• UCAS Code: V400 BA/A
  • Campus Code: 4
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Places per year: 1-2

Humans have lived on this planet for over 3 million years – yet our written records span at most a few thousand years. Archaeology is the only way that we can gain access most of our species’ past, addressing such questions as: What brought about social inequality? What led to the development of the first cities? When and how did we start shaping our environment?

Archaeology is the study of our past, in all its social, cultural and biological diversity. At Cambridge it is an outstandingly broad and exciting subject, equally rewarding for those who feel at home in the sciences, the humanities, or both. The degree encompasses multiple tracks – Archaeology, Biological Anthropology, Assyriology and Egyptology – through teaching that combines lectures, seminars, practical work, language classes, lab experience, fieldwork and research projects.

Course Overview

Students at the Department of Archaeology are part of a diverse research community. The course encompasses Archaeology, Assyriology, Biological Anthropology and Egyptology. Its flexibility means you can either specialise from Year 1, or opt for a broad start before concentrating on up to two subjects from the second year.

  • Archaeology uses material evidence from molecules to monumental structures to explore the human past and understand past societies.
  • Assyriology is the study of the languages, cultures, history and archaeology of ancient Mesopotamia (Sumer, Babylonia and Assyria).
  • Egyptology is the study of the history, languages, society, archaeology and religion of ancient Egypt.
  • Biological Anthropology investigates human evolution and diversity, biology and behaviour, and the interaction between biology and culture.

The subjects on offer within this course range in time from the Palaeolithic to the modern day and cover the Americas, the UK and Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, South East Asia and Australia. You can also study archaeological theory and practice, archaeological science, and museum and heritage studies.

How You Learn

In Year 1, you have between six and eight lectures and one or two supervisions each week, plus weekly language classes and/or practicals (where appropriate). You’re assessed each year, principally through written exams but some papers include assessed practicals/fieldwork. Most students also write a 10,000 word dissertation in Year 3.

Archaeology has been taught at Cambridge for more than a century and our staff are at the forefront of research, involving students through fieldwork and research projects. The University’s excellent resources include the dedicated professional field unit, the Cambridge Archaeological Unit, as well as a well-equipped IT suite, purpose built laboratories and dedicated libraries. In addition, the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and the Fitzwilliam Museum provide access to extensive collections of primary sources of world importance.

You will gain insights into many of the most important challenges for human life on earth in the present day, from climate change to social structures, to diet and sustainability, to economic inequality. By the end of your time studying the Archaeology course, you will have engaged in the detailed study of primary sources, you may have studied an ancient language, and you will probably have written your first piece of independent research

Typical Offer Conditions




41-42 points, with 776 at Higher Level


See the University’s Entrance Requirements page

Subject Requirements