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New heritage and archaeology course has global reach


Temple ruins in the middle of a jungle

Students could end up working around the world in gap year

The University of Bradford has launched a new Bachelor of Arts degree in heritage and archaeology, to offer study opportunities to students interested in heritage around the world.

It builds on the institution’s 40-plus years of world-leading expertise in the subject, including leading finds like the now-famous Stonehenge Durrington Pits discovery.

Those enrolling on the new BA course could end up working on archaeological sites across the globe during their gap year - from world heritage sites in places like Petra in Jordan, historic sites in Portugal, Stonehenge, scanning the bottom of the North Sea, and closer to home on projects, such as Virtual Bradford, digitally recording Bradford’s historic buildings.

The course will open up doors to a range of potential careers – in heritage, archaeology, and beyond, as well as discussing global challenges and issues, such as climate change, migration and identity.

It will also help address a national shortage in archaeologists. For information about the new course, sign up to a one-hour Heritage and Archaeology at the University of Bradford webinar on Tuesday 25 May at 1630.

Cultural quest

Dr Karina Croucher, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology, in the Faculty of Life Sciences, is programme lead for the  new BA course.

She explained the new Heritage and Archaeology BA would focus on how heritage remains are investigated and the cultural impact such findings have on society. It will also explore the role of people in the past – their belief systems, ways of living, relationships and identities, and why this is valuable today.

It will include the heritage of different world religions (such as Islam and Christianity) and how these are relevant for populations from around the world. The programme will challenge students to think differently about the world, playing an active role in shaping the future of the planet, including debates on identity, migration and climate change.

She said: “This course has been designed for those with an interest in modern perceptions of heritage and its management, it’s about interpreting data sets created in this multidisciplinary subject and using them to push our understanding and uses of heritage.

“We’re also recognising the growth of heritage as a field in archaeology. We have strengths in this area and because we’ve been running courses for over 40 years, we have a depth of knowledge and level of expertise which creates a unique and relevant offering.”

Around the world

The new programme incorporates a broad range of archaeological skill sets, including understanding the relevance of bones, bodies and burials, human, plant and animal remains, field recording skills, understanding landscapes and climate, and prehistoric cultures to name but a few.

The BA course offers a three or four year pathway, with a work placement year for those on the longer course.

Dr Croucher “Our students have had placements around the world, which gives them an advantage in terms of experience and finding employment. We want to give students the opportunity to broaden their horizons in this way.”

Dr Adrian Evans, who has worked archaeological sites all around the world, said: “Students could end up on all manner of archaeological sites, from unearthing a Bronze Age chariot in a field off the A1 to working in places like Petra, Jordan. This degree offers a pathway into jobs in tourism, international development, working for bodies like the National Trust, English Heritage, museums and more.

“Archaeology has an enduring appeal because people are curious; they like to figure out where they fit in the world. There’s a reality to it but also a disconnection which allows people to dream about what’s possible.”

Prof Chris Gaffney added: “We have a great depth of knowledge in terms of our techniques. The course includes a lot of transferable skills. We have been running year-long placements for 40 years and as a result we have this great tradition of getting people into great jobs.”

More about the course

Students will develop skills that will be useful not only in heritage and archaeology, but in whatever profession they choose to follow. These include project and time management, critical review and analytical thinking, presentational skills, computer and other applied IT skills and the management of data. 

Over the last six years, more than 84% of Bradford graduates found employment or further study within six months of completing their studies. Staff research informs much of the curriculum, drawing from expertise in archaeological science, digital heritage, and the ‘real-world’ value of archaeology and heritage for societies today.

The new programme aims to:-

  • deliver a study in heritage and archaeology that is designed to meet the rigorous benchmarking standards developed by the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists

  • provide students with a grounding in core issues, debates and theories in heritage and archaeology, and relevant in-depth understanding of the main areas of theoretical and empirical knowledge

  • deliver a flexible programme of study in heritage and archaeology that provides skills for employment and further study across multiple sectors

The ‘Heritage and Archaeology’ programme at the University of Bradford draws on cutting-edge research, using innovative technologies to contribute to an understanding of the past and its value today. It will include a blend of archaeology, heritage, science, theory and application, along with a commitment to diversity and inclusion. The programme will span local, regional and global heritage, investigating new methods, understanding and an appreciation of the value of heritage to contemporary society across many cultural contexts.