Archaeology and Anthropology

Last updated: 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Archaeology and Anthropology at Oxford gives a broad, comprehensive perspective on human societies and species from the earliest prehistory to the present day.

Course Resources

Here are some general resources related to Archaeology and Anthropology.


Overview 🔗 🌟 A good overview of the course with an outline of its structure, entry requirements, and more

Course Video 🔗 🌟 Listen to the perspectives of tutors and students on Archaeology and Anthropology.

Alternative Prospectus 🔗 An overview written by students on the Archaeology and Anthropology course.

Archaeology and Anthropology is not really a joint honours course like others at Oxford, because the two subjects are taught together, and Oxford doesn't offer straight archaeology or straight anthropology course at the undergraduate level.

More things to explore

In your first year, you study 4 compulsory papers (or mods), and its approximately a 50/50 split between archaeology and anthropology but they are also combined for a lot of the papers:

Introduction to Anthropological Theory

Social and cultural anthropology, covering everything from gender and sexuality to economics.

Introduction to World Archaeology

Mostly archaeology based but with insights from anthropology being used for some case studies.

Perspectives on Human Evolution

Archaeology based, but also potentially biological/physical anthropology, and some primatology.

The Nature of Archaeological and Anthropological Enquiry

Some archaeological labs, archaeology and anthropological methods, ethics of anthropology, and the history of the disciplines.

In your second and third years (know as the Final Honour School), you study 4 compulsory papers and 3 optional papers which are spread out over the two years. You also write a dissertation.

The compulsory papers are:

Social Analysis and Interpretations

Covers archaeological and anthropological approaches to social relations and identity.

Cultural Representations, Beliefs and Practices

How social and cultural anthropologists approach representation, but also some archaeological approaches as well.

Landscape and Ecology

Archaeologically based - looking at how humans shape and are shaped by the environment.

Urbanism and Society

Archaeological look at the origin and growth of cities, but also an anthropological look at the character of urban spaces)

Again, it’s a fairly balanced approach but does have a slight archaeology bias in terms of content, but you’re encouraged to bring in insights from either discipline all the time.

The optional papers cover a lot of different topics and change from year to year but there seems to always be plenty to choose from and there are no rules saying that you have to pick a certain number of ‘archaeological’ papers or a certain number of ‘anthropological’ papers. So, if you want to start leaning towards one or the other you can start to do that now, but you can also continue a balanced approach too.

Your dissertation can be on either anthropology or archaeology or draw on approaches from both, depending on what you’re interested in. Sometimes people’s dissertations can involve doing some fairly intense lab work, or anthropological fieldwork, or using secondary sourced research to draw a new conclusion.

Rosie Crawford's YouTube Channel 🔗 🌟 YouTuber Rosie Crawford is a recent Archaeology and Anthropology graduate from Oxford, and she has many videos discussing her experiences, including suggested reading lists.

Taster Lecture 🔗 🌟 A taster lecture from the 2020 Virtual Open Days about “How hunter-gatherers lived in the past… and survived to tell the tale”.

Archaeology and Anthropology at St John's college 🔗 A video about what it’s like studying Archaeology and Anthropology at St John's College.

Application Resources

School of Archaeology Undergraduate Studies page 🔗 🌟 This has links to information about Course Structure, Course Overview, and Admissions Process - the Admissions Process page has a section on “Interviews and what to expect”, which discusses the components of the interview, as well as the short-listing criteria the tutors use, and submission of written work.

Suggested reading and resources 🔗 This list of suggested reading for all Oxford undergraduate courses includes links to the Discover Anthropology teaching resources for pre-university anthropology.

St Peter’s College Archaeology and Anthropology Preliminary Reading List 🔗 This list, compiled by St Peter's College, provides some suggestions for reading, including recent books on social anthropology, human evolution and archaeology, as well as non-academic works and films

Ideas for Wider Reading: YouTube video 🔗 🌟 This video by Archaeology and Anthropology graduate Rosie Crawford is a great starting point if you are looking for books to read around your subject.

InsideUni Archaeology and Anthropology interview experiences 🔗 🌟 Current students talk about their interview experience, as well as sharing some tips. We’re biased, but we think they’re useful!