The University of Buckingham has introduced as part of its London-based Programmes a new research MA in Archaeology: Stonehenge and the First Britons which offers a unique opportunity to study the subject of archaeology and the celebrated site.
The World Heritage Site of Stonehenge has intrigued scholars for centuries, with each succeeding generation learning more about the site and its setting, among the other henges and richly furnished burial barrows located on Salisbury Plain.
This groundbreaking London-based programme is led by Professor David Jacques, director of the internationally significant excavations at Blick Mead and Vespasian’s Camp, near Stonehenge, and supported by the latest generation of archaeologists to work in the area. Located just over 2km from Stonehenge, the Blick Mead site is providing new evidence of the first humans to occupy the Stonehenge landscape during the Mesolithic period (7960-4041 cal BC). Tantalising new evidence from these excavations suggests that this site may begin to explain why Stonehenge was built where it was.
This programme will provide opportunities for students to take part in fieldwork at the site, as well as visit the archaeological sites in the Stonehenge landscape.
The programme runs from October to September and will consist of a series of ten research seminars. These are supplemented by two optional three-day weekend field trips, each of which combines visits to major archaeological sites with first-hand fieldwork at Blick Mead and Vespasian’s Camp, and two dissertation workshops. Examination will be by original dissertation of no less than 20,000 words.
The research seminar programme has two strands. The first offers a broadly chronological survey of British prehistory focusing on the internationally important landscape of Salisbury Plain and the Stonehenge World Heritage Site, enabling students to place their own individual research within the broader context of developments in human society and culture since the end of the last Ice Age.
The second strand offers support to students considering how to devise a successful research project, and structure a dissertation. The seminar series complements their individual research project and dissertation; and at the heart of this MA is the close working relationship between student and supervisor. Dissertations may be either library- or fieldwork-based, and address themselves to any of archaeology’s sub-fields. While the final thesis topic is chosen by the student and must be an independent work, it is the supervisor who offers advice on refining the topic as necessary, on primary sources, on secondary reading, on research techniques and on writing the final text, which should be not less than 20,000 words. Supervisors and students will meet frequently throughout the year, and not less than twice a term; and the supervisor is the student’s primary contact for academic advice and support.
The MA is taught by staff from the University of Buckingham, with the participation of a number of renowned scholars who give lectures and lead some of the seminars.
For those taking the course as Associate Students, this seminar programme may be enjoyed as a self-contained survey of Stonehenge and its landscape and of British prehistoric archaeology. This status will enable the student to attend the ten research seminars and take a full part in the seminar and buffet dinner discussions, as well as optional field trips, but does not require the submission of written work. Associate Students are not registered for, and do not receive, the MA degree.