Applications are open for entry in January and October 2016. If you have any questions, please contact:
Humanities Research Institute
Tel: +44 (0)1280 820204
MA in Archaeology: Stonehenge a Landscape Through Time
The University of Buckingham has introduced as part of its London-based Programmes a new research MA in Archaeology: Stonehenge a Landscape Through Time which offers a unique opportunity to study the subject of archaeology and the celebrated site.
The World Heritage Site of Stonehenge has intrigued scholars for centuries, with each succeeding generation learning more about the site and its setting, amongst the other henges and richly furnished burial barrows located on Salisbury Plain. This groundbreaking London-based programme is led by David Jacques, director of the internationally significant excavations at Vespasian’s Camp, near Stonehenge, and supported by the latest generation of archaeologists to work in the area. Located just 1,500m from Stonehenge, and 500m from Blue Stonehenge, the Vespasian’s Camp site is providing new evidence for the first humans to occupy the Stonehenge landscape during the Mesolithic period. Tantalising new evidence from these excavations suggests that this site may begin to explain why Stonehenge was built where it was.
There will be opportunities for students to take part in field work at the site as well as to visit the archaeological sites in the Stonehenge landscape.
The programme runs from October to September and will consist of a series of ten research seminars, supplemented by two optional three-day weekend fieldtrips, each of which combines visits to major archaeological sites with first-hand fieldwork at Vespasian’s Camp, and two dissertation workshops. There will be a buffet dinner at the end of each seminar. Examination will be by original dissertation of no less than 20,000 words.
For those taking the course as Associate Students, this seminar programme may be enjoyed as a self-contained survey of Stonehenge and its landscape and of British prehistoric archaeology. This status will enable the student to attend the ten research seminars and take a full part in the seminar and buffet dinner discussions, as well as optional field trips, but does not require the submission of written work. Associate Students are not registered for, and do not receive, the MA degree.
Read about David Jacques’s work at Stonehenge
- Field work at Vespasian’s Camp, near Stonehenge, Wiltshire, 2005-13
- Discoveries at Vespasian’s Camp, near Stonehenge, Wiltshire, 2005-12
- Concluding thoughts – Vespasian’s Camp: Time after Time
- Vespasian’s Camp and the extent of its eighteenth century landscaping
- Vespasian’s Camp: The question of the Bronze Age barrows
The minimum entry level required for this course is as follows:
- a first or second-class honours degree from a recognised university or,
- a recognised professional qualification with relevant work experience
Age is no barrier to learning and we welcome all applications from suitably qualified students.
We are happy to consider all international applications and if you are an international student, you may find it useful to visit our international pages for details of entry requirements from your home country.
The University is a UKVI Tier 4 Sponsor.
If English is not your first language, please check our postgraduate English language requirements. If your English levels don’t meet our minimum requirements, you may be interested in applying for our Pre-sessional English Language Foundation Programmes.
Candidates apply online, sending in their supporting documents, and will be assessed on this basis by the Programme Director.
The Programme Director and the Admissions Assistant would be happy to answer any questions you may have:
We offer high quality, traditional Oxbridge-style teaching, which leads to our degrees being recognised around the world. The standards of degrees and awards are safeguarded by distinguished external examiners – senior academic staff from other universities in the UK – who approve and moderate assessed work.
High calibre staff
Most of our academic staff teach for three terms out of four, with the remaining term used for research. Because of this, we have no difficulty in attracting high calibre, highly respected lecturers, many of whom also have a background in business or industry and can offer networking opportunities for students.
The research seminar programme has two strands. The first offers a broadly chronological survey of British prehistory focusing on the internationally important landscape of Salisbury Plain and the Stonehenge World Heritage Site, enabling students to place their own individual research within the broader context of developments in human society and culture since the end of the last Ice Age.
The second strand offers support to students considering how to devise a successful research project, and structure a dissertation. The seminar series complements their individual research project and dissertation; and at the heart of this MA is the close working relationship between student and supervisor. Dissertations may be either library- or fieldwork-based, and address themselves to any of archaeology’s sub-fields. While the final thesis topic is chosen by the student and must be an independent work, it is the supervisor who offers advice on refining the topic as necessary, on primary sources, on secondary reading, on research techniques and on writing the final text, which should be not less than 20,000 words. Supervisors and students will meet frequently throughout the year, and not less than twice a term; and the supervisor is the student’s primary contact for academic advice and support.
This is a London-based course. The seminars will be held in the Wheeler Room within the handsome surroundings of the Society of Antiquaries in central London (Burlington Gardens, London W1S 3ES). The nearest London Underground Stations are Green Park (Victoria, Piccadilly and Jubilee lines), Bond Street (Central and Jubilee lines) and Piccadilly Circus (Piccadilly and Bakerloo lines).
