Archaeology and Anthropology at Magdalen

With over a century of experience in teaching, outstanding museum and library resources, and lectures provided by dozens of academics who conduct cutting-edge research, Oxford’s Archaeology and Anthropology course offers a comprehensive overview of the richness and diversity of human cultural experience throughout space and time. By choosing to study here you will be able to:

  • explore how humans evolved
  • get to grips with major transformational processes in human history such as the development of farming, the emergence of towns and trading systems, and the spread of world religions
  • assess the relative importance of environmental, genetic and social factors in understanding patterns of human growth and nutrition
  • learn why societies structure their families, economies, and political systems in the ways that they do
  • gain an insight into how ideas about what it means to be human and live together in human societies have changed over time
  • investigate how material culture represents and reproduces beliefs and ideologies.

Students in Archaeology and Anthropology take part in an archaeological excavation at the end of their first year and have the opportunity to participate in archaeological or anthropological projects anywhere in the world. During their second and third years, students explore particular regions and methodological approaches in depth, choosing from a wide range of archaeological and anthropological topics taught by specialists from across the University. Third-year students complete a dissertation based on their own original research.

Archaeology and Anthropology at Magdalen

Magdalen has been admitting students for the degree in Archaeology and Anthropology since it was first created more than 25 years ago and we continue to welcome two or three new students each year. Magdalen was the first college to appoint a Tutorial Fellow in Anthropology with responsibility for organising the course. Clare Harris, Professor of Visual Anthropology and Curator for Asian Collections at the Pitt Rivers Museum, currently fulfils that role. She also gives tutorials for all the anthropology papers in the degree and supervises dissertations. Her area of specialism is Tibet and the Himalayas. She also works on the anthropology of art, the histories and politics of museums, photography and material/visual culture in general. Teaching for the core papers in archaeology is provided by Dr Linda Hulin, of the Oxford Centre for Maritime Archaeology. Her research interests centre on the materiality of social relations across the eastern Mediterranean, specifically the Levant, Egypt, Libya and Cyprus, seen through a maritime lens. Also attached to Magdalen are three Professors of Anthropology and two Fellows in Classical Archaeology and Ancient History. The College library has outstanding provision for the study of Archaeology and Anthropology and Magdalen is unique among Oxford colleges in having a research fund that is exclusively for undergraduates taking the degree. This fund is often used to support dissertation research, and can be awarded in addition to the College’s generous Travel Grant scheme. In previous years Magdalen students in Archaeology and Anthropology have travelled as far afield as India, Peru and Canada.

Potential applicants are encouraged to attend the University Open Day for Archaeology and Anthropology. Details and a registration form can be found on the School of Archaeology website.

Other Useful Links

Oxford University Department: School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography