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Through imaginative teaching and world-leading research, we inspire our students to explore.

Course description

We combine environmental archaeology with the study of past economies to advance our understanding of the relationship between people and nature. Teaching is via practical lab-based classes as well as lectures and seminars covering current theoretical debates. 

You will learn how reconstruct environments and economies in order to understand them – a critical skill for a career in research. Your dissertation gives you the opportunity to specialise in a particular area. 

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This course combines the study of environmental archaeology and past economies, in order to advance our understanding of the relationship between people and nature in the making of human history.

• The course is taught through practical lab-based classes as well as lectures and seminars covering current theoretical debates. 

• Your dissertation will provide the opportunity to specialise in one branch of these related fields, and to gain advanced expertise in practical archaeobotany, zooarchaeology or geoarchaeology.

• We stress the integration of `humanities´ and `science-based´ approaches to produce a deeper understanding of past humanity. 

• We emphasise studies of contemporary ecology, economy and ethnography as a basis for investigating the past. 

• You will have the opportunity to work between and across different viewpoints and approaches, make up your own mind about their strengths and weaknesses, and develop your own ideas.

• Students have access to excellent lab facilities and some of the best plant and animal bone collections in the world; they are taught by staff actively researching in the fields of environmental and economic archaeology. 

• By the end of the course you will have the acquired the skills necessary to reconstruct and understand past environments and economies, which is critical to careers in either research or professional contexts.


Core modules

These compulsory modules will provide you with the key knowledge and understanding for research in environmental archaeology.

*While the majority of dissertation projects do not involve any additional cost to the student, you may incur some expenses if you choose a topic that is not resourced by the department. You will be expected to cover the cost of printing and binding two copies of your dissertation/placement report.

Optional modules

You will choose modules worth a total of 60 credits, which will include at least one of the following:

Availability of other optional modules varies from year to year but the following module list gives a flavour of the kind of specialised modules we will offer in archaeology. You may also select modules in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities to a maximum value of 45 credits.


You can expect a balanced timetable of lectures, seminars and practicals. You’ll have access to specialist labs and world-class reference collections. Many of our masters courses include a fieldwork or project-based component.

We integrate humanities and science-based approaches to nurture a deeper understanding. You’ll have the opportunity to explore different viewpoints and make up your own mind about their strengths and weaknesses.

We’ll help you to develop your critical thinking as well as your practical skills. What we ask of you, as a member of our lively academic community, is that you challenge, question, and explore.

Visit the MSc Environmental Archaeology and Palaeoeconomy page on the University of Sheffield website for more details!






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Recipient: University of Sheffield

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