About the Division of Archaeology
The University of Cambridge provides an outstanding environment for research and undergraduate and graduate teaching in archaeology, continuing its long-established international reputation for distinction in this field. We are a top-ranking Department in the UK's national reviews of research excellence (RAE2008, Times Good University Guide 2009).
The Division of Archaeology has a teaching staff of 18, and is the oldest department of its kind in the UK. It offers Undergraduate and Masters (MPhil) courses in a wide range of archaeological topics, and facilities for research leading to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in archaeology across its entire range of specialisations and periods. Undergraduate students of the Department participate in fieldtrips and excavations as a part of their study, and also have the opportunity to be involved with fieldwork abroad.
Most researchers are based in the Department of Archaeology and the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, with others in the Cambridge Archaeological Unit, the Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies (LCHES), the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA), and in the Faculties of Classics, Continuing Education, and (prior to the 2007 transfer of Ancient Near East staff into Archaeology) Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. The Division of Archaeology maintains close contact with the Departments of Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Celtic, Classics, Earth Sciences and Plant Sciences, the Quaternary Palaeoenvironments Group, and the Unit for Landscape Modelling.
The research carried out in the Department of Archaeology and at the McDonald Institute primarily falls within a series of broad, distinct and overlapping research clusters that foster links across periods, regions, methods, and theoretical approaches. This strengthens the cohesion of Cambridge's large archaeological research community and fosters its richness and diversity. There are seven clusters, each characterized by innovative theoretical and methodological studies and syntheses, humanities-based and science-based archaeology, active field projects, significant research grants, and conferences:
- Cognitive Evolution and the Human Revolution
- Human Palaeoecology
- Human Landscapes
- Materiality, Art, and Religion
- States, Urbanism, and Colonialism
- Politics, Identity, and the Body
- Heritage: Archaeology and its Contexts
Many researchers publish across these clusters, and all of these clusters comprise staff, Post-doctoral Research Fellows, PhD students, and Masters students who meet regularly through a network of seminars and project and laboratory group meetings.
Research students play a key role in the organisation of thematic or period-based research seminar groups, the regular meetings of which are open to staff, post-doctoral researchers, doctoral students, and advanced undergraduates. This epitomises our commitment to an explicit link between archaeology teaching and research.
These seminar groups encourage a research ethos throughout the student body, promote debate and engagement with the research process, and also provide undergraduates with role models for careers in research or other fields.