University of Oxford Undergraduate Prospectus 2015 entry

Classical Archaeology and Ancient History

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Classical Archaeology and Ancient History

A BA in 3 years

UCAS code: VV14

Course statistics for 2013 entry

Interviewed: 91%

Successful: 33%

Intake: 19

Entrance requirements

A-levels: AAA

Advanced Highers: AA/AAB

IB: 39 (including core points) with 666 at HL

Or any other equivalent

A classical language, Classical Civilisation or Ancient History can be helpful to students in completing this course, although they are not required for admission.

How to apply (see page 118) [Transcriber’s Note: page number of the printed edition. End of note]

Tests: None required

Written Work: Two pieces

Tuition Fees for 2014

Home/EU: £9,000/year

No upfront costs: you can get a loan for the full amount

Grants, bursaries and scholarships available

More on student finance: p 120 [Transcriber’s Note: page number of the printed edition. End of note]

More Information

+44 (0) 1865 288372

Oxford Open days

2 and 3 July, and 19 September 2014

2 May 2014: Joint Classics open day in Cambridge

What is Classical Archaeology and Ancient History (CAAH)?

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 has at its centre 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. While it is primarily a historical and non-linguistic degree, ancient languages can be used and learned as part of the course.

CAAH at Oxford

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. In every year of the course there are classes led by two faculty members, one archaeologist and one historian. These classes are designed to give an integrated, interdisciplinary approach to the topics studied.

The University’s resources for this combined subject are excellent, in terms of both library facilities – much of the Sackler Library’s collection is built around these two subjects – and the range and number of postholders in the two fields. The University’s Ashmolean Museum also contains wide-ranging collections of art and artefacts from the classical cultures.

Fieldwork and international opportunities

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 focusing either on a particular ancient site or on an artefact or set of artefacts in a museum of your choice, from the Ashmolean to the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

A typical weekly timetable

During the first year, your work is divided between lectures (about four to six a week), team-taught classes (one a week for the first two terms), tutorials (one every week or two) and/or language classes and private study. In the second and third years, besides lectures, tutorials and classes, you will also spend time preparing your museum or site report.

In your second and third years, leading up to your final exams, you build on the work done in the first year and expand your range in time and theme. You will take six options and a site or museum report (equivalent to one paper). The options are chosen from a list of Integrated Classes, which bring together historical and archaeological approaches to a particular period; Core Papers, which deal with central topics in Greco-Roman studies; Further Papers, whose range allows you either to build up concentrated expertise in some central areas and periods or to extend into earlier and later periods, and into non-classical cultures; and Classical Language Papers, which allow you to continue the study of Greek or Latin.

What are tutors looking for?

Tutors are looking for intellectual potential, the specific visual, textual and reasoning abilities that are required for this course, and, of course, serious interest in and commitment to both classical archaeology and ancient history. Tutors will consider all the available information -past and predicted examination results, the personal statement, academic reference and interviews - to assess the individual candidate’s potential to benefit from the course provided by Oxford, and their potential to be a good tutorial student, and to attain good results in examinations. The weight given to the different criteria will vary according to the individual background and circumstances of each candidate.

For further information about the selection criteria see:

Related courses

Students interested in this course might also like to consider Archaeology and Anthropology, Classics, other History courses or History of Art.



While some Classical Archaeology and Ancient History graduates will go on to further study and research to become professional archaeologists and historians, others will move into different areas. Graduates have started their careers in museum curation, heritage management and education, as well as in finance, advertising, publishing, the Civil Service and law. Recent Classical Archaeology and Ancient History graduates include a financial adviser, a teacher and a curator. Sarah, who graduated in 2007, is now a personal adviser. She says: ‘My degree at Oxford provided the challenging environment in which I developed the skills I later needed to successfully complete Reed’s rigorous application procedure.’

For more information about careers after Oxford, please see p 122 [Transcriber’s Note: page number of the printed edition. End of note].

Sackler Library

The Sackler Library, part of the Bodleian Libraries, is a principal research library of the University and specialises in Archaeology, Art History and Classics (Ancient History and Literature).

1st year


Four courses are taken.

Core elements

  • Aristocracy and democracy in the Greek world, 550-450 BC

  • Republic to empire: Rome, 50 BC to AD 50

Optional elements

  • Archaeology: Homeric archaeology and early Greece from 1550 to 700 BC; Greek vases, Greek sculpture c600-300 BC; Roman architecture

  • Ancient Languages: Beginning Ancient Greek; Beginning Latin; Intermediate Ancient Greek; Intermediate Latin


First University examinations: Four written exam papers

2nd and 3rd years


Six courses are taken from a wide choice of options, including:

  • Rome, Italy and the Hellenistic East, 300-100 BC

  • Greek art and archaeology, c500-300 BC

  • Roman archaeology: Cities and settlement under the Empire

  • •Art under the Roman Empire, AD 14-337

  • Archaeology of the late Roman Empire, AD 284-641

  • Thucydides and the Greek world, 479-403 BC

  • Alexander the Great and his early successors

  • Roman history 146-46 BC

  • Egyptian art and architecture

  • Archaeology of Minoan Crete, 3200-1000 BC

  • Formation of the Islamic world, AD 550-950

  • Greek and Roman coins

  • Mediterranean maritime archaeology

  • Epigraphy of the Greek and/or Roman world

  • Athenian democracy in the classical age

  • Sexuality and gender in Greece and Rome

  • Cicero: Politics and thought in the late Republic

  • Religions in the Greek and Roman world, c31 BC-AD 312

  • St Augustine and the Last Days of Rome, AD 370-430

  • Intermediate Ancient Greek or Latin

  • Research for a site or museum report


Final University examinations:

Six written papers; one site or museum report

Student statement

It’s a completely exciting world of military history, of economy, of politics. You find it laid out in floor plans, and archaeology and texts.


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