Classical Archaeology & Ancient History
Average intake: 2
- Our students benefit from being part of a university which has the
largest concentration of ancient historians and classical archaeologists
in the world, as well as taking part in a dynamic interdisciplinary
programme that combines the study of the history, archaeology and art of
the classical world.
- The course offers the widest breadth of
coverage in any UK university. It allows you to study not only the
ancient Mediterranean world in the ‘classical’ periods of Greek and
Roman history, but also the art and architecture of ancient Egypt,
history and archaeology of the Achaemenid empire, Minoan Crete from 3200
BC, Etruscan archaeology in the pre-Roman period, or the period of
transition from the ancient to medieval world in Europe and the Near
- At St John's, CAAH students are part of a vibrant,
sizeable group of students studying the Greek and Roman worlds, and
share activities with those reading Ancient and Modern History, and
Classics and its other Joint Schools.
- St John's has tutors in
both classical archaeology and ancient history. Dr Kantor works on Roman
and Hellenistic institutional and social history; Dr Pollard is an
expert on Roman frescoes and sculpture. Both teach a wide range of CAAH
courses. We also have tutors in classical literature (Dr Emma
Greensmith), Greek and Latin languages (Dr Matthew Hosty), and ancient
philosophy (Dr Marion Durand), who are always keen to get engaged with
- St John’s is extremely close (literally just
over the road) to the four buildings which form the hub for the study of
Classical Archaeology and Ancient History at Oxford: the Sackler
Library (the world’s best working library for these subjects); the
Ashmolean Museum, which houses important collections of Graeco-Roman and
Egyptian art, inscriptions, and coins; the Institute of Archaeology;
and the Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies.
have a unique link with the Ashmolean Museum, with our teaching post in
classical archaeology combined with an assistant curatorship at the
Department of Antiquities. Students benefit from regular handling
sessions at the Museum.
- An active student Classics society is
named after Professor Donald Russell (1920-2020), a distinguished
Classical scholar and one of the Bletchley Park codebreakers, who has
been teaching for the College from 1948 until the very last years of his
life. It organises talks by distinguished academics, many of them St
John’s alumni, every term.
- The College offers generous
financial assistance for students in this subject to develop their
first-hand experience in the field, through fieldwork, site- and
museum-visits, and the study of ancient landscapes, particularly in the
- This relatively new subject has attracted very enthusiastic students from the start, and many have gone on to graduate-level research.
Read a profile from a St John's student of Classical Archaeology and Ancient History here.