|Duration||1 year full time
2 years part time
- 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
- Those working within the heritage sector as employees or independent consultants may be able to apply for an MA by Research in Experimental Archaeology. You will need to demonstrate suitable existing skillsets and define topics in tandem with potential supervisors, as for any research degree.
Top 50 in world subject rankings for Archaeology
QS World University Subject Rankings 2022
Top 10 in UK
The Complete University Guide 2021
4th in the UK for internationally excellent Archaeology research
Research Excellence Framework 2021
£1.3m external research funding awarded over past 3 years
Academic years 2015-2018
We are looking for graduates with a 2:1 or above in their first degree in archaeology, history, ancient history, anthropology, biology, geography, geology, chemistry, heritage, or similar.
While we normally only accept applicants who meet these criteria, if you have a high 2:2 or equivalent, or are coming from a different academic background which is equivalent to degree level, or have relevant work experience, we would welcome your application.
You are welcome to make informal approaches to the Programme Director (see above) for advice in advance of your formal application.
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 fees per year:
£11,000 full-time; £5,500 part-time
International fees per year:
£22,500 full-time; £11,250 part-time
We invest heavily in scholarships for talented prospective Masters students and have over £2.5 million in scholarships available for students applying to study with us in 2023, including our Global Excellence Scholarships* for international fee paying students.
For information on how you can fund your postgraduate degree at the University of Exeter, please visit our dedicated funding page.
*Selected programmes only. Please see the Terms and Conditions for each scheme for further details.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Dr Gillian Juleff
As a member of the Archaeology Department and key part of our postgraduate community you will have full access to our exceptional, modern facilities.
- Experimental Archaeology Labs
- Bioarchaeology Lab
- Clean Lab and fume cupboards for preparing stable isotope samples
- Landscape archaeology project office
- Microscope room equipped with high specification microscopes and image processing facilities
- Digital Humanities Lab
- Wet labs for artefact and environmental sample processing
- Digital x-ray facilities and equipment for elemental analysis
- State-of-the-art surveying equipment
- Outdoor experimental space
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 and Special Collections.
The Experimental Archaeology course at Exeter is designed to develop your skills of analysis and interpretation and to link practical and academic knowledge in creative ways. The broad-based nature of the subject and the skills it provides give a strong grounding for a wide range of careers.
Many of our MSc students go on to study at PhD level, and the MSc in Experimental Archaeology serves as excellent preparation for a wide range of research projects. Your tutors and the Archaeology academic staff will help you put together applications for funding and develop a research proposal if you should choose to take this path.
Of course, doctoral study is not the only option available to you, you will graduate with a full range of skills that will make you competitive in the job market. You will be well placed to go on to work in either Archaeology or the wider Heritage Sector, for example.