Archaeology and Anthropology

Dear Archaeology and Anthropology offer holders,

We hope you’re well and have had a great summer! We are delighted to have been able to offer you a place, and are very much looking forward to seeing you again at the start of Michaelmas Term!

We have put together a list of suggested readings to keep you busy over the coming months. They are not strictly required, but will be very helpful as you settle in to your four first-year papers, known as ‘Mods’. We don’t require you to buy any books, but if you’d like to get a few, here are some you’ll return to again and again throughout the years of the course. Please make sure you get the most up-to-date editions.

We’ve also included some research-based links that you might find interesting.

Best wishes,

Zuzanna Olszewska
Organising Tutor and Tutor in Anthropology

Christoph Bachhuber
Tutor in Archaeology

Reading list

Paper I: Introduction to World Archaeology

Bogucki, P. (1999) The Origins of Human Society. Oxford: Blackwell (a thoughtful study with more room for explanation than the Scarre survey below).

Scarre, C. (2013) The Human Past: World Prehistory and the Development of Human Societies (3rd edition). London: Thames and Hudson (the most comprehensive survey to date).

Paper II: Introduction to Anthropological Theory

One of the following introductory books may be helpful for you before you start the course. The first short article is required reading and we will discuss it in our first meeting.

Miner, H. (1956) “Body Ritual Among the Nacirema,” American Anthropologist Vol. 58, No. 3 (Jun., 1956), pp. 503-507.

Eriksen, T H. (2015) Small Places, Large Issues: An Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology (4th edition). London: Pluto Press (free pdf available to download, just google search on this title.)

Hendry, J. (2016) An Introduction to Social Anthropology: Sharing Our Worlds (3rd edition). London: Palgrave.

Monaghan, J. and P. Just (2000) Social and Cultural Anthropology: A Very Short Introduction (9th edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

This is also a fun read, turning the anthropological lens back on the English!

Fox, K. (2005) Watching the English. London: Hodder & Stoughton.

Paper III: Perspectives on Human Evolution

General overviews:

Gamble, C. (2013) Settling the Earth: The Archaeology of Deep Human History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Stringer, C. (2011) The Origin of Our Species. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

Paper IV: The Nature of Archaeological and Anthropological Enquiry

Gosden, C. (1999) Archaeology & Anthropology. London: Routledge. (A helpful introduction to much of Paper IV and to the links between the two disciplines.)

Harris, O.J. and C. Cipolla (2017) Archaeological Theory in the New millennium: Introducing Current Perspectives. Routledge: London (A very useful survey of the ways archaeologists think about and explain the material remains of the past).

Renfrew, C. & Bahn. P. (2016) Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice. London: Thames & Hudson. (This is probably one that’s worth buying.)

Trigger, B. (2006) A History of Archaeological Thought (2nd edition). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

An excellent introduction to what ethnographic fieldwork is about:

Pandian, A. (2019) A possible anthropology: Methods for uneasy times. Durham: Duke University Press.


From Christoph Bachhuber:

I am part of an international team of archaeologists that discovered a lost capital city in central Turkey which dates to the Iron Age (ca. 800 BC). For a news story on the 2019 discovery see:

In light of recent events which have included the toppling and removal of statues in the UK and the USA I would like to suggest two additional readings that address violence against statues in Iron Age cities. In the 2017 reading, James Osborne (who I collaborate with on the project above) uses recent activities and discourses around Confederate statues in Baltimore (USA) to examine the relationship between monumentality, memory and violence in Iron Age statuary. In my 2018 article I challenge some of Osborne’s approaches and interpretations with a study of violent spectacle and statuary in the same Iron Age cities.

For James Osborne’s 2017 article see:

For my 2018 article see:

Study skills for incoming undergraduates

As an Oxford student, you have many great opportunities ahead, but studying here can also be very challenging. To help you prepare for this, we have put together some resources that will help you develop your study skills before you start at Oxford, no matter your subject.

Starting at Oxford

Starting a course at Oxford can be very daunting, but there are many resources out there to help you succeed! Here are some useful guides from across the University that you might want to check out:

  • Study skills and training: Here you can find advice on academic good practice including avoiding plagiarism, managing your time, reading, note taking, referencing and revision.
  • Student life: It’s not all about academics at Oxford; here you can find out about the range of other opportunities available to you as a student, as well as tips on how to navigate student life with your workload. If you prefer podcasts, much of this information is available in that form here!
  • Managing the cost: Undergraduate students Helena, Joe and Dan, have teamed up with the University’s Undergraduate Admissions team to discuss the financial support available to students and how they manage the cost of studying at Oxford.

Useful contacts

If you have any questions that aren’t answered on this page, you can get in touch with the following people:

ContactQuestions they can answer
Admissions Office: Sarah JonesAnything to do with offers, visas, UCAS issues, reading lists and preparatory materials
Accommodation OfficeAccommodation, what to bring, insurance, electoral roll issues  
BursaryAll things financial
College OfficePractical arrangements, bank letters, etc.
Disability enquiries: Elaine EastgateAny issues relating to disability or special requirements