Our Undergraduate Students: Profiles

Our BA and BSc students enjoy studying archaeology in Sheffield for lots of reasons, from the excitement of excavating artefacts in the field with staff and coursemates, to analysing remains and materials in the lab, to sharing knowledge of the past with local communities.

Victoria, BA Classical and Historical Archaeology

We had a module in our second year which was specifically working on community projects, so I worked with a youth theatre group and we were looking at some of the archaeological features in the woods. They’ve now put together this archaeological trail, like an audio guide.

Matt, BSc Archaeological Science

I’ve been accepted onto the MSc in Archaeological Materials … I’ll be doing that in September so I can specialise more in material analysis. Then I’ll hopefully stay in archaeology, pursue a PhD.

Del Pickup

Del, BA Archaeology

Del at Shaw Cairn

How did you come to do a degree in Archaeology?

I am a part-time undergraduate mature student in my 4th year of a 6 year BA Archaeology course, having moved over to a degree course after completing a 2 year part-time Certificate in Archaeology through The Institute of Lifelong Learning, now the Department of Lifelong Learning.

What have you enjoyed about studying Archaeology in Sheffield?

Through my studies I have been able to access a wide variety of volunteer and paid work experiences, ranging from volunteering for Museums Sheffield in the archaeology store to working in the University's Western Bank Library. I was also recently elected as the Students Union Mature Student Councillor and NUS Rep. During my time at the archaeology department I have had access to a wide range of local archaeological projects, from Bronze Age Cairns and Iron Age Hill Forts to a Medieval Hospital and a World War 1 Training Camp. I am looking forward this summer to attending an exciting multi-period project at Poulton near Chester that has unearthed evidence of occupation from the Mesolithic through to Roman and Medieval.

What are your future plans once you’ve finished your degree?

I have enjoyed my studies so much that I hope to go on to do a Postgraduate Master’s Degree here in Sheffield, a city I have fallen in love with.

Patrisia Smedley

Patrisia, BA Classical and Historical Archaeology

How have you found studying Archaeology in Sheffield?

My favourite thing about studying Archaeology in Sheffield is that all the people and the lecturers are so friendly, it's a totally different feeling to A-Levels, the lecturers help and guide you into the right directions, and many out of hours projects and activities are available, which you can take part in to make you a well-rounded student and open more doors for you in the future.

What are you focussing on right now?

At the moment I have just finished working on my Think Create project and starting my new spring semester modules, which I'm excited about. I'm looking forward to studying AAP110 The Classical World and its Legacy, which looks into the Greco Roman classical cultures, which inspired me to study classical and historical Archaeology. Throughout the summer I have one compulsory fieldwork which I will be doing in Weeks 11 and 12 and I also have further opportunities to engage in community Archaeology in the summer.

What are your plans for the future?

After my graduation I plan to work within heritage management or get involved in forensic archaeology, as these are jobs you can do with an Archaeology degree that I didn't know about until I started university.

Otis Gilbert

Otis, BA Classical and Historical Archaeology

How did you find your open day visit to the Archaeology department at Sheffield?

I can remember being surprised. When you read information regarding the university it can fail to impress on you the community spirit within the department and the university as a whole. Also the information does not give you an idea of what studying at Sheffield is like, coming along to an open day gives you a feel of what the university and student life is really like. I had already decided to apply to Sheffield before coming, but the open day really boosted my confidence in my decision and reduced my anxiety about the course.

How have you found studying Archaeology in Sheffield since then?

I love studying archaeology at Sheffield. It ensures your degree is varied, studying archaeology across the world and across time. The department's connections with professionals around the world, and range of excavations in the UK and abroad, offers everyone the opportunity to partake in fieldwork of their choice. I'm looking forward to studying the later bronze age in the Aegean this semester, filling in a gap in my knowledge and allowing me to understand earlier archaeology than I usually work with.

Ashley, a Study Abroad student

Ashley, Study Abroad student from De Paul University, USA

Why did you choose to come to Sheffield for your Study Abroad placement?

As an anthropology major, Sheffield felt like the natural choice for moving forward with my degree. England harbors such a rich history and an incredibly diverse array of archaeological finds; it almost makes one feel like they’re stepping into a completely different world. The University of Sheffield in particular has an amazing archaeology department suited just for that diverse history, as well as a collection of other topics across Europe taught by those intimately connected to that research.

How is studying Archaeology at Sheffield different?

I found studying archaeology in England to be a very singular and self-motivated affair. Oftentimes you are faced with familiarizing yourself with one, maybe two, specific topics, rather than focusing on a broad scope of topics many classes in the U.S. tend to go for. This may be rough for newcomers not accustomed to English history and archaeology, but it proves to be a valuable learning tool and opportunity for one to immerse themselves in this new culture. U.S. classes don’t always just focus on the methods of archaeology, but there is a common theme of learning a theory or technique for the purpose of applying it; studying archaeology in England does allow for the use of those applications, but it’s much more subtle, choosing to focus largely on not only the archaeology but the history as well.

What specifically have you gained from the experience of coming to Sheffield for Study Abroad?

The Archaeology Department at the University of Sheffield has given me an opportunity to grow; it has given me the ability to look at the different, unique nuances of the field of archaeology in another country; it has provided a challenging, yet easy to engage in, environment that not only nurtured what I learned in the U.S., but has prepared me for a future outside of that specific professional sphere. I still have much to learn, but I am more confident and ready to embrace and adapt to new archaeological practices moving forward.

Greer Dewdney

Greer, BSc Archaeology with Work Placement

Why did you choose to study Archaeology?

I’ve wanted to be an archaeologist since I was about eight years old, and now, an A¬-level, two years of an undergraduate degree and several hundred episodes of Time Team later, I feel I’m firmly on my way. In my first year I took all six of the Archaeology modules offered, and I feel now that this was a great opportunity to get to cover all sorts of topics and theories that I’d never encountered before, and to solidify interests I already had.

What made you choose the University of Sheffield?

My open day visit was vital in helping me decide which university to go to, as I firmly believed that if I was going to spend three years living and working somewhere I needed to know I would feel happy there. I made sure I visited all my university options, and Sheffield was where I felt the most comfortable, so Sheffield was where I came.

What are you up to now?

I'm currently working on my dissertation project, researching new ways of analysing skeletons to get more information from the bones, based on a 12th century site called Blackgate in Newcastle upon Tyne, which I think will combine all my interests and be a really interesting project to get involved in.

What are your plans for the future?

Once I've graduated, I hope to go on to the Masters course in Human Osteology and Funerary Archaeology, and from there into a job dealing with the excavation and interpretation of human skeletons.

What has been a highlight of your Archaeology degree here?

The field school I took part in during the summer between first and second year was incredible. I spent two weeks excavating Tudor manor houses on the site of the 12th century Thornton Abbey in North Lincolnshire, whilst sleeping in a sheep field and sharing food and space with 60 other people from all over the world. Perhaps not everybody’s idea of a great summer holiday, but it was definitely a lot more rewarding than two weeks on a beach and I still got a tan. I enjoyed the dig so much that this year I’m going back as part of the supervisory team for the entire month, having developed a great relationship with the lecturer who leads the project and some of the Masters and PhD students who are in charge of different sections of the dig.