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Ancient history and archaeology (TSM)

  • Course Type: Undergraduate
  • CAO Course Code: TR001 (TSM)
  • No. of Places: 23
  • Min Entry Points for 2014: 365*- 555 points (Points per TSM combination)
  • Duration: 4 Year(s) Full Time
  • Award: B.A.
  • Course Options:

    Ancient history and archaeology cannot be studied as a single honor course.

    It must be combined with one other subject within the two-subject moderatorship (TSM) programme. TSM is a joint honor programme. An honors degree is awarded in both subjects.

    For subjects that combine with ancient history and archeology see TSM: possible combinations.

    See also:
    TR001/TSM subjects: Classical civilisation
    TR021: Classics

  • How to apply: See how to apply

Admission Requirements

For Admission requirements please click here


Click on the links below to see the available options

+ EU Applicants

Read the information about how to apply, then apply directly to CAO

+ Non-EU Applicants

+ Mature Student - Supplementary Application Form

+ Advanced Entry Applications

What is Ancient History and Archaeology?

Ancient History and Archaeology are both concerned with understanding social, political and cultural experience in the past. This course offers you the opportunity to range across these two broad disciplines. You will study the Greek and Roman worlds by working with historical and literary documents alongside the material remains of ancient sites and artefacts. All material is studied in translation and no knowledge of Greek or Latin is required, but there are opportunities to take introductory modules in the languages.

Is this the right course for you?

You will enjoy this course if you are interested in studying the history and culture of the Greeks and Romans – their achievements and their profound influence on the modern world – through the complementary study of history and archaeology.

Why study Ancient History and Archaeology at Trinity?

The Department of Classics has a world-renowned reputation. Its courses are taught by academics at the top of their fields. Ancient History and Archaeology offers you the opportunity to learn about the ancient world in a fun and friendly environment and learn not only about the past but also about its significance to the present. There are opportunities to participate in archaeological fieldwork in Ireland, the UK and the Mediterranean and in study tours to classical sites, for both credit and non-credit. The course is taught through a mixture of lectures, practical classes and small-group seminars, which encourage lively discussion and the development of independent thinking. It is also possible to study abroad for a semester or a whole year.

What will you study?

Over your four years you will develop a broad understanding of the ancient world through its history and archaeology, moving from introductory courses in the first year, to more focused thematic topics in the second and third years, and choosing from a range of specialised options in your final year. In these modules, you will explore not only the Greek and Roman worlds specifically but also their relationships with neighbouring cultures, such as Egypt and the Near East, and their place within the Mediterranean and beyond. A combination of end-of-year examination and continuous assessment (e.g. essays, seminar presentations and team projects, artefact studies and short commentaries on texts) is used to assess your progress, and a thesis is written in the final year.


In first year you will take three modules which give you a solid introduction to the Greek and Roman worlds and to the skills and approaches of the two disciplines. There are approximately six hours of classes in the first year.

  • Greek and Roman history - an introductory survey of the Greek and Roman world from the Greek Archaic age to the early Roman Empire. The course covers topics such as politics and power, the Athenian invention of democracy, the rise of Alexander, the emergence of Rome as a major imperial power, colonisation, war and conflict.
  • Greek and Roman art and architecture - an introductory survey of the development and major artistic achievements in architecture, sculpture and painting. The course places art and architecture in its social and political context; it focuses on themes such as the use of narrative and mythology in art, urbanisation, and on the development of architectural forms such as temples, theatres and Roman baths.
  • Sources and methods in history and archaeology - an introduction to the materials, methodologies and theories employed by historians and archaeologists. This course is specially designed to develop the practical, analytical and critical skills required to assess ancient evidence. The course mixes lectures with smaller seminars which focus on discussion and hands-on work with artefacts.


Modules in the second and third years offer the opportunity to focus on specific themes and periods in the history and archaeology of the Mediterranean, develop a deeper awareness of methods and theory, discuss key themes of relevance to both the ancient and modern world, and to work with artefacts. Over the two years you will study topics in: Greek Archaeology and History, Aegean Bronze Age Archaeology, Roman Archaeology and History, and the History and Archaeology of Roman Britain. There are also options to do practical archaeological work or an approved study tour to the Mediterranean in place of a taught module in these years. It is also possible to take introductory modules in Greek or Latin.

In the Greek archaeology and history courses you explore major themes such as colonisation, empire, the emergence of literacy, slavery, war and ideology, religion, and social issues such as sexuality, gender and death. These courses range in time from the development of the Greek city-states, such as Athens and Sparta, to the Hellenistic kingdoms founded in the wake of Alexander. The Bronze Age course takes you back in time to the early palatial civilisations of the Minoans and Mycenaeans.

In Roman history you will study imperial history from Augustus to the emperor Constantine, examining the period from a number of perspectives, from the emperors themselves to the lowliest of slaves, and ranging from imperial politics and military strategy, to economics and social concerns such as religion and rebellion. Roman archaeology takes you the length and breadth of the Roman world, exploring cities and urban life, frontiers and the army, trade, transport and technology. In the Roman Britain course you will assess the impact of Roman culture on Britain as a remote Roman province and consider issues such as imperialism, acculturation and identity.


If you decide to study Ancient History and Archaeology in the final year you will be able to choose two special subjects from a range on offer. Modules offered recently include Ancient Cyprus; Egypt; Entertainment and Spectacle in the Greek and Roman Worlds; Goddesses of the Ancient Mediterranean; Anthropology and the Greeks; Kings and Cities; Rhetoric: The Art of Persuasion.

You will also write a dissertation on a subject of your choice. This is an opportunity to carry out research which will allow you to develop independent ideas and acquire critical skills while investigating in greater depth an area that particularly interests you.

Study abroad

Trinity has strong links with many Classics departments abroad, including active participation in the Erasmus exchange programme. The Department has valuable Erasmus links with the Universities of Cyprus, Edinburgh, Geneva, Bordeaux, Freiburg, and Koç (Turkey). Students are also able to avail of University-wide exchanges, for example, to North America and Australia. These opportunities allow students the option of spending a year or part of a year abroad.


Recent graduates have entered many fields including archaeology, archaeological consultancy in Ireland and the UK, heritage and museum work (for example the National Museum of Ireland), art restoration, teaching and higher education policy, publishing, business, computing, accountancy, government and social work. Recent graduates are working for companies as diverse as McKinsey and Co and Cambridge University Press. Each year some of our graduates also opt to pursue a research career in history or archaeology beginning with postgraduate study in Ireland or abroad.

Further information

Email: | Tel: +353 1 896 1208


Graduate Profile

Aoife Condit, postgraduate in Classics, TCD

The Department of Classics in Trinity was particularly attractive to me because I have always adored the campus. The content of the AHA programme has a good balance between documentary and archaeological sources. I found the seminars particularly enjoyable for informal discussion. Fourth year has been without a doubt my favourite year. This year, based around seminars instead of lectures and my own personal research for the thesis, has been more fun than I probably ever thought when leaving secondary school. I would give credit for this not only to the opportunity of having this year within our undergraduate degree but also to the professionalism and enthusiasm displayed by the staff for their subjects.