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Honour School of Archaeology and Anthropology


  • 1. The examination in the Honour School of Archaeology and Anthropology shall consist of such subjects in Archaeology and Anthropology as the Social Sciences Board shall prescribe by regulation from time to time.

  • 2. No candidate shall be admitted to the examination in this school unless they have either passed or been exempted from the First Public Examination.

  • 3. The examination shall be under the supervision of the Social Sciences Board. Under the overall direction of the board, the examination shall be administered by the School of Archaeology and the School of Anthropology, which shall jointly appoint a standing committee to advise the board as necessary in respect of this examination, and of Honour Moderations and the Preliminary Examination in Archaeology and Anthropology.

  • 4. Candidates will be required to take part in approved fieldwork as an integral part of their course. The fieldwork requirement will normally have been discharged before the start of Michaelmas term of the second year of the course.


Candidates are required to offer the following subjects, each to be examined by a written paper in the Trinity Term of their third year:

1. Social analysis and interpretation.

2. Cultural representations, beliefs, and practices.

3. Landscape and Ecology.

4. Urbanism and Society.

5. Fieldwork and Methods 

  • (a) Candidates must submit a portfolio of work as detailed below.  
  • (b) Candidates must submit a report with a maximum length of 5,000 words that provides a critical review of the approved fieldwork project on which they have worked, contextualising it within the broader field(s) of Archaeology and/or Anthropology.  
  • (c) Permission may be granted by the Standing Committee for video and sound clips to be submitted as additional supporting material to the fieldwork report. 
  • (d) The fieldwork report must be submitted electronically using the approved online submission system, accompanied by an online declaration of authorship, by no later than noon on the Friday of noughth week of Hilary Term in the first year of the Final Honour School. 
  • (e) Candidates must also submit three reports, each of which shall not exceed 1,000 words in length, in respect of the practical classes attended during each term of the first year of the Final Honour School. These classes address both the archaeological and anthropological components of the degree and candidates must submit reports on at least one archaeological topic and at least one anthropological topic. 
  • (f) Reports on each of the practical classes taken by a candidate must be submitted electronically using the approved online submissions system, accompanied by an online declaration of authorship, by no later than noon of the Friday of the eighth week of the term in which that class was taken.
  • (g) Candidates are required to attend all of the practical classes offered. 

6., 7., and 8. An approved combination of three option subjects, from the list of options below or any other option subject approved by the Standing Committee. To encourage a wide-ranging understanding of archaeology and anthropology, options shall be chosen in such a way that they constitute three independent, non-overlapping subjects.

  • Anglo-Saxon Society and Economy in the Early Christian Period

  • Anthropology of Buddhism
  • Archaeology of Minoan Crete 3200-1000BC

  • Archaeology of Modern Human Origins

  • Archaeology of Southern African Hunter-Gatherers

  • Art under the Roman Empire, AD 14-336

  • Byzantium: the transition from Antiquity to the Middle Ages, AD 500-1100

  • Chinese Archaeology

  • The emergence of Medieval Europe AD 400-900

  • Farming and early states in Sub-Saharan Africa

  • From hunting and gathering to states and empires in South-west Asia

  • Gender and Sexuality: cross-cultural perspectives

  • Greek archaeology and art c.500-323 BC

  • Greeks and the Mediterranean World c.950-500 BC

  • Hellenistic Archaeology, 330-30 BC

  • Japanese society
  • Language and Anthropology

  • The Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age Aegean

  • The Later Prehistory of Europe

  • Lowland South 

  • Medical Anthropology: Sensory Experience, the Sentient Body and Therapeutics

  • Mediterranean Maritime Archaeology

  • Mesopotamia and Egypt from the emergence of complex society to c.2000 BC

  • Objects in Motion - Debates in Visual, Material and Economic Anthropology

  • Physical Anthropology and Human Osteoarchaeology

  • Roman Archaeology: Cities and settlement under the Empire

  • Science-based methods in Archaeology

  • South Asia

  • Themes in African Anthropology

  • (a) Some options may not be available in every year. Candidates will be circulated a list of options offered for examination in the following two years of study by Friday of the eighth week of the Michaelmas Full Term.
  • (b) The option taken in Hilary Term of the first year of the Final Honour School will be examined by an essay selected from an approved list of questions set by the Board of Examiners. The essay, which may not exceed 5,000 words in length, must be submitted electronically using the approved online submission system, accompanied by an online declaration of authorship, by no later than noon on Friday of first week of Trinity Full Term of the first year of the Final Honour School.

9. A dissertation of not more than 15,000 words, which may be based on research in either archaeology or anthropology or on an interdisciplinary topic (see specific details below)


  • (a) The subject of every dissertation shall, to the satisfaction of the Standing Committee, fall within the field of Archaeology or Anthropology or both.

  • (b) The subject of the dissertation may, but need not, overlap with a subject or period on which the candidate offers papers. Candidates are warned, however, that they must avoid repetition in the papers of material used in their dissertation, and that they will not be given credit for material extensively repeated.

  • (c) Candidates must submit through the Undergraduate Administrator, to the Chair of the Standing Committee the title of the proposed dissertation, together with (a) a synopsis of the subject in about 100 words; and (b) a letter of support from the person whom they wish to supervise their dissertation (and who will be subject to the Standing Committee’s approval), not later than Wednesday of Week 0 of Trinity Full Term of the first year of the Final Honour School.

  • (d) The Standing Committee will decide as soon as possible, and in every case by the end of the fifth week of the Michaelmas Full Term preceding the examination, whether or not to approve the title, and will advise candidates of its decision forthwith.

  • (e) Every dissertation must be the candidate's own work, although it is expected that tutors will discuss with candidates the proposed field of study, the sources available, and the method of presentation. Tutors may also read and comment on a first draft.

    (f) Dissertations previously submitted for the Honour School of Archaeology and Anthropology may be resubmitted. No dissertation will be accepted if it has already been submitted, wholly or substantially, for another final honour school or degree of this University or a degree of any other institution. The certificate must also contain confirmation that the dissertation has not already been so submitted.
  • (g) No dissertation shall be ineligible because it has been submitted, in whole or in part, for any scholarship or prize of this University advertised in the Oxford University Gazette.

  • (h) No dissertation shall exceed 15,000 words in length, that limit to include all notes but not bibliographies, catalogues of material evidence, gazetteers, or technical appendices.

    (i) All dissertations must be typed in double-spacing on one side of A4 paper and must be uploaded to the University approved online assessment platform. All copies must bear the candidate's examination number but not their name.

  • (j) The dissertation must be submitted electronically, accompanied by an online declaration of authorship, by no later than noon on Friday of the ninth week of Hilary Full Term of the second year of the Final Honour School, using the approved online submission system.

Candidates may be examined viva voce.