Prospective undergraduates

Why choose Archaeology?

Our Archaeology degrees specialise in European prehistory and the civilisations of the Mediterranean and the Near East.

Items from the Vere Gordon Childe collection

At Edinburgh, Archaeology is a multifaceted and wide-ranging discipline. Staff interests range from early man to the Byzantine world, but all our faculty members share a passion for the subject and a keen desire to inspire enthusiasm in students. 

We are ranked within the top 10 for Archaeology in the UK (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2018), and have historically scored highly on student surveys.


Our academic staff are skilled in a number of scientific techniques and practices, including:

  • artefact and material analysis
  • digital imaging techniques
  • visualisation and modelling
  • computer simulation
  • the study of human and animal remains (bioarchaeology) 
  • forensic anthropology.


We have extensive laboratory facilities open to students. Our five dedicated science-based archaeology teaching labs are:

  • a chemistry lab for collagen extraction and preparation of experimental materials
  • a wet lab for skeletal and experimental processing
  • a microscope lab
  • a research lab
  • a computer lab giving access to specialist software.

As an undergraduate student within the department, you will be able to handle, draw and learn from the School’s large teaching collection of skeletal remains and archaeological artefacts. We house the famous Vere Gordon Childe collection, which contains artefacts from across the globe.

Outside the university campus, you can make use of key national archaeological institutions such as the National Museums Scotland and Historic Environment Scotland.


Our degrees offer a number of opportunities for practical archaeological experience. Our students are often invited to participate in staff projects, which take place in a range of locations (including Scotland and Egypt) during holiday periods or as part of their final year dissertation project. In addition, there are opportunities to take part in external excavations and archaeological survey fieldwork in the UK and Europe.

An example of the fieldwork opportunities abroad is in Ossi, Sardinia.


Students talk about their experience of fieldwork at Kilmartin, Argyll.

Video: HCA Kilmartin Rock Art Fieldwork
Archaeology students take part in fieldwork concerning rock art at Kilmartin, 2019.

Edinburgh is also home to many national commercial archaeology companies and important archaeological sites which date back to the Mesolithic period, providing opportunities for fieldwork and work experience.


A flavor of what it is like studying Archaeology at Edinburgh

Video: HCA Archaeology School Video 2020
Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh - School video 2020


A word from our students...

Ita - archaeology student


Ita is a theatre, old movies and book lover, recently studied MA Archaeology and Social Anthropology. "I love the Main Library! It’s an amazing place"

What does Ita love most about the library? 



View a full list of our Archaeology degrees