The Department of Archaeology and Anthropology offers innovative, flexible programmes in anthropology and archaeology. We take a “four-field” approach that includes research and teaching in archaeology, and social, biological, and linguistic anthropology; the only department in the UK to offer such a range.
Our staff and students form a tight-knit and friendly community, and we work as cooperative teams during field trips and excavations. Our teaching is led by the ongoing research of our academics, and many of our researchers are specialists in groundbreaking and employable topics, such as the scientific study of cultures and their material remains, globalisation and conflict, and human social and biological diversity.
Research is clustered around three core themes: Globalisation, Adversity, and Adaptation, and we have cross-cutting methodological and theoretical strengths in archaeological science, evolution, material culture, and fieldwork. With the latest facilities including three archaeological laboratories, an accelerated mass spectrometer for radiocarbon dating and a micro CT scanner, we also benefit from close connections with the Schools of Chemistry and Earth Sciences. We have a wide-range of the latest top-of-the-range surveying equipment (both topographical and geophysical), Ground Penetrating Radar, a GIS lab, a new teaching lab, a mountain of excavation equipment and our own vehicles, including Land Rovers.
Staff are active interdisciplinary researchers, bringing in funding from across arts and humanities, social sciences, biological and biomedical sciences, engineering, and chemistry. Many of our academic community are involved in fieldwork (both anthropological as well as archaeological) in Africa, North America, France, Turkey, and the UK.
Throughout the year we organise training excavations, field trips, and classes taught on location. Bristol’s tradition as an independent city provides a wealth of communities for anthropological study. The close links we have with heritage organisations in Bristol and across the South West–such as Bristol's City Museum and Art Gallery, the SS Great Britain, and Berkeley Castle–further allow ample opportunity for students to learn and apply new skills.
We offer three undergraduate programmes (Archaeology, Anthropology, and a combined degree) with the aim that all our students recognise the virtue of a broad perspective on humanity. Practical work is combined with scholarship, humanities with sciences, and students gain a host of both specialist and transferable skills that set them up for a range of careers. There is an active, student-led Archaeology and Anthropology Society that organises social events, lectures and other extracurricular activities for undergraduates. Postgraduate students on our taught MA programmes in Archaeology or Anthropology, or undertaking a research degree (PhD or MPhil) benefit from Departmental BAARS research seminars and other events organised by the Graduate School of Arts and Humanities.
The Department of Archaeology and Anthropology is one of five subject areas within the School of Arts, which itself forms part of the University's Faculty of Arts.
More information on our activities
The department is currently home to the bones of over 600 skeletons, excavated in the South West, which will be examined before being reburied.