaeology A

  • Archaeology of the Greek and Roman World
  • British Prehistory
  • Post Roman and Medieval Britain

plus one of the following:

  • Human Origins, Complexity and Civilisation
  • Ancient Egypt

In addition, first-year students take either Archaeology B, or modules from a wide range of other options in the School of History, Archaeology and Religion, or in any other school of the university (subject to timetable and entry requirements).

Years Two and Three

A list of modules currently available is below:

Core modules:

  • Archaeological Fieldwork
  • Independent Second Year Study

and either

  • History of Archaeological Thought


  • Literary Evidence for Ancient Historians
  • Material Evidence for Ancient Historians

Ancient History Option Modules:

  • The Roman Army
  • Expansion and Conflict in the Greek Poleis
  • Kingdoms, Cities and Hellenization
  • Early Rome: History and Legend
  • Rome and Carthage
  • Conquest and Crisis: the Roman Republic
  • Roman Imperial History 31 BC-AD 138
  • The Later Roman Empire AD 284-602
  • Byzantium: The Golden Age, c. AD 850-1050
  • Greek and Roman Medicine
  • Greek Values
  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Gods and the Polis
  • Roman Religion
  • Julian the Apostate
  • Athens in the Age of Demosthenes and Lykourgos
  • Science and Technology in the Graeco-Roman World
  • Army and Society: Homer to Alexander
  • Hellenistic Art and Architecture
  • Life in Ancient Rome
  • Houses in Roman Italy
  • The Etruscans: History and Society
  • Art and Power in Rome, 211 BC - AD 138
  • Special Subject Dissertation (Year 3)

Language modules - optional

  • Reading Latin 1
  • Reading Greek 1
  • Reading Latin 2
  • Reading Greek 2
  • Latin Historical Texts
  • Greek Historical Texts

Archaeology Option Courses:

  • Iron Age Britain
  • Complex Societies in Barbarian Europe
  • Aegean Bronze Age: Emergence to Collapse
  • Art and Archaeology of Archaic Greece
  • Art and Archaeology of Classical Greece
  • Roman Britain
  • Death and Burial in the Roman World
  • Celtic Britain and Ireland
  • Archaeology of Late Antiquity
  • Early Anglo-Saxon England
  • Analysis of artefacts
  • Museology
  • Technology and artefacts

The School of History, Archaeology and Religion offers programmes that are exciting, cutting edge, research- led and in tune with demand. The School maintains a thoroughly student-orientated approach to the acquisition of knowledge and skills and offering the highest quality learning environment in which individuals can develop.

Teaching is delivered through a mixture of lectures, practicals, seminars, workshops, field courses and tutorials. Practical classes form an important part of the Archaeology programmes. They have been specifically designed to show you how the theory works in practice by giving you hands-on experience. Staff on all programmes place value on small teaching groups and tutorials, and on contact with students. They believe that seminars and tutorials are an essential part of learning: they allow you to develop your skills in setting out your ideas and arguments and in communicating your knowledge, skills which are developed through the range of assessment methods we use in our modules. In addition, our degrees focus strongly on the development of skills essential for many careers.

The School’s programmes develop a range of important intellectual skills, including critical thinking, evaluating evidence, constructing arguments based on evidence, and presenting opinions effectively in writing and in debate. You will also gain valuable practical skills — for example, team-working, independent research and time management.

You will be assigned a Personal Tutor who is able to advise on academic, non-academic and personal matters in a confidential and informal manner. Students may have problems from time to time and the personal tutor system is designed to overcome these as effectively and quickly as possible. Strong pastoral support within the School is supplemented by university-wide assistance in housing, finances and career development.

Welsh language teaching

The department provides significant opportunities for learning and teaching through the medium of Welsh. Subject to staff availability, seminar teaching in Welsh is available on some or all of the major core courses, and at least one Welsh language option is offered in Years Two and Three. Welsh language supervision is also available for long essays (Exploring Historical Debate) and dissertations, and students may elect to write all or some of their assessed work and examinations in Welsh.

Typical A-level Offer  ABB / BBB
Typical WBQ Offer Grade A in the Core, with AB at A-level
Typical Int Bacc Offer  32 points, including scores of 5/4 at Higher Level
Other Applications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Please see detailed admissions and selection criteria for more information.

A list of commonly accepted alternative entry qualifications and admissions and selection criteria for this degree programme can be read here.

The School believes in giving its graduates the best opportunities to find employment. We organise interactive workshops with the Careers Service to help students identify their skills and attributes. Some of our graduates enter professions which make direct use of their academic expertise such as work in archives or museums. The majority however compete very successfully in a wide range of other fields.

In 2010, 62% of the School’s graduates were in employment within six months of graduation while a further 22% were engages in further study.

Next intake:

School Contact

Name: Dr Alan Lane (Archaeology) 

Telephone: +44 (0)29 2087 4259 

Fax: +44 (0)29 2087 4929 


School Website:

School Contact

Name: Dr Shaun Tougher  

Telephone: +44 (0) 29 2087 0903 



School Website:

More information

School of History, Archaeology and Religion