Each seminar lasts approximately 90 minutes and will begin at 18:30. The seminars are followed by a post-seminar dinner, for those who wish to attend, where there will be an opportunity to continue the seminar discussion in an informal environment.
Part One: Fieldwork: Site visits and Excavations.
There will be an opportunity to take part in two field trips each term, taking place over a long weekend – Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This element of the course is not compulsory and so will not be assessed, but for those intending to conduct excavations of their own, they provide the student with an indispensible introduction to the techniques involved in archaeological fieldwork. The cost of fieldwork transport, subsistence and entrance fees is not included in the course fee. Fieldwork will take place in October 2014 and spring 2015, and will be centred at the Vespasian’s Camp archaeological site, near Stonehenge. Full training will be given in field techniques by David Jacques and two other professional archaeologists, Tom Philips (Oxford Archaeology) and Tom Lyons (British Museum).
During each weekend, students will also have the opportunity to take part in guided tours. Sites visited over the two weekends will include the World Heritage Sites of Stonehenge, and its associated Cursus, Avenue, and barrow fields as well as the site of Blue Stonehenge, Durrington Walls and Woodhenge. There will also be an opportunity to visit Avebury, Silbury Hill, West Kennet Long Barrow together with the Amesbury and Avebury Museums and Stonehenge Visitor Centre.
Accommodation in Amesbury will be arranged and each weekend will include a dinner for all those taking part.
9, 10, 11 October 2015. David Jacques, Tom Phillips (Oxford Archaeology), Tom Lyons (PCA): Fieldwork Weekend 1
11, 12 and 13 March 2016. Fieldwork Weekend 2
Part Two: Stonehenge a Landscape Through Time: The History, Theories and Practices of Archaeology seminars
Seminars will be held on Tuesdays at 18:30 and will be of 90 minutes’ duration. A buffet of light refreshments and wine will be provided free of charge.
6 October 2015. David Jacques (University of Buckingham): Course introduction.
Professor Lord Renfrew (Colin Renfrew) (University of Cambridge): ‘Stonehenge: Towards social and cognitive archaeology’ (TBC)
20 October 2015. David Jacques (University of Buckingham): ‘The post-glacial occupation of Salisbury Plain’ (the focus will be on recent excavations of the Mesolithic site at Blick Mead, Vespasian’s Camp)
3 November 2015. Professor Tim Darvill OBE (Bournemouth University): ‘Neolithic monuments: First phases of Stonehenge, long barrows, the early henges, the Cursus’
10 November 2015. Dr Mark Bowden (Senior Investigator for Stonehenge, Historic England): ‘Bronze and Iron Age: later phases of Stonehenge, barrows, defended sites (‘hillforts’), Roman period’
17 November 2015. Dr Barry Bishop (Lithics Society): ‘The development of prehistoric flint-work in the Stonehenge World Heritage Site – changing uses and influences from the Mesolithic to Bronze Age’
24 November 2015. Dr Nick James (University of Cambridge / University of Buckingham) ‘Reading the land: Landscape archaeology’
1 December 2015. Professor Peter Rowley-Conwy (Durham University): ‘New approaches to evaluating the use of animals in the Stonehenge landscape in the prehistoric periods’ (TBC)
8 December 2015. Professor Graeme Davis (University of Buckingham), David Jacques (University of Buckingham) and Dr Nick James (University of Buckingham): Dissertation workshop, followed by Christmas drinks.
12 January 2016. Professor Graeme Davis, David Jacques, Dr Nick James. Dissertation Workshop: Writing up and the production of archaeological knowledge; guidelines for writing a successful dissertation.
19 January 2016: Dr Nick Branch (University of Reading): ‘Changing environments in the Stonehenge area from post-glacial times to the Roman period’
26 January 2016. Dr Jim Leary (University of Reading): ‘Silbury Hill, other mounds and Marden’
9 February 2016 Professor Vince Gaffney (University of Bradford): ‘The Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project’
16 February Dr Nick James, David Jacques, Professor Graeme Davis: Recording and data analysis: field survey, object identification, use of library and archival sources including JSTOR, the Historic Environment Record and Portable Antiquities Scheme databases, statistical analysis for archaeologists, interpretation of aerial photograph and satellite imagery
5 April 2016 David Jacques, Professor Graeme Davis, Dr Nick James: Dissertation Workshop
The MA degree is awarded on the basis of the dissertation, which should be not less than 20,000 words. The supervisor provides advice in identifying and defining a research topic, assisting the candidate in locating sources and developing approaches to the chosen topic. Supervisors and students meet regularly, and the supervisor is the student’s primary contact for academic advice and support.
