[Official] Oxford Archaeology and Anthropology Applicants 2020

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MidnightRanger
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Hi, this thread is just meant to help arch and anth students given offers by Oxford to meet leading up to exams and before (hopefully) going in September.

Good luck and have fun!
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MidnightRanger
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Hi I'm Rebecca and I've applied for arch and anth at Keble College and I'm studying History, English Language and Biology at A-level.
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NottTheBrave
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(Original post by MidnightRanger)
Hi, this thread is just meant to help arch and anth students given offers by Oxford to meet leading up to exams and before (hopefully) going in September.

Good luck and have fun!
Hey I'm Jack and I got an offer for arch and anth at St Hugh's. I study History, Maths and Chemistry.
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MidnightRanger
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(Original post by NottTheBrave)
Hey I'm Jack and I got an offer for arch and anth at St Hugh's. I study History, Maths and Chemistry.
Oooh hi Jack. What sort of things are you looking forward to for Arch and Anth?
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NottTheBrave
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(Original post by MidnightRanger)
What sort of things are you looking forward to for Arch and Anth?
Well I like the paleoanthropological stuff about human evolution and early civilisational development but I'm honestly looking forward to the breadth of it early on then finding out properly what I'm really into. What about you?
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MidnightRanger
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(Original post by NottTheBrave)
Oh yeah this thread is actually about something other than DnD Well I like the paleoanthropological stuff about human evolution and early civilisational development but I'm honestly looking forward to the breadth of it early on then finding out properly what I'm really into. What about you?
Slightly different, more biological anthropology (disease, nutrition & injury), rise of urban civilisations from less complex systems and looking at how people's views and ideas of the world have changed and just what more we can learn from using archaeology and anth together to find out more about the past. Also ancient DNA looks like an interesting field - I once had a lecture on the ancient DNA of cats which was intriguing. Breath wise I kinda want to look more other cultures around the world as well - especially after doing only British and American history for all of GCSE and A-levels, we just don't do enough about other countries.
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NottTheBrave
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(Original post by MidnightRanger)
Slightly different, more biological anthropology (disease, nutrition & injury), rise of urban civilisations from less complex systems and looking at how people's views and ideas of the world have changed and just what more we can learn from using archaeology and anth together to find out more about the past. Also ancient DNA looks like an interesting field - I once had a lecture on the ancient DNA of cats which was intriguing. Breath wise I kinda want to look more other cultures around the world as well - especially after doing only British and American history for all of GCSE and A-levels, we just don't do enough about other countries.
That all sounds awesome though I haven't done Biology since GCSE so I probably suck at it. We've done some history outside of Britain and America. Currently doing crusading historiography for coursework and at my interview they said it was nice to read an essay that wasn't about the Nazis or WW2. What's some reading you've done that you'd recommend?
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MidnightRanger
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In biology we don't actually do a lot on the skeleton, a brief mention of skeletal muscles is the closest we get but DNA knowledge will probably help, although I doubt the lecturers would assume much prior knowledge anyway. But for reading Harari's Sapiens is a good anthropological overview, especially the first few chapters for evolutionary anth - but it's quite popular so you might've already read it? Then Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel has some good explanation as to why Europe/Near East came to dominance first focusing quite largely on the agricultural revolution using biology but then anecdotal anthropology to evidence it - Diamond also has another book Collapse on why civilisations rise and fall which seems good but I haven't had to time to read. Then the Renfrew & Bahn's Archaeology is another good overview which sections on paleodiet, art, society as well as how we can use archaeology to uncover and analyse this stuff as well as some explanation on archaeology's significance in the present day at the end; although it is a textbook so I'd recommend only reading through sections that interest you and not cover to cover - it also might be best to look for a good second hand one as new they're £30. What stuff have you read/recommend?
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NottTheBrave
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(Original post by MidnightRanger)
In biology we don't actually do a lot on the skeleton, a brief mention of skeletal muscles is the closest we get but DNA knowledge will probably help, although I doubt the lecturers would assume much prior knowledge anyway. But for reading Harari's Sapiens is a good anthropological overview, especially the first few chapters for evolutionary anth - but it's quite popular so you might've already read it? Then Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel has some good explanation as to why Europe/Near East came to dominance first focusing quite largely on the agricultural revolution using biology but then anecdotal anthropology to evidence it - Diamond also has another book Collapse on why civilisations rise and fall which seems good but I haven't had to time to read. Then the Renfrew & Bahn's Archaeology is another good overview which sections on paleodiet, art, society as well as how we can use archaeology to uncover and analyse this stuff as well as some explanation on archaeology's significance in the present day at the end; although it is a textbook so I'd recommend only reading through sections that interest you and not cover to cover - it also might be best to look for a good second hand one as new they're £30. What stuff have you read/recommend?
I haven't actually read Sapiens yet but I have read Guns, Germs and Steel and really liked it. Collapse has been sitting on my shelf for a while.... The Innocent Anthropologist and its sequel A Plague of Caterpillars by Barley are pretty great ethnographies that are also just funny satires of anthropology. Close Encounters with Humankind by Lee is pretty great for really simple introductions to human evolution. Did you get given a pre-reading list with your offer? I'm trying to get through the books about theory and the subject itself so they're not the most fun but are necessary I guess.
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MidnightRanger
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(Original post by NottTheBrave)
I haven't actually read Sapiens yet but I have read Guns, Germs and Steel and really liked it. Collapse has been sitting on my shelf for a while.... The Innocent Anthropologist and its sequel A Plague of Caterpillars by Barley are pretty great ethnographies that are also just funny satires of anthropology. Close Encounters with Humankind by Lee is pretty great for really simple introductions to human evolution. Did you get given a pre-reading list with your offer? I'm trying to get through the books about theory and the subject itself so they're not the most fun but are necessary I guess.
No I didn't get a reading list with my offer but it's available on their website:
https://www.ox.ac.uk/sites/files/oxf...ading_list.pdf and http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/under...-and-resources

