Course: MSc Historical Archaeology

Course details

  • Location

    Cultural Heritage Institute @ RAU Swindon
  • Duration

    1 year (full time) or 2+ years (part time) (Full time / Part time)
  • Academic Year

    21 September 2020 - 21 May 2021

The Archaeology of the Historical period covers some of the most significant global changes affecting humankind including the rise of the maritime world empires, the industrial revolution and the development of mass conflict.

Course overview

This MSc in Historical Archaeology explores the period from c.1500 to 2000 and offers an exciting research-informed programme that critically considers contemporary issues, challenges and developments. It will provide you with a robust philosophical, theoretical and ethical framework for exploring the remains of the recent past. You will gain a solid grounding in an increasingly coherent and confident discipline which is international in perspective and reach. 

The programme begins with a short field course which will introduce to you the core theory, practice and controversies of historical archaeology through the preliminary investigation of an historic environment. It is also a great opportunity to connect with your fellow students and the lead tutors. The programme then uses a series of detailed case studies to look at how archaeology can throw light on the emergence of the modern world system in the UK, Europe, Africa, the Far East and North America. 

The course goes on to explore the analysis and interpretation of the remains of the recent past at three scales – the artefact, the building and the landscape. Students then apply these principles to, two specific areas of historic archaeology selected from; The Archaeology of Pioneer Colonies The Archaeology of the First & Second World Wars and The Archaeology of Industry.

Learning is underpinned throughout by engagement with real objects, sites and landscapes coupled to the skills and tools needed to explore and evaluate the material remains of the modern period. A focus on current theoretical and professional issues in the design and management of historic environment research provides the foundations and frameworks for the original research undertaken in the dissertation.

Through the programme you will prepare for, or further develop, a career or further research in historical archaeology through reflective practice, the growth of intellectual skills and an ethos of life-long learning. You will be able to demonstrate self-direction, adaptability, initiative and originality alongside accountability, integrity and ethical judgement.   

Ready to take the plunge? Apply now

Applications to study for postgraduate degrees need to be made directly through the University. 

You can now apply via our website, using the online application form. 

Alternatively, if you are unable access the online form you can call Admissions on +44 (0)1285 889 912, or email

We recommend that you keep a copy of the completed form for your records.

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