2019 start
MA

Cultural Materials

Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Arts and Humanities

Through imaginative teaching and world-leading research, we inspire our students to explore.
Two archaeology students in lab

Course description

The study of material artefacts is vital to our understanding of craft production, use and trade in ancient and historic societies.

You choose one of three pathways: Experimental Archaeology, Materials and Technological Analysis, and Material Culture Studies. The latter gives you the option of a work placement where you can focus on a subject, technique or form that interests you.  

Each pathway has a different emphasis which is reflected in the compulsory modules. Through optional modules, you can choose to engage with particular historic periods, theory, ethnographic case studies, and different approaches to material culture.

Lectures, seminars and presentations are complemented by practical work – in the laboratory and in the field, so you develop the skill set you need to work with archaeological material. For your dissertation, you’ll work on a project on a particular aspect of material culture.

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Modules

Core modules

All streams:

  • Reinventing Archaeology
  • Materialising Culture: Agents, Things and Social Processes
  • Dissertation (Material Culture Studies stream choose between a fieldwork placement and a dissertation)

Optional modules

Depending on which of the three streams you choose to study, these may include:

  • Reconstructing Ancient Technologies: Ceramics, Metals or Vitreous Materials
  • Experimental Archaeology
  • Applied Archaeological Science

Teaching

You can expect a balanced timetable of lectures, seminars and practicals. You’ll have access to specialist labs and world-class reference collections. Many of our masters courses include a fieldwork or project-based component.

We integrate humanities and science-based approaches to nurture a deeper understanding. You’ll have the opportunity to explore different viewpoints and make up your own mind about their strengths and weaknesses.

We’ll help you to develop your critical thinking as well as your practical skills. What we ask of you, as a member of our lively academic community, is that you challenge, question, and explore.

Duration

  • 1 year full-time
  • 2 years part-time

This course provides a very specific study of the material artefacts – glass, ceramic, and metal – found in the archaeological record. The modules are varied and cover theory, ethnographic case studies and experimental approaches to cultural material. There are lectures, seminars and practical work. The course has three tracks, which means you can carry out a wide range of research and projects.

Katherine Jensen
MA Cultural Materials

Entry requirements

Usually a minimum 2:1 honours degree in an arts, humanities or science subject. But your interest in and understanding of archaeology is more important than what you studied at undergraduate level.

English language requirements

Overall IELTS grade of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component, or equivalent.

Entry requirements for international students

Fees and funding

Studentships

If you accept a place on a course, you may be eligible to apply for White Rose College of the Arts and Humanities (WRoCAH) and University of Sheffield studentships. We also offer a number of department and course-specific scholarships. See the department's fees and funding page for more information.

Financial information for postgraduate taught courses

Apply

You can apply for postgraduate study using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.

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Contact

archaeology-masters@sheffield.ac.uk
+44 114 222 2900

The course information set out here may change before you begin, particularly if you are applying significantly in advance of the start date.