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Department of Anthropology and Archaeology

Organisational unit: Department

Organisation profile

Welcome to the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology at the University of Bristol. We are a young, international and friendly department dedicated to the study of humankind in the past and the present. Anthropology and Archaeology have been studied at the University of Bristol since its foundation in 1876, and the Department was formed in 2004 to unite the two fields.

The Department recognises Anthropology and Archaeology as fields, and field practices, that bridge disciplines and offer a creative and common space for dialogue and exchanges between the humanities, social and natural sciences. We are proud to offer, uniquely in Britain, the three fields of Archaeology, Social Anthropology and Biological Anthropology within a single academic Department. We are located in an early 20th century Arts and Crafts building at the centre of the University campus, 43 Woodland Road, where we have our own lecture theatres, seminar rooms, laboratories, computer rooms, stores and offices.

Our research clusters include revealing human lifeways; cultural and biological evolution; and materialities, identities and memory. The Department is a centre of excellence in teaching and maintains an internationally recognised research reputation. As one of our undergraduates, you can choose from a range of units taught by internationally respected experts in each area. International and local fieldwork opportunities often arise from our broad geographical base, which ranges from Avon to Zanzibar, and from the Palaeolithic to the present day. Our graduate students are actively involved in a range of archaeological and anthropological projects. A thriving Continuing Education programme offers part-time degree programmes, as well as a number of shorter courses and day-schools.

In particular, our archaeological research is focused in:

  • Human origins and bioarchaeology
  • European prehistory
  • Mediterranean archaeology and anthropology
  • Historical archaeology
  • Geophysics
  • Landscape archaeology

Our anthropological research is focused on

  • Ethnicity and identity
  • Environmental anthropology
  • Religion
  • Kinship
  • Political anthropology

Staff members are leading experts in their fields, and students have the opportunity to learn from their first-hand knowledge and experience and to participate in their projects. Currently members of staff are directing fieldwork and research projects in the UK, Mediterranean, Central and East Africa, India, Lower Central America, and the Caribbean. We also have strong interests in the Bristol area, and students have opportunities to participate in evaluation, research and rescue projects locally.

The relatively small size of the Department means there is a friendly and informal atmosphere. Undergraduates, graduates and staff have many opportunities to work and socialise together, through seminars, fieldtrips and fieldwork. There is also the student-organised Archaeology & Anthropology Society, which hosts a lively series of guest lectures on archaeological and anthropological topics each year.

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Contact information

43 Woodland Road
United Kingdom