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Classical Archaeology and Ancient History - Course Outline

First Year


Students need to take course courses as mentioned below.

Core elements:

  • Republic to empire: Rome, 50 BC to AD 50
  • Aristocracy and democracy in the Greek world, 550-450 BC

Optional elements:

  • Archaeology: Greek vases; Homeric archaeology; Greek sculpture; Roman architecture
  • History: Aristophanes' political comedy; Thucydides and the West; Cicero and Catiline; Tacitus and Tiberius
  • Ancient Languages: Beginning Latin, Beginning Ancient Greek,
  • Further Greek, Further Latin


  • Four written exam papers
  • First University examinations

Second and Third Year


Students need to take six courses from a broad choice of options comprising:

  • Greek history, 479-403 BC
  • Early Greece and the Mediterranean, 800-500 BC
  • Athenian democracy
  • Greek art and archaeology, 500-300 BC
  • Rome, Italy, and the Hellenistic East 300-30 BC
  • Alexander and his successors
  • Roman archaeology: Cities and settlement under the Empire
  • Politics, society and culture from Nero to Hadrian
  • Sexuality and gender in Greece and Rome
  • Religions in the Greek and Roman world
  • The emergence of medieval Europe, AD 400-900
  • Egyptian art and architecture
  • Julian to Augustine, AD 350-395
  • Byzantium, AD 500-1100
  • Further Greek or Latin
  • Scientific methods in archaeology


Research for site or museum report


  • Six written papers; one site or museum report
  • Final University examinations

Fieldwork and International Opportunities

There are two practical aspects, two weeks at the end of the first year spent either on any archaeological field project or a university sponsored excavation and the preparation of a report in the second and third years laying emphasis upon a specific ancient site or on an artefact or set of artefacts in a museum from the Ashmolean to the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

Weekly Timetable

In the first year, the course material is divided between lectures, tutorials, team-taught classes, private study and language classes. During the second and third year, apart from tutorials, classes and lectures, students shall spend time preparing their site report or museum. In the second and third year, students have an opportunity to expand their range in theme and time.

Students will take six options and a museum report or site. They need to choose the options from a list of integrated classes that bring together archaeological and historical approaches to a specific period. Core papers focus on central topics in Greco-Roman studies and Further Papers allow students to build up concentrated expertise in central areas and periods or to widen into earlier and subsequent periods and into non-classical cultures. The Classical Language Papers that allow students to continue or begin the study of Latin or Greek.

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