Studying Archaeology in Post-16 Education: A Levels
AS & A level Archaeology
Unlike at GCSE, at GCE AS and A level archaeology is available as a separate subject offered by the AQA exam board. Like other AS and A level courses the course is split over two years and comprises of two modules per year:
- ARCH1: The Archaeology of Religion and Ritual
The study of Religion and Ritual focus on belief systems and on the actual activities related to those beliefs. The unit is taught through examining one of three period themes:
- Prehistoric Europe 30,000BC to AD43;
- Ancient Egypt 3000BC to 50BC;
- Roman Europe 753BC to AD410.
- ARCH2: Archaeological Skills and Methods
The second unit in the A level teaches students about the basic skills and methods that archaeology uses, from how archaeological sites are found, excavated, recorded and interpreted through to the laboratory investigation of human remains and how dating techniques like Radiocarbon work.
- ARCH3: World Archaeology
The third module is split into two sections; the first is taught as three themes:
- People and Society in the Past;
- Sites and People in the Landscape;
- Economics and Material Culture.
The second half of the unit is devoted to discussing contemporary issues in World Archaeology.
- ARCH4: Archaeological Investigation
The final module of the A level is an opportunity for students to carry out an archaeological investigation of their own. This investigation could be site based through recording, survey or excavation or it may examine a particular artefact or group of artefacts through research, work with a local museum etc.
The A level has an accompanying course book (written by the senior examiners for the course) entitled ‘The Archaeology Coursebook: An introduction to themes, sites, methods and skills’ published by Routledge. The textbook is currently in its third edition so when ordering the book you should ensure that you have the latest edition. More information is available from the book’s publisher Routledge.
If uncertain, the exam board should be able to give you a list of you nearest school, college or tutor offering A-Level Archaeology. It can also be studied ‘distance learning’ with the College on the Net.
AS & A level Classical Civilisation
Both OCR and AQA offer AS and A level Classical Civilisations. Both courses examine Classical Greek & Roman history, art and literature using some archaeological evidence and allow students to pursue their interest in archaeology further through the coursework element.
OCR has split its subjects into a suite of classics related subjects with Classical Civilisation and Ancient History as two of the four named routes (Latin, Classical Greek, Classical Civilisation and Ancient History) and these are now covered under a single new subject title: ‘Classics’.
More information can be found at the exam boards’ websites:
Salters Horners Applied Physics AS & A level
The Salters Horners applied physics course is an AS and A level course which is context-led. The course was piloted in 1998 and is now offered in over 200 schools and colleges throughout the UK. The project is based in the University of York as part of their Science Education Group and includes the ‘Physics for life’ module, which takes archaeology as a theme. The course is excellent for those students who are considering studying archaeological sciences at university as well as being an exciting and interesting course in its own right.
Applied AS/A-level in Travel and Tourism
Applied A level qualifications in Travel and Tourism are offered by the three main exam boards (AQA, EDEXCEL & OCR) as well as the WJEC (Welsh Joint Education Committee) for those wishing to focus on Welsh tourism or for those wanting to take their examinations in Welsh.
The applied AS / A level can be taken as a single or double award and two of the exam boards also offer a Leisure Studies Applied AS / A level that covers a similar curriculum.
Tourism and travel have an obvious relationship to archaeology and archaeological sites and provide an income for many museums, sites and exhibitions. In addition, other leisure and tourist activities can have an impact on the archaeology within the landscape (footpaths erode into archaeological layers, increased demand on ports and airports etc can lead to expansion threatening archaeological remains etc). The travel and tourism Applied A levels offered by all four exam boards examine these topics, giving students the tools to consider issues within the travel and tourism industry such as the impact of travel and tourism on local economies, the natural and cultural heritage of areas and the local infrastructure.
Each of the specifications covers the impact of tourism, the ethics of responsible tourism and the growth of special interest / activity holidays (in which pay to dig archaeological excavations are included).
More information is available from each of the exam boards subject pages:
- AQA Travel & Tourism
- AQA Leisure Studies
- EDEXCEL Travel & Tourism
- OCR Travel & Tourism
- OCR Leisure Studies
- WJEC Travel & Tourism
- CBA History
- Support Us