Combining History and Archaeology

One thing we are always asked is whether it makes sense to combine history and archaeology as a combined degree at the University of Chester.  The answer is yes!

This combined degree suits those who loved history at school and want to widen their focus.  It also provides an excellent companion subject to those students who want to do archaeology, but may be nervous about undertaking an unfamiliar subject on its own.  This combination allows students to combine the best of both worlds, develop existing skills and gain new ones.

The main benefits of combining history with archaeology are:

  • Optionality
  • Heritage options in all years
  • An ‘applied’ approach in both History and Archaeology
  • Great for lovers of the Medieval period

Optionality

One of the great benefits of this Combined Honours Degree is the ability to choose from a wide range of topics in both history and archaeology throughout your time at Chester.  These could include topics like The Black Death, Seafaring, Archaeological Practice, Modern America, Prehistory, Europe in the of Absolutism, Death and Burial, the Rise of the Modern Metropolis, and many more!

For a full list of modules we offer please visit our History and Archaeology course pages.

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One of the options available in the final year is the module ‘Death and Burial’

Although, when you apply, you will be asked to specify in which subject you wish to specialise, for example Archaeology With History, or History And Archaeology, the final decision about your Major is actually made at the end of your second year.  This means that you have the freedom to tailor your Combined degree to your own interests throughout your time at Chester.

Heritage

Heritage is about how we present and curate the past for everyone.  A great benefit of this Combined Honours Degree is the ability to study heritage options at every level.  Many historians and archaeologists opt for heritage modules that help them see how the story of the past can be presented to others.  These modules engage with current debates in the field of heritage management and facilitate an in-depth understanding of artistic, cultural and historical heritage.

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Heritage options get students thinking about how we should display and tell people about the past.

Staff at Chester have expertise in heritage management, and real world experience with heritage organisations and museums.  This is reflected in topics such as The Past In The Present, Living With The Past, Heritage Interpretation and Managing Historic Buildings. 

For a full list of modules we offer please visit our History and Archaeology course pages.

Applied Approaches

We believe that putting theory into practice is really important for your learning experience and your employability prospects.  Many options in this Combined Degree have an applied practical element, such as field trips, fieldwork, lab work and archival research.

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History Students enjoying a field trip to the Cavern Club with Dr James Pardoe, Senior Lecturer in Heritage, to examine the musical history and heritage of this region

In addition, one of the advantages of studying at Chester is that we offer a discipline-specific work-based learning module.  Students are given the opportunity to develop and enhance their skills by participating in a project that reflects the role of an archaeologist or research historian.  As a Combined student, you can choose to take either the Archaeology or the History option. 

Typically, the Archaeology module is a training excavation where students excavate, record, engage with the public and do post-excavation work giving them vital hands-on experience.  For the past few years, students have been digging in Chester and you can see more on the site blog.

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Students excavating as part of their experiential learning module.

The history and heritage option involves training in research skills and working in archives.  Students work in small groups on a bespoke research project, sometimes in partnership with local organisations, based on archival material and/or special library/museum collections.  Projects vary year by year but have included research on behalf of the National Trust at John Lennon’s childhood home, war memorials in and around Chester, and the physical impact of the English Civil War on Chester.  Some of these projects have resulted in students contributing to heritage publications.

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Students conducting research into Beatles history on behalf of the National Trust as part of their experiential learning module

At Chester you can ‘Go Medieval’

One of the special features of this Combined degree is the ability to focus on the Medieval period.  From pagan Anglo-Saxons and Picts to Norman castles and wealthy trading centres on the continent.  A review in 2012 noted the department’s “achievement of national recognition for the strength on its medieval history and archaeology.” 

Over twenty modules specifically focus or largely focus on the Medieval period from c.400 to 1540.  These include both British and European topics and reflect the expertise of the Medieval specialists within the department. Modules on Medieval archaeology, life, death, burial, art and economics are all on offer

For a full list of modules we offer please visit our History and Archaeology course pages.

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Monastic ruins at Valle Crucis, Llangollen