About the Society of Antiquaries
The origins of the Society of Antiquaries date to 1586 and the foundation of the College of Antiquaries, but it was not until 1751 that the Society was granted a Royal Charter and took on its present form. The role of the Society was, and continues to be, ‘the encouragement, advancement and furtherance of the study and knowledge of antiquities and history in this and other countries’. Since 1874, the Society has been based at Burlington House, Piccadilly, which also houses its museum, gallery and library.
Books: general introductions
- Cunliffe, B., Britain Begins (OUP, 2013)
- Darvill, T., Stonehenge: The Biography of a Landscape (Tempus, 2005)
- Lawson, A., Chalkland: An Archaeology of Stonehenge and its Region (Hobnob, 2006)
- Parker Pearson, M., Stonehenge: Exploring the Greatest Stone Age Mystery (Simon Schuster, 2012)
- Renfrew, C. & P. Bahn, Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice (Thames and Hudson, 1996)
- Butler, C., Prehistoric Flintwork (Tempus, 2005)
- Bradley, R., An Archaeology of Natural Places (Routledge, 2000)
- Legge, A. & P. Rowley-Conwy, Star Carr Revisited: A Re-analysis of the large mammals (Birkbeck College, 1998)
- Jones, A., G. MacGregor et al., Colouring the Past (Berg, 2002)
- McOmish, D., D. Field & G. Brown, The Field Archaeology of the Salisbury Plain Training Area (English Heritage, 2002)
- Rainbird, P. et al., Monuments in the Landscape (Tempus, 2008)
- Whittle, A., A. Bayliss et al., Gathering Time: Dating the Early Neolithic Enclosures of South Britain and Ireland (Oxbow, 2011)
- Higgs, E., “The Excavation of a Late Mesolithic Site at Downton near Salisbury, Wiltshire”, Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 25 (1959), 209-232
- French, C. et al., “Durrington Walls to West Amesbury: A Major Transformation of the Holocene Landscape”, Antiquaries Journal 92 (2012), 30
- Hunter-Mann, K., “Excavations at Vespasian’s Camp Iron Age hillfort”, Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society Magazine 92 (1999), 39-45
- Jacques, D., T. Phillips & M. Clarke, “A Reassessment of the Importance of Vespasian’s Camp in the Stonehenge Landscape”, Past 66 (2010), 11-13
- Jacques, D., T. Phillips & T. Lyons., “Vespasian’s Camp: Cradle of Stonehenge?”, Current Archaeology 271 (2012).
We have a high graduate employment rate, The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) ranked Buckingham top for graduate employability with 98.1% in July 2015.
Our graduates have gone on to further study at most of the world’s leading universities, including Harvard, London, Oxford and Cambridge and secured jobs in senior positions around the world. Among our alumni we have a graduate who became the head of his country’s civil service and one who became a leading Formula One motor-racing driver. Another secured a position as the Minister of Sabah and one female law graduate became the first British lawyer to become a French Advocate.
The tuition fees quoted below are for the degree (e.g. if you start an MBA at Buckingham in January 2016, you will pay the same termly fee for the duration of your degree – you will not be affected by the price increase in September 2016). Fees are normally paid in termly instalments.
Unless specifically stated otherwise, postgraduate degrees are normally studied over four terms (one year).
#Students will pay the same termly fee for the duration of their studies. The tuition fee quoted is therefore the total cost of the degree.
*All fees are subject to annual increase (in September). Total tuition fees will vary if the degree spans more than one calendar year.
♣Associate fees exclude dinners.
♦The fee for undertaking a research degree in the Clore Laboratory will include a bench fee. This will be dependent on the nature of the research project and will be notified to you in your offer letter.
‡20% discount available for accredited embassy staff (International Affairs and Diplomacy by research) / serving Officers in the British Armed Forces (War Studies).
+ Dinners following the seminars are available at a small additional cost.
Students who graduate from the University and plan to continue their studies with a postgraduate degree at Buckingham can benefit from a very generous automatic discount on their fees:
- 33%, those with a first class honours degree from Buckingham
- 25%, those with a Second Class Honours, Upper Division (2:1) degree from Buckingham
Details of scholarships can be found on our main Bursaries and Scholarships page. You should make an application to study at the University and receive an offer letter confirming our acceptance of your application before applying for a scholarship.
You may also find it useful to visit our External Funding page.
Due to the mode of study on this course you will not normally need a room in University accommodation during your degree.
However, if you require short-term accommodation in Buckingham we would be happy to provide a list of local bed and breakfast or hotel accommodation. Alternatively, please contact our Accommodation Office for advice.