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MA Archaeology (F4K007)

Our MA in Archaeology is designed to prepare you for a wide range of careers in the fields of archaeology, cultural heritage management, the academic world, cultural research and journalism, as well as related careers with a cultural or heritage focus.

The MA is designed to take advantage of the exceptionally wide research interests of the staff in Durham Archaeology, which range from Neanderthal art and the Palaeolithic of western Europe, through Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age Europe, to the Classical archaeology of the Greek and Roman worlds, through Egyptology, the landscape archaeology of the ancient and Islamic Near East and Arabia, to Buddhism in South Asia and trade along the Silk Road and across the Indian Ocean, prehistoric and historic East Asia, and the archaeology of medieval and post-medieval Europe - where Durham has long held a special place.

In order to cover this wide range of interests, the MA Archaeology is organised around six academic ‘strands’ that allow students to select courses in the areas that interest them. Students also have the flexibility to mix and match from a range of topics and options, interacting with a large community of fellow MA and MSc students that encourages the development of research, presentation and practical skills through discussions and events. This structure offers the opportunity for interdisciplinary exchange combined with specialist training in key archaeological skills and knowledge.

The six strands are:

  • Landscape Archaeology
  • Prehistoric Archaeology
  • The Archaeology of Egypt, Near East and Asia (ENEA)
  • The Archaeology and Heritage of East Asia (AHEA)
  • Classical and Roman Archaeology
  • Medieval and Post Medieval Archaeology

Find out more about this course and apply

A banner image with an drone photograph of a dig and an object


Explore a range of topics

The teaching is divided into core research and practical skills on the one hand, and specialist area/period-specific knowledge on the other.

All students undertake our Research and Study Skills in Social Archaeology module providing a solid foundation in the theoretical and critical skills required to undertake archaeological research. Students also undertake Practical Research and Study Skills and our wide-ranging Research Topics Modules, where they can select from a range of practical and thematic options such as GIS, 3-D modelling, Geophysics, Experimental Archaeology and specialised themes in Prehistoric Archaeology, Classical Archaeology, Egypt, the Near East, South Asia, East Asia, Medieval Archaeology, Landscape Archaeology, Environmental Archaeology and Geoarchaeology.

A key part of the course undertaken by students is the dissertation which is a piece of independent, original research conducted under the supervision of a member of staff specialised in your selected research area. 

Robin Coningham and students

UNESCO Professor Robin Coningham with students on fieldwork.

Students excavating and recording archaeological features

Students excavating and recording on placement at Auckland Castle

Archaeology trip to Beijing

Field trip to the Forbidden City, Beijing

Students undertaking fieldwork in front of Lindisfarne Castle

Students undertaking an excavation in front of Lindisfarne Castle

Two archaeologists taking measurements in a cave

Professor Paul Pettitt examining Palaeolithic cave art

Dr Kristen Hopper working in the Infomatics Laboratory

Dr Kristen Hopper working in the informatics laboratory

University student
Studying for an MA in archaeology at Durham provided me with a variety of practical and research archaeological skills, from 3D imaging to GIS. The ability to specialise in the areas that interested me and work closely with world experts in those fields meant I could pursue my own interests whilst still receiving high-quality support. Working for an archaeological journal, I still regularly use the wide period knowledge and academic writing skills that I gained during my time at Durham.

Max Storey
MA Archaeology graduate