Laver Building, Streatham Campus
Student using portable microscope

About the Department

The Archaeology Department is a vibrant academic community that provides a friendly and relaxed environment in which to study. It is housed in customised accommodation in the Laver Building. Here it has dedicated teaching and research laboratories, work rooms for postgraduate students, postdoctoral and other research staff, artefact storage and processing facilities and a drawing office. The Department's facilities also include a landscape research room, chemical laboratory facilities, facilities for experimental archaeology and finds processing and a microscope suite. The Department also has a dedicated area for experimental archaeology in the University grounds and makes use of the extensive natural resources on campus. Laver Building also houses communal lecture rooms and the University’s IT and Academic Services departments.

Teaching:

We have approximately 250 students in total, and currently offer four undergraduate programmes in Archaeology: Single Honours in Archaeology; Archaeology with Forensic Science; Archaeology and Anthropology; Archaeology and Ancient History. Archaeology and History can also be studied as part of the Flexible Combined Honours programme. We also offer the option of adding European Study (with a study abroad option) to your degree.

There are currently three taught Masters programmes in Archaeology, Experimental Archaeology, Bioarchaeology (MSc).

We also have many students studying for MA by Research, MPhil or PhD research degrees, in a wide variety of topics.

Research:

We would describe our research as Evidence-Based Social Archaeology and would characterise it as follows:

  • produces enduring primary records
  • enables a range of theoretical approaches to interpretation
  • strengthens awareness of the individuality of past human societies
  • interdisciplinary
  • field, laboratory and museum-based
  • investigates current issues in fresh spatial and temporal contexts
  • applies new techniques of investigation
  • develops and tests new theoretical approaches

We have three broad research themes:

Bioarchaeology:

Bioarchaeological research at Exeter combines the study of archaeology with branches of the natural and physical sciences to address questions of health and well-being, diet, ecology, subsistence strategies and natural and human-induced environmental impacts in the past. 

Landscape and Environmental Archaeology:

Exeter has established itself at the forefront of this area. From our pioneering work in wetland environments we have broadened our horizons to embrace a wide range of research contexts across five continents. Our work is characterised by theoretically informed field-based approaches and a strong commitment to methodological innovation in areas such as the integration of palaeoenvironmental research with the wider study of the cultural landscape.

Material Culture and Social Agency:

We emphasise fieldwork, new scientific investigations, academic rigour for experimental archaeology, and interdisciplinarity, to investigate the active role of material culture in human societies. Themes include artefact production, exchange and use, technological innovation, artefact biographies and memory, and inter-craft relations and influences.