Training the next generation of archaeological pioneers
Why choose this course?
The MA in Field Archaeology offers a perfect blend of theory and practice, equipping you with wide-ranging, advanced practical skills, while giving you a deep theoretical knowledge and understanding of the logistical challenges, legal requirements and ethics involved in archaeological fieldwork. It is both challenging and rewarding.
York has been called the ‘heritage capital of the UK’. Here, we have routine contact with local, national and international leaders in archaeology and heritage management. We work closely with our neighbours at the Council for British Archaeology, English Heritage and Natural England, as well as local commercial units including York Archaeological Trust. You will also meet visiting lecturers of national standing, including John Oxley, the most experienced Local Authority Archaeologist in the UK, and Patrick Ottaway, formerly Fieldwork Director of York Archaeological Trust and now a respected archaeological consultant. You will also:
-Develop wide-ranging advanced field skills
-Build a deeper understanding of the theoretical, legislative and ethical context of archaeological fieldwork
-Study among a community of practitioners that is unrivalled in the UK
-Gain work experience with nationally significant public and private organisations
-Develop skills and knowledge essential for varied archaeological careers and research
-Learn from leading figures in archaeological research and fieldwork
-Receive close personal mentoring from experienced, well-connected staff
The MA in Field Archaeology is a flexible course, devised to meet demand for professional training in the UK and worldwide. It will give you a thorough knowledge of how, and why, archaeological fieldwork has arrived at its current state and acquaint you with the key methods employed in modern fieldwork, analysis and dissemination. It will enable you to think strategically about project design and tactically about project implementation.
Who is it for?
The course aims to ground you in European, and particularly UK, archaeology, so it is well suited to graduates of Archaeology. However, graduates in History, Geography and related disciplines often bring complementary perspectives that are greatly valued by both teachers and students. Also lessons and perspectives from Europe are relevant to archaeological fieldwork contexts worldwide. Individuals with some practical experience who wish to develop their careers by advancing their appreciation of the wider context of archaeology will also benefit from this course.
What can it lead to?
The MA in Field Archaeology aims to turn out not just archaeological practitioners, but leaders and creative thinkers with the imagination to advance the discipline, as well as their own careers. Some of our graduates go on to become project officers, curators and managers in the heritage industry. Others progress to further study, including doctoral research.
MA Field Archaeology students have a unique opportunity to gain practical work experience in a professional field environment with one of the many leading archaeological organisations based in and around York. You will work alongside experienced professionals on projects that enable you to gain new skills, as well as put into use those skills gained during your taught courses.
-To provide experience of organising archaeological fieldwork and interpreting results within a professional environment.
-To consolidate knowledge and understanding of data gathering or analysis as developed in one or more of the taught modules.
During your placements you will get involved with one or more of the following:
-Develop a practical understanding of how archaeological fieldwork is planned and carried out in an integrated way.
-Gain detailed knowledge of how ecofactual or artefactual assemblages might be identified, quantified, analysed and interpreted.
-Become familiar with the ways in which field archaeology is organised and administered, and of the pressures it is subject to, working with a local government organisation or national organisation with offices in York.
Although the organisations providing placements vary from year to year, according to availability, those regularly offering such opportunities include City of York Council, the Portable Antiquities Scheme, the York Archaeological Trust, AOC Archaeology and various other commercial archaeology units.
By the end of your MA in Field Archaeology you will have:
-Developed an awareness of the organisational and legislative context within which fieldwork operates in the UK
gained a detailed knowledge of the varied techniques of site evaluation used today
-Become aware of the practicalities, and problems, of implementing archaeological projects and understood the implications of this for strategy and project design
-Grasped the processes of analysing stratigraphic, spatial, artefactual and palaeoecological material, the objectives of this work, and how it is managed
-Surveyed the range of mechanisms for synthesising, archiving and disseminating the evidence generated by fieldwork
-Developed your understanding of how the profession operates in “the real world”, through work placements and field visits
-Developed your ability to gather and organise information and arguments in a critical and independent manner, through writing essays and producing projects
-Undertaken a piece of independent research on a topic within field archaeology
-Developed your presentational skills through the delivery of seminar papers on a range of diverse topics
The practical skills and theoretical knowledge gained on the course are applicable to a wide range of archaeological careers, as well as further study and research.
Course postgraduates have gone on to pursue research degrees or take up managerial positions working for museum, conservation and archaeological services and for local councils, national authorities, field units and heritage bodies. Others have set up their own archaeological businesses, both within the UK and in other countries. Some of the organisations now employing our students include:
-The National Trust
-Commercial archaeological units
-York Archaeological Trust
-The Council for British Archaeology
-National Park services
-UK and overseas museum services
-Yorkshire Museums Trust
-Portable Antiquities Scheme
-Churches Conservation Trust