Archaeology and Anthropology

At Bristol we are proud to be the only university in Britain teaching the four fields of archaeology, social anthropology, evolutionary anthropology and linguistic anthropology at the heart of the University campus. Our courses encompass a cross-cultural study of humanity, society, communication and diversity.

We have brand new laboratory facilities and archaeological and anthropological fieldwork opportunities both in Bristol and beyond.

Why study Archaeology and Anthropology at Bristol?

Our research-led teaching has four broad perspectives: global reach, relevant interests, collaborative work and analytical skill. Our archaeologists and anthropologists study inequality and adversity, cultural diversity, the developing world, globalisation and adaptation, in far-flung places and closer to home.

We have our own lecture theatres, seminar rooms, computing facilities and brand-new scientific laboratories. We also house a radiocarbon accelerator, one of only five currently in the UK.

In our research and teaching we emphasise work with other disciplines, including psychology, sociology, religion and theology, engineering, chemistry and many others. All of our students undertake training in scientific analysis and dealing with data and some students will take this much further, for example in computational analysis of data or advanced laboratory techniques.

What kind of student would this course suit?

Are you fascinated by human nature and cultural diversity? Are you intrigued by different cultures and languages in distant continents and time periods? Perhaps you are interested in different cultures closer to home?

Do ancient sites and monuments hold a special attraction for you, or are you captivated by artefacts and material culture from societies long gone? Are you concerned about contemporary challenges of environment, inequality and development?

These courses are an excellent choice if you wish to learn about human cultural diversity past and present, and seek the opportunity to conduct fieldwork and gain valuable transferable skills.  

The student-run Archaeology and Anthropology Society hosts guest lectures and provides numerous ways to get involved. 

Your dissertation project in your final year provides the opportunity to conduct original archaeological or anthropological research in an area of particular interest to you.

Every day my inbox is flooded with opportunities – internships, research projects, extra-curricular activities – all of which are the University getting students involved. The University is constantly updating its facilities, which reinforces its friendly and inclusive environment.

Alexandra, Second year, LLB Law

How is this course taught and assessed?

Teaching is primarily through lectures, discussion groups and tutorial sessions. The programme structures are modular, with mandatory units each year on theory and practice. Optional units include more specialised themes, regions or periods. 

Field trips and outings are a regular component of the curriculum. There is also the opportunity to study abroad for one semester in the second year. 

A variety of assessment methods are used, including essays, exams, class tests, reports, notebooks, poster presentations and oral presentations.

In year three you will produce a dissertation of 12,000 words on an original topic of your choice.

What are my career prospects?

A degree in anthropology or archaeology and anthropology will equip you with a wide range of transferable skills. You will develop cross-cultural understanding, intellectual versatility, excellent written and oral communication skills, critical analysis and independent thought.

You will be skilled in self-directed learning and in your use of IT and data analysis and interpretation. Some students will undertake advanced computational analysis of cross-cultural data, which is a sought-after skill.  

Having gained experience in the study of behaviour and society, graduates find work in business, management, policy making, international development and non-governmental organisations.

Read more about what students from Archaeology and Anthropology go on to do after graduation.

Did you know?

  • Students from more than 180 countries study with us, and we share more than 150 exchange links with institutions worldwide.
  • Our Students' Union has over 200 student-run societies, and the Richmond Building, home to the Students' Union, is undergoing a £30-million renovation.
  • 11 Bristol graduates and members of staff have been awarded Nobel prizes.

Subject leaflet

Download the Archaeology leaflet 2017 (PDF, 297kB)

Disclaimer

Important disclaimer information about our courses.

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