Archaeology uses the material and biological remains of past societies to study what it means to be human, from millions of years ago to the immediate past. It uses methods drawn from the humanities, social sciences and sciences. The Cambridge degree allows students to explore themes across this vast canvas as their interests develop, developing specialisms in Archaeology (all cultures), the study of the first civilizations and their languages (Assyriology and Egyptology), or Biological Anthropology.


St John's has two Fellows who are also members of the Department of Archaeology. Dr Preston Miracle is an expert on human prehistory, zooarchaeology and archaeological theory. He has excavated at a wide range of sites, with his most recent fieldwork being in Croatia. Professor Graeme Barker (Disney Professor of Archaeology Emeritus) works especially on the dispersal of our species out of africa and the origins of agriculture. He has excavated in many parts of the world, currently in Iraqi Kurdistan. Other Fellows and members of St John's with Archaeology-related interests include Dr Sarah Inskip, Dr Emma Loftus, and Professor Tim Bayliss-Smith (retired).  

With the Department of Archaeology and the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Cambridge is one of the largest centres of archaeological research in Britain, and we have now for several years running 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 world-class collections in Cambridge’s many museums, libraries, and research centres.

Entry Details

Typical Entry Requirements

A Level: A*AA

International Baccalaureate: 40-42 points, with 776 at Higher Level

Essential Subjects: None

Desirable Subjects: Students with almost any combination of subjects at school can apply; there are no specific required subjects. We welcome applications from students studying humanistic fields such as History, English, Classics, and ancient languages, social sciences such as Geography, Sociology, Psychology, or Anthropology, and sciences such as Biology, Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics.

Submitted Work: None

At-interview Assessment: All applicants will take a 60 minute written assessment in College, based on the reading of material that we will supply. This hour-long assessment is designed to assess the ability to interpret texts and to write, and no special preparation or prior knowledge is required at any stage of the application process. More information can be found on the University’s webpage for Admissions Assessments.

Archaeology spans a very broad subject area, and the course allows study of topics ranging across the humanities, the social sciences and the sciences.

Admissions Interviews 

Details regarding the operation of admissions interviews in the 2020-2021 admissions round have yet to be confirmed.