The study of the history, archaeology and art of the classical world.

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 East.

  • 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 Coombe is an expert on Roman visual culture, particularly in the north-west of the Roman Empire. 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 CAAH students.

  • 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.

  • We 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 Mediterranean region.

  • 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.

Classical Archaeology & Ancient History tutors