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. In 2016 six out of our seven students were awarded ‘Distinction’ for their MA dissertations and two have gone on to study at PhD level with the University. All of our students’ work will be published by Peter Lang in 2017. The course has benefited from 100% student retention rates.
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 the students’ individual research projects and dissertations, 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 dissertation 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 no fewer than 25,000 words. Supervisors and students will meet frequently throughout the year – not less than twice a term – and the supervisor is the student’s primary contact for academic advice and support.
The MA is taught by staff from the University of Buckingham, with the participation of a number of renowned scholars who give lectures and lead some of the seminars.
Part One: Fieldwork: Site visits and Excavations
There will be an opportunity to take part in two field trips as part of the programme. This element of the course is not compulsory and so will not be assessed, but for those intending to conduct fieldwork of their own, they provide the student with an indispensable 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 be centred at the Blick Mead 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).
Friday 5 October 2018 – Sunday 7 October 2018 – FIELD TRIP 1 (Blick Mead excavation)
The first fieldwork weekend will be centred at the Blick Mead, Vespasian’s Camp archaeological site, near Stonehenge. Accommodation will be arranged at the George Inn and Antrobus Arms in Amesbury. There will be a Thai dinner on Saturday evening at the Antrobus for those who would like to take part.
Friday 22 March 2019 – Sunday 24 March 2019 – FIELD TRIP 2 (to the Stonehenge landscape)
The second fieldwork weekend takes place in the Stonehenge landscape, which is intended in part to support the research for your dissertation
Please note that the programme may be subject to change.
During the fieldwork, weekends training will be given in field techniques by professional archaeologists Tom Phillips, Tom Lyons, Josh White, Nick James and other team members. Students will also have the opportunity to take part in tours of the Stonehenge landscape during the two weekends, as well as to visit Amesbury and Avebury Museums and the Stonehenge Visitors Centre.
Costs for accommodation, subsistence and travel are not included in the course fee, for both MA students and Associates.
Part Two: Stonehenge and the First Britons: The History, Theories and Practices of Archaeology seminars
The programme includes a series of research seminars and dissertation workshops. These will be held at the university’s London premises at 51 Gower Street, Bloomsbury, WC1E 6HJ. All sessions start at 6.30 pm (please arrive at 6.15pm) and finish at around 8.00pm.
A cold buffet dinner will be provided free of charge following each seminar.
The sessions will provide your tutors with a further opportunity to outline the course and its requirements, answer your questions and provide a forum in which we can discuss research topics, the business of research (archives, sources etc.) and writing. Please ensure that you come prepared with writing materials and a folder for the paperwork. It would also be extremely useful if you could come prepared to talk about the ideas that you may have for the subject of your dissertation.
The 2018-19 seminar schedule can be found below.
- 25th September 2018 – Research Seminar 1: Course and fieldwork overview and requirements (David Jacques Senior Research Fellow, University of Buckingham, Professor Graeme Davis, University of Buckingham and Tom Lyons, British Museum)*
- 16th October 2018 – Professor David Jacques: The post-glacial occupation of Salisbury Plain
- 23rd October 2018 – Dr Julian Richards (Stonehenge Riverside Project, Stonehenge Environs Project, BBC ‘Meet the Ancestors’): Neolithic Monuments: Coneybury, causewayed enclosures, long barrows, the Cursuses, early Henges, the first phases of Stonehenge
- 6th November 2018 – Dr Mark Bowden (Senior Archaeological Investigator, Historic England): Bronze and Iron Age: later phases of Stonehenge, round barrows, defended sites ‘hillforts’; Vespasian’s Camp, Danebury and Old Sarum, Roman period.
- 13th November 2018 – Research Seminar 2 (Professor Graeme Davis)*
- 20th November 2018 – Professor Mike Parker Pearson (UCL): The new discoveries of the Stonehenge Riverside project team
- 27th November 2018 – Dr Barry Bishop (University of Buckingham): The development of prehistoric flint-work in Wessex – changing uses and influences from the Mesolithic to Bronze Age
- 4th December 2018 – Professor Peter Rowley-Conwy (Durham University): Approaches to evaluating the use of animals in the prehistoric landscape
- 8th January 2019 – Professor Nick Branch (Head of School, inc Archaeology, Reading University): Changing environments in the Stonehenge area from post glacial times to the Romano-British period
- 15th January 2019 – Professor Vince Gaffney (Bradford University) : Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes project
- 22nd January 2019 – Research Seminar 3: Recording and data analysis, field survey, object identification, use of library including JSTOR, the Historic Environment Record and Portable Antiquities Scheme databases, statistical analysis for archaeologists, interpretation of aerial photograph and satellite imagery (Dr Nick James, David Jacques and Graeme Davis)*
- 12th February 2019 – Dissertation Workshop One (David Jacques and Graeme Davis)*
- 5th March 2019 – Dissertation Workshop Two (Graeme Davis and David Jacques)*
- 2nd April 2019 – Dissertation Workshop Three (Dr Graeme Davis, David Jacques and Dr Nick James)*
Please note that the programme may be subject to change.
*N.B. Attendance at the Research/Dissertation Seminars is a mandatory part of the course. However, if you have a valid reason for not attending the scheduled sessions, it may be possible to make alternative arrangements for a shorter ‘briefing’. Please let David Jacques know if you cannot attend all the scheduled seminars.
The MA degree is awarded on the basis of the dissertation, which should be no fewer than 25,000 words. The supervisor provides advice in identifying and defining a research topic, assisting the student 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.
Books: general introductions
- Bowden, M. et al., The Stonehenge Landscape (Historic England, 2015)
- 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: Making Sense of a Prehistoric Mystery (CBA, 2015)
- 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)
- Jacques, D. & T. Phillips, “Mesolithic Settlement Near Stonehenge: Excavations at Blick Mead, Vespasian’s Camp” (A.M, 2014), 7-27 (click here)
- 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)
- Marshall, S. Avebury: The Essential Guide (History Press, 2016)
- 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., “Have We Underestimated Our Ancestors?”, BBC (2015) (click here)
- Jacques, D., T. Phillips & T. Lyons., “Return to Blick Mead”, Current Archaeology 293 (2014)