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Archaeology covers a huge range of topics, spanning the evolution of humans through the development of farming, ancient civilisations and world empires, as well as the role of material culture in human life and of heritage in modern societies. Students can follow several streams – Archaeology (covering all world cultures), Biological Anthropology, Egyptology and Assyriology.  

With the Division of Archaeology and the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Cambridge is one of the largest centres of archaeological research in Britain, and we have recently been awarded top place in the Good University Guide for Archaeology in the UK. Archaeology students at Cambridge benefit from direct hands-on access to world-class collections in Cambridge’s many museums, libraries and research centres. From 2017 onwards, Cambridge is launching an exciting new undergraduate degree programme in single honours archaeology.

Archaeology at Caius

Archaeology at Gonville & Caius is led by Professor Cyprian Broodbank, John Disney Professor of Archaeology, Head of Division and Director of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research. Cyprian’s interests span comparative world archaeology as a form of deep history, and his specialist work focuses on the Mediterranean, especially the Aegean (where he conducts fieldwork on the island of Kythera), and the archaeology of islands worldwide. He also has close links to History and Classics. Other Fellows include Dr Alessandro Launaro, (Classical Archaeology and Ancient History); Dr Manuel Will (Palaeolithic and Human Evolution); and Dr Anna Judson (Linear B and early writing). Among our retired Life Fellows is Professor David Phillipson, a leading archaeologist of Africa.


Archaeology spans a very broad subject area, and the course allows study of topics ranging across the humanities, the social sciences and the sciences. Students with almost any combination of subjects can apply; there are no specific required or recommended courses. We welcome applications from students studying humanistic fields such as History, English, Classics, and ancient languages, social sciences such as Geography, Sociology, Psychology, or Anthropology, and sciences such as Biology, Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics. Applicants for Egyptology and Assyriology are strongly encouraged to study an ancient or modern language.

Candidates should normally expect two interviews. Applicants are not expected to have any standard background in archaeology, as the field is highly varied, there are many relevant backgrounds and the subject is often not taught in schools; however, they should be prepared to discuss their relevant interests and potential directions they may wish to follow. Applicants should submit two examples of recent work, which will be available to interviewers. All applicants will take a written assessment in College, based on the reading of material that we will supply. This hour-long assessment is designed to assess the ability to interpret texts and to write. Again, no special preparation or prior knowledge is required.