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What’s it like to study... Archaeology

24 August 2012

An image of Archaeology field work A Bournemouth University Archaeology student spoke to The Independent, telling them what inspired him to take the course and why he chose BU.

One of the most important questions to ask and the hardest to answer when choosing a University degree is: ‘What is the course really like?’ In a bid to dispel popular misconceptions about Archaeology, the Independent turned to Lawrence Shaw from Bournemouth University to find out if there was more to the subject than “dinosaurs and stuff.”

Beginning with a bit of background; Shaw began with explaining how he was drawn to Archaeology by being inspired through going on walks and trips to archaeological sites. When investigating his local area his passion for archaeology grew and this augmented his A-level choices of Archaeology, Geology, Ancient History and Geography. Lawrence does admit, however, that “Time Team made quite an impression, too.”

Lawrence also wrote that he decided on Bournemouth University after attending an open day and was “instantly sold on the course content, facilities, the wealth of equipment and experience, and cutting edge research being undertaken”. The course content included many field activities in which they could explore a range of archaeological monuments - including a student training excavation and compulsory month-long placement during his second year. Being a practical student, Shaw found the unique course suited him “down to the ground.”

Although keen to sell Archaeology positively, the article also warns that the degree is challenging academically: “I’m not going to say that my degree was all fun and games - there was a lot of hard work involved.” But he insists that it is vital in order to “gain an overview of the discipline as a whole”, going on to explain how he was then able to complete a Master’s in “Landscape Archaeology, Geographical Information Systems and Virtual Environments, as well as work on a number of prestigious research projects.”

Lawrence concludes by explaining that media perceptions of Archaeology couldn’t be more wrong, “Recently, the BBC comedy duo Armstrong and Miller did a sketch about archaeology being ‘boring’. In my experience, this couldn’t be further from the truth - and, surprisingly enough, not all archaeologists look or act like those seen on TV. I wouldn’t have wanted to study and go on to work in any other field.”

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