Become an Archaeologist with this online course

Online course on Archaeology


Archaeology is everywhere, from the buildings we walk past, to the landscapes we travel through. Beginning with the history of archaeology and its growth from antiquarian hobby, this course will explore the practices and methods of excavation and interpretation. We will look at the diverse techniques and skills archaeologists have developed to tease out the stories of the past from objects and landscapes. We will learn to read archaeology in the earth and from plans and drawings.

University of Oxford's online courses are run asynchronously so you do not have to be online at any specific time. They are, however, structured as ten one-week units with directed readings and guided text-based discussions, and students should aim to be online a few times during each week. We recommend an average of ten hours study per week not all of this needs to be online as this includes time for the directed readings from the course texts. University has students studying from around the world. The courses are designed to fit around your lifestyle from wherever you may be studying, and you can access the course whenever it is convenient for you. All discussions take place via online forums. These are, however, not live; students can add their comments/ questions at any time.

Programme details

1. What is archaeology?
2. Reading the landscape
3. Excavation techniques
4. Types of sites and features
5. Artefacts: ambassadors from the past
6. How old is it?: archaeological dating
7. Archaeological science
8. Burial archaeology
9. Making sense of it all: interpretation
10. Whose archaeology? Museums, the past and the public

Course aims

  • This course aims to introduce the methods and practices of archaeology to students with little or no previous knowledge of the subject. This course will enable students to:
  • Understand how archaeologists collect, analyse, and interpret data.
  • Become familiar with the different types of evidence available and to learn to critically assess such evidence.
  • Critically analyse and discuss such current topics as the relationship between archaeology and the public and the ethical debates around dealing with human remains.
  • Further develop their interest in archaeology.

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