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Degree Structure

Prospectus 2020 entry cover crop


Degree Structure

You have between six and eight lectures and one or two supervisions each week. You may also have language classes, seminars and/or practicals. You’re assessed each year, through written exams and coursework. Some modules may include assessed practicals/fieldwork. Most students also write a 10,000 word dissertation in Year 3.

Year 1

You pick three from seven core archaeology, language and biological anthropology modules. Your fourth can be another core module, or a module from psychology, social anthropology, sociology or politics/international relations. 


Core modules


Years 2 and 3

You can pursue one of four single-subject tracks. They can also be combined as Archaeology and Biological Anthropology or Assyriology and Egyptology. 



Year 2

You take modules on theory and practice, data analysis, and the archaeology of a particular period or region. The fourth is either another period/region option, a biological anthropology module or one from another Tripos such as Classics or Human, Social and Political Sciences (HSPS). 

Year 3

You complete at least four weeks of fieldwork before Year 3. You write a dissertation and study advanced archaeological thought, archaeology in the wider world, plus additional modules from Archaeology, or from another Tripos such as Classics or HSPS. 



Year 2

You take four modules: Mesopotamian archaeology, Babylonian language, and two from other course options (one can be from Classics or HSPS). 

Year 3

You undertake a four-week study tour and/or fieldwork before Year 3. You take further modules in Babylonian and Assyrian language, Mesopotamian archaeology, Mesopotamian history or culture, or Sumerian language. The fourth can be your dissertation or another period/region option, a biological anthropology module or one from another Tripos such as Classics or HSPS. 



Year 2

You take modules in Egyptian language and archaeological methods and concepts, plus two modules on society, religion and death in Ancient Egypt. 

Year 3

You undertake a four-week study tour and/or fieldwork before Year 3. Alongside a core Egyptian language module and two Egyptian archaeology modules, you will also write a dissertation.


Biological Anthropology

Year 2

You take a module on data analysis and interpretation, plus two modules from: human ecology and behaviour, human evolution and comparative human biology. You select your fourth from options offered elsewhere in this course, or from another Tripos such as Psychological and Behavioural Sciences (PBS) or HSPS.

Year 3

You take a module on major topics in human evolutionary studies and you write a dissertation. You take further modules from a range including biological anthropology, archaeology and PBS. 


Core modules in Year 1


A1. World Archaeology

This module focuses on key thresholds in the unfolding story of how and why societies change, starting from the origins of the human species. You will study the emergence of culture and the use of symbols, domestication of plants and animals, and the development of social inequalities and leadership. 

A2. Archaeology in action

This module gives a comprehensive introduction to the methods and practices involved in archaeological field and lab research. The field trips introduce you to archaeological research on the ground (and from the air), including ways of surveying and mapping landscapes, the reconstruction of the environment in the past, and the investigation of human life-ways in settlements. 

A3. Introduction to the cultures of Egypt and Mesopotamia

This module provides a broad survey of the archaeology and history of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, introducing you to key themes and approaches in the study of these two regions. The module provides outline histories of the regions and introduces the geography, archaeology, society, literature, art, belief systems and mortuary practices of these areas. 

A4. Being human: interdisciplinary perspectives

This module introduces students to ways of looking at humans in different relevant disciplines, including social and biological anthropology. How does understanding humans as biological organisms or as members of cultures sometimes radically different from ours change how we understand the past and human societies?

B1. Humans in biological perspective

This module provides a broad introduction to biological anthropology and covers major subject areas such as primate biology and behaviour, human evolution, adaptation to different environments and life history theory. 

E1. Egyptian language 1

This module offers an introduction to Middle Egyptian, the classical phase of the ancient Egyptian language that developed around 2000 B.C. It provides a firm grounding in the fundamentals of the Egyptian hieroglyphic script and grammar, using a range of ‘set texts’ drawn from original sources. 

M1. Babylonian language 

This module, which presumes no previous knowledge of languages, introduces you to Babylonian as used in the Law Code of Hammurapi (c. 1760 BC) and the inscriptions of Sennacherib, king Assyria (c. 700 BC).