Postgraduate taught

MSc Experimental Archaeology - 2021 entry

Please note: The below is for 2021 entries. Click here for 2020 entries.
UCAS code 1234
Duration 1 year full time
2 years part time
Entry year 2020

Programme Director Dr Linda Hurcombe
Web: Enquire online 
0300 555 6060 (UK)  
+44 (0)1392 723044 (non-UK)

Entry requirements

2:1 Honours degree

View full entry requirements

Campus Streatham Campus
Discipline Archaeology


  • Explore experimental archaeology’s potential as a powerful research method, an effective educational tool and an excellent medium for public outreach
  • Gain practical experience of experiments related to archaeological and taphonomic processes and the production of a range of material culture types
  • Our programme involves practical work and field trips and offers the opportunity for some modules to be studied alone
  • Our location is surrounded by sites of archaeological interest and you may also have opportunities for international fieldwork

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Time lapse footage of an Archaeological field work excavation at Ipplepen, a site of Roman significance.

Top 100 in World

QS World University Subject Rankings 2020

Top 10 in UK

The Complete University Guide 2021

3rd in the UK for world-leading and internationally excellent research

Research Excellence Framework 2014 

£1.3m external research funding awarded over past 3 years

Academic years 2015-2018

Entry requirements

2:1 Honours degree in Archaeology or a related subject.

Entry requirements for international students

Please visit our entry requirements section for equivalencies from your country and information on English language requirements.

Course content

The programme is divided into units of study called modules which are assigned 'credits'. The credit rating of a module is proportional to the total workload, with 1 credit being nominally equivalent to 10 hours of work.

Students on the MSc Experimental Archaeology study 180 credits in total. This includes a mixture of compulsory modules, optional modules and a dissertation.

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.


UK/EU fees per year:

Full time: £8,750 Part time: £4,375

International fees per year:



Teaching and research

Learning and teaching

This programme involves a high degree of learning through practice and experiments. Most of the formal classes that you attend will be based on a mixture of lectures, seminars, and workshops. The precise mix will vary between modules.


All members of staff are actively engaged in research, both in Britain and abroad, and regularly attend conferences, symposia and workshops. It is through this active engagement in the discipline that we are able to supply top quality teaching by experts in their field and as a result we have a 24/24 grading for our teaching from the Quality Assurance Agency.


We have excellent facilities for experimental archaeology including:

  • experimental archaeology lab - this flexible laboratory space is the epicentre of our students' experimental activity and is a hard-wearing practical space in which we can carry out the unusual projects that only experimental archaeologists can dream up!
  • material stocks - including sinew, feathers, hides, bones, antlers, wood, different stone types and plant materials
  • pottery and kiln room, where students can work with clay, equipped with a potter's wheel and a large programmable electric kiln that can reach 1300 degrees Celsius
  • workshop equipped with all the tools necessary to prepare materials for experiments
  • knapping area - an outdoor space reserved for flintknapping and other activities best done in the fresh air
  • experimental land - a substantial area of land on campus for long-term outdoor experiments.


The assessment for the MSc Experimental Archaeology is through a combination of essays, other written reports and projects, oral or electronic presentations, visual presentations, and a dissertation. The dissertation is an original piece of research on a topic of your choice, subject to the approval of your supervisor.

Research areas

The research culture in the Department of Archaeology at Exeter is characterised by world-leading and internationally excellent research projects and publications in a wide range of sub-disciplinary fields, including bioarchaeology, landscape and environmental archaeology as well as material culture and social agency. It encompasses period interests from earliest prehistory through to the post-medieval period and includes geographic specialisations that stretch from the Americas (especially North and South America), the British Isles, Northern, Western, Central and Eastern Europe, to the Eurasia steppes, South Asia and North Africa.

Primarily, our research focuses on three key themes:

Read more

Linda Hurcombe has broad interests in artefacts and material culture studies. She is especially interested in ethnographies of craft traditions, the sensory worlds of prehistoric societies and the manner in which archaeologists and anthropologists approach artefact studies.

She has also worked on Gender and Material Culture, publishing a three co-edited volumes with Macmillan, and explored function as a concept as well as conducting functional analysis of stone tools via wear traces, including Use Wear Analysis and Obsidian. Her research is characterised by the extensive use of experimental archaeology and ethnographies, providing a detailed practical understanding of how materials can be transformed into material culture.

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Professor Linda Hurcombe


Gill Juleff is an archaeo-metallurgist specialising in early ferrous technology (the archaeology of iron). Gill combines field investigation with laboratory-based analysis to examine early technological development within its social and environmental context.

Her main research areas are in Sri Lanka and India where she is engaged in two research projects, Monsoon Steel and Pioneering Metallurgy. Further afield, Gill’s research encompasses early iron production across South and Southeast Asia. In England, Gill has directed the Exmoor Iron project for a number of years, which is examining early iron production on Exmoor. At Exeter Gill teaches the artefacts module, archaeometallurgy, experimental archaeology and the archaeology of South Asia and the Indian Ocean.

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Dr Gillian Juleff

Senior Lecturer


As a member of the Archaeology Department and key part of our Postgraduate community you will have full access to our exceptional, modern facilities.

We have dedicated Experimental Archaeology laboratories and workshop spaces.

We have a clean lab with fume cupboards for chemical work.

We have a kiln room, a landscape archaeology project office with a giant scanner for maps and plans, and a microscope room equipped with high specification microscopes and image processing facilities.

We have wet labs for sample processing and we have state of the art surveying equipment which includes resistivity equipment, magnetometers, differential and hand-held GPS, and a total station theodolite.


On top of all that we also have extensive reference collections of artefacts, animal bones and plant remains. So whatever your specific interests within archaeology we have the kit for it.

And of course you will have access to the wider resources of the University too, including the Library, Special Collections and our new Digital Humanities Lab, a £1.2 million lab and research space for the examination and preservation of important historical, literary and visual artefacts. The lab will allow you to use high-tech equipment to find out more about our cultural heritage and examine objects in greater detail. For more information visit our Digital Humanities Lab page.

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The Archaeology programmes at Exeter are designed to develop your skills of analysis, assessment and interpretation as well as the production of written and oral reports. The broad-based nature of the subject and the skills it provides give a strong grounding for a wide range of careers, not only those related to archaeology but also in the wider fields of teaching, administration and business. Some graduates combine their initial job with voluntary archaeological work or with further part time study of the subject.

Some destinations of graduates from Archaeology programmes are:

  • Archaeological Assistant
  • Experimental Archaeologist
  • Field Archaeologist
  • Learning Resources Coordinator
  • Museum Curator
  • PhD in Archaeology
  • Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Press Executive
  • Teacher
  • Time Team Archaeologist/Community Archaeologist
  • Web Developer