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  • Study Type

    Full time & Part time available

  • Subject Areas

    History & Archaeology

  • Start Date

    October

  • Course Duration

    Full-time: 1 year; Part-time: 2 years

  • Course Type

    MA

  • Course Fees

    Part-time home/EU students: £ 3975 pa Full-time home/EU students: £ 7950 pa

  • Last Updated

    07 August 2017

Course content

This Master's degree in archaeology will introduce you to the major techniques, principal bodies of evidence, and central research themes and concepts deployed in archaeological practice. From this, you will develop a critical understanding of how contemporary archaeologists think, draw and write about material evidence. The programme bridges the perceived divide between theory and practice in archaeological fieldwork and cultural resource management and aims to produce a new kind of professional: one who is theoretically aware but also grounded in the craft of archaeology. In doing so, the programme will develop your capacity for interdisciplinary and innovative research in the field, based on a more critical and integrated study of landscape, architecture and material culture. Context, and an engagement with material and historical conditions, is crucial to this work-based training.

London is key to the history of archaeology in Britain and this programme explores that history, from public demand for archaeological intervention when bomb damage from the Second World War was cleared, to modern developer-funded archaeology. Practice-based teaching will focus on the archives of the Museum of London and the British Museum’s collections. You will further your learning through practical experience on field-trips and a tailor-made Birkbeck excavation programme, 'Buried Humanities'. The curriculum of this module is linked directly to the prehistoric past and will extend outwards from the city in order to compare and contrast the detailed accounts of the Thames Valley with the archaeology of the East Anglian fens. You will examine the different types of knowledge of prehistory found in site reports, the regional knowledge found in monographs and the works of synthesis more popular in the academy.

By the end of the programme, you will have developed your own research agenda in dealing with archaeological evidence. You will have confidence in your skills of reading and interpreting primary evidence, allowing you to break open the materials in archives, collections, excavation and the landscape. A crucial concern on this programme is the value of archaeology in the world and the kinds of community that participate in its practice and you will graduate with the ability to implement creative archaeological projects within the communities that now live in the landscapes archaeologists study.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 11th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2015-16 World University Subject Rankings.
This Master’s degree makes extensive use of archaeological sites, monuments and resources in London and southern England. You will become acquainted with the rich archaeological resources contained in the archives and collections of the Museum of London and the British Museum.
This programme allows you to follow your own interests via a wide choice of option modules, while also developing your research skills and undertaking a dissertation in an area that interests you.
We are located 5 minutes' walk from the British Museum and the British Library, while the Museum of London is easily reachable. Other nearby specialist centres of research include the Institute of Archaeology, which has an internationally renowned library collection and runs seminars you can attend.
Our Department of History, Classics and Archaeology is ranked in the top 20 nationally and is a world-renowned centre of original, influential research.
Our academic staff are international authorities in their respective fields, delivering stimulating teaching.
The department is home to thriving student societies and a number of affiliated research centres that actively run seminars, conferences and other events where some of the world's best scholars present their latest research.
Birkbeck Library has an extensive archaeology collection, including the major specialist journals, and access to online materials.

Visit the Archaelogical Practice (MA) page on the Birkbeck, University of London website for more details!

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