Archaeology & Anthropology

Department of Archaeology & Anthropology

We are a highly dynamic and engaged academic community that is committed to inspiring learning through teaching, advancing knowledge through research, and enriching society through professional engagement.

Our active research interests stretch from the very earliest archaeology and anthropology of our human ancestors, right the way through to early farming societies, the Bronze and Iron Ages, to the Romans. They are also global in scale – from Europe and the Near East, to Africa, Asia, the Americas and the islands of the Pacific. We specialise in practical fieldwork and the analysis of archaeological and anthropological material, including digital, forensic and maritime methods and applications of archaeology and anthropology. We are also actively concerned with the relationships that exist between humans, objects, animals and our environments and how these vary across time and space, contributing not only to debates about the past, but also present day issues such as climate change. 

Importantly our research informs and enriches our teaching and professional work. Central to all of our taught courses is a strong emphasis on practical, hands-on learning involving our state-of-the-art laboratory and analytical facilities, field equipment and world-class teaching and learning collections. To support this emphasis on skills-based learning, placements are also available on all our undergraduate courses and we were amongst one of the very first departments in the UK to have our archaeology degrees accredited by the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists.

Our students rate us very highly – the 2020 National Student Survey put us in the top eight departments in the UK for our archaeology courses, and our students consistently comment on how engaged, approachable and helpful our lecturers are. Our reputation for research is growing very fast too - we are currently the top-rated new university for archaeological research and all of our staff are actively involved in research and working at the cutting edge of their fields.

The department holds a Bronze Athena Swan Charter award which recognises our gender equality efforts. We are committed to promoting inclusive working practices and to providing an equitable working environment for both students and staff. Our Athena Swan budget contributes funding to research projects, please see the 'Forgotten Heros Exhibition' on our research page.

Our courses

Our institutes

Our facilities

The anthropology lab

Anthropology Laboratory

We hold one of the largest human remains collections among UK universities - find out more about how it’s used during our courses.


The collections now held by the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology within the Faculty of Science and Technology were started in 1969.
Instruments lab

Analytical facilities

Discover what equipment we have in our instrument labs and how this can enhance your studies.

Planning and levelling of archaeological features

Field equipment

Practical, field-based archaeological survey and recording is a core component of teaching and research within the Department of Archaeology & Anthropology. To support this, the department has an impressive array of the latest survey equipment.

50 years of Archaeology and Anthropology at Bournemouth

50 years of archaeology logo

In 2017-18 we celebrated 50 years of archaeology and anthropology at Bournemouth University and its predecessor institutions with a conference and the publication of a short history of the Department (pdf 960kb)

Back in 1967, Bill Putnam introduced archaeology to the teacher training curriculum at Weymouth College, followed soon after by a Certificate in Practical Archaeology. This morphed into the HND in Practical Archaeology, and from 1981 a series of undergraduate and later postgraduate degree courses. Institutionally, the programmes moved from Weymouth College to the Dorset Institute of Higher Education, then to Bournemouth Polytechnic, and from 1992 Bournemouth University.

Download the conference programme (pdf 585kb)

Staff and students gathered in Kimmeridge House

Find out more about the department

Professor Kate Welham

Our staff

Meet our staff and find out more about their specialisms.
Big Dig site 2015

The Archaeological Field School

The Place project is our annual archaeological excavation field school at a rich historical site in the heart of Dorset. Learn how to get involved, and see some of our most impressive finds over the past few years.