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Classical Archaeology and Ancient History

Statue - Roman Archaeology

The course combines study of the history, archaeology and art of the classical world. It looks at the societies and cultures of the ancient Mediterranean world through their written texts, visual art and material remains; and at its centre are the two classical cultures of Greece and Rome. It is aimed at anyone interested in investigating ancient civilisations and their remains, from Greek temples and Roman amphitheatres to wall-paintings and the poignant residues of everyday life. Whilst it is primarily a historical and non-linguistic degree, ancient languages can be read and learned as part of the course.

The CAAH degree is taught through a mixture of tutorials, lectures and classes. Some cover specifically archaeological or historical approaches to ancient Mediterranean cultures, but the degree is unique in also offering courses that combine both approaches. There are two practical elements - two weeks at the end of the first year spent either on a University-sponsored excavation or on another archaeological field project, and the preparation of a report in the second and third years focussing either on a particular ancient site or on an artefact or set of artefacts in a museum, from the Ashmolean to the Metropolitan Museum in New York.


A second year CAAH student:

CAAH at Oxford is a particularly good course because it combines literary evidence with material artefacts, both of which are fundamental to understand ancient history. It is fantastic to make links between the two and see how they work together to give us our picture of the ancient world.

It is also a pretty flexible degree to pursue the areas you are most interested in, with options for studying a historical period spanning over 1600 years, scientific methods in archaeology, or even Latin or Ancient Greek, if you would like to have a basis in the languages. Most importantly, I did not have any prior knowledge of ancient history, but this was not a disadvantage, rather I think it makes the degree an even more rewarding experience. It is also a huge asset to have the Ashmolean Museum, which houses many of the objects which I have written essays about, and the fieldtrip over the summer is a very exciting opportunity to see archaeological methods in action.

UCAS Course Code: VV14
Course length: 3 years
Course requirements: none.