Clare College Cambridge


(including Biological Anthropology and Ancient Near East studies)


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Archaeology spans a huge range of topics: from the evolution of humans through to the development of farming, ancient civilisations and world empires, as well as the role of material culture in human life and the politics of heritage in modern societies. The Archaeology Tripos is a three-year degree. Students can follow several streams – Archaeology (covering all world cultures), Biological Anthropology (covering human biological diversity, evolution and primates), and/or Egyptology and Assyriology (including both a language and archaeological basis).

With the Division of Archaeology and the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Cambridge is one of the largest centres of archaeological research in Britain, and we have recently been awarded top place in the Good University Guide for Archaeology in the UK. Archaeology students at Cambridge benefit from direct hands-on access to and teaching with world-class collections in Cambridge’s many museums, libraries and research centres. From 2017 onwards, Cambridge is launching an exciting new undergraduate degree programme in single honours archaeology (for more information on the course, see here).

Dr Andrea Migliano working with the Aeta, PhilippinesThe Archaeology Tripos

In the first year (Part I), students choose three subjects from:

  • ARC1 (Introduction to Archaeology),
  • ARC2 (Archaeology in Action),
  • ARC6 (Cross-disciplinary foundations),
  • ARC3 (Egypt and Mesopotamia),
  • ARC4 (Akkadian I),
  • ARC5 (Egyptian Language I),
  • BAN01 (Introduction to Biological Anthropology).

The fourth paper may come from the above list or from the Human, Social and Political Sciences (HSPS) Part I Tripos.

During Easter term in Part I, students will participate in a 2-3 week training excavation.

Dr Marta Mirazon Lahr & Justus Edung excavating at Nataruk, KenyaIn their second and third years (Part IIA and B), students follow a particular stream within Archaeology, Biological Anthropology, Egyptology or Assyriology (single-track), or they can continue with Archaeology and Biological Anthropology or Egyptology and Assyriology (joint-tracks). Different streams allow students to borrow papers from Classics or HSPS. Some streams (i.e. single-track archaeology) require fieldwork to be conducted between the second and third year, although many of our students choose to participate in fieldwork even if it is not a required part of their degree.

Archaeology at Clare College

Archaeology is a new Tripos at the University of Cambridge, although it has been an active and lively community in the University and at the College whilst it was part of the HSPS Tripos and, prior to 2013, the Archaeology and Anthropology Tripos. The College has a tradition of active cohorts of undergraduate and postgraduate students. A Clare and Queens’ Archaeology and Anthropology group was founded by post-graduates at both colleges in 2012 and has had a thriving presence, for example hosting research talks and movie nights.

Admissions Requirements

Creux le faiesThere are no specific requirements on subjects studied at A-level.Depending on your area of interest, we welcome students from a wide range of subjects, including from the Humanities (such as History, English, Classics or a language), Social Sciences (such as Geography, Sociology, Psychology or Anthropology), and the Sciences (such as Biology, Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics). Applicants for Egyptology and Assyriology are strongly encouraged to have studied an ancient or modern language. Offers are based on A-level (or equivalent) examination results, a typical offer to read Archaeology would be A*AA at A-level or 7,7,6 (40+ overall) in the IB or the equivalent in other educational systems. Candidates are not expected to have a particular combination of subjects at A-level (or equivalent).

Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies Genetics LabWritten Assessment

All applicants who are selected for interview are required to take the university-wide at-interview written assessment for Archaeology. Further information about this is available here.


Applicants who are selected for interview will be called for interview in the second or third week of December. Each applicant will normally have two interviews.



Director of Studies in Archaeology

Dr Sheila Kohring Manager of the Material Culture Laboratory. Dr Kohring specialises in later European Prehistory (Western Atlantic Fringe, including Britain) and Material Culture, Technology and Society (Pottery, Lithics, Art).

Other Clare College Fellows

Professor Marta Mirazón Lahr Professor of Human Evolutionary Biology and Prehistory, Director of the Duckworth Laboratory. Dr Lahr specialises in human evolution and human adaptation (Genetics, Morphology).


Scandinavian rock artPast Students

Past student Alex W. (Archaeology student 2011-2014) writes:

“…In my three years, I was able to study modules on European, North and South American, and sub-Saharan African archaeology! This gave the course a great breadth of study while the theory provided a depth of understanding that is difficult to find at other universities. The most challenging and exciting moments of the course came during supervisions, where we were invariably called upon to mount on-the-spot defenses of anything from Latour's Actor-Network Theory to the assertion that Neanderthals believed in an afterlife.”