I just looked at this before doing my personal statement so I had a good idea of what I should read. The second link has some other links to stuff to some videos, websites and Oxford's own research in Arch & Anth. I've heard of the innocent anthropologist but I haven't gotten around to getting it yet - I read Kate Fox's ethnography Watching the English which has fun humour, some good points and has been quite handy to lift stuff from for my English A level.
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NottTheBrave
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(Original post by MidnightRanger)
No I didn't get a reading list with my offer but it's available on their website:
https://www.ox.ac.uk/sites/files/oxf...ading_list.pdf and http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/under...-and-resources

I just looked at this before doing my personal statement so I had a good idea of what I should read. The second link has some other links to stuff to some videos, websites and Oxford's own research in Arch & Anth. I've heard of the innocent anthropologist but I haven't gotten around to getting it yet - I read Kate Fox's ethnography Watching the English which has fun humour, some good points and has been quite handy to lift stuff from for my English A level.
When did you decide you wanted to study arch and anth? I feel like I came to it quite late like near the end of year 12 so haven't had too much time to read loads.
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MidnightRanger
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(Original post by NottTheBrave)
When did you decide you wanted to study arch and anth? I feel like I came to it quite late like near the end of year 12 so haven't had too much time to read loads.
I decided quite early on. It was the summer between Y11 and Y12 that I knew for certain and I think I began reading in December. But I'd been playing around with the idea of ancient history and classical archaeology before I decided on arch and anth - intially I wanted to do History but then I wanted further back. What about you?
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NottTheBrave
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(Original post by MidnightRanger)
I decided quite early on. It was the summer between Y11 and Y12 that I knew for certain and I think I began reading in December. But I'd been playing around with the idea of ancient history and classical archaeology before I decided on arch and anth - intially I wanted to do History but then I wanted further back. What about you?
Yeah I originally wanted to do history too I feel like it's most people's entryway into arch and anth. I got pretty fatigued with it though so looked towards archaeology instead. I was pretty into ancient history but I actually didn't notice that classical archaeology and ancient history was a thing at oxford so just started reading around arch and anth instead and got into it that way. Now I prefer it much more. I obviously didn't say that at my interview though...
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MidnightRanger
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(Original post by NottTheBrave)
Yeah I originally wanted to do history too I feel like it's most people's entryway into arch and anth. I got pretty fatigued with it though so looked towards archaeology instead. I was pretty into ancient history but I actually didn't notice that classical archaeology and ancient history was a thing at oxford so just started reading around arch and anth instead and got into it that way. Now I prefer it much more. I obviously didn't say that at my interview though...
No one ever does but to be honest I think the interview's own experiences could've been similar - despite A level Archaeology and Anthropology being a thing very few places offer it as a course because it's so niche. It's one of those subjects that are niche and newer than the traditional sciences or humanities but it is so much broader than any other subject. Have you ever been to the Pitt Rivers or Ashmolean Museum?
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NottTheBrave
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(Original post by MidnightRanger)
No one ever does but to be honest I think the interview's own experiences could've been similar - despite A level Archaeology and Anthropology being a thing very few places offer it as a course because it's so niche. It's one of those subjects that are niche and newer than the traditional sciences or humanities but it is so much broader than any other subject. Have you ever been to the Pitt Rivers or Ashmolean Museum?
I went to the Ashmolean when I went on the St John's College Inspire programme two years ago. It was cool we did object handling and had to work out where and when they were from. It's also nice to go to a museum that isn't massively busy. I went to Uniarchaeology day at the British Museum in October and was there for something like 6 hours it was exhausting. Plus I got trapped inside because there was an Extinction Rebellion march going on at the same time. I haven't been to the Pitt Rivers though.
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MidnightRanger
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(Original post by NottTheBrave)
I went to the Ashmolean when I went on the St John's College Inspire programme two years ago. It was cool we did object handling and had to work out where and when they were from. It's also nice to go to a museum that isn't massively busy. I went to Uniarchaeology day at the British Museum in October and was there for something like 6 hours it was exhausting. Plus I got trapped inside because there was an Extinction Rebellion march going on at the same time. I haven't been to the Pitt Rivers though.
Pitt Rivers is good although quite dusty but you get used to it. Basically it's just crammed with different objects ordered by type from all around the world, for example there's a case of different writing implements from different times. Then some of the labels in there are still the original Victorian labels which are incredibly racist but interesting to see as a kind of history of anthropology before decolonialisation. When I went to the British Museum with the UCL summer school we had a list of stuff that we had to find in the museum as we walked around, like the oldest evidence of writing which was fun. Although when I tried the see the Assyria stuff they were doing some renovations or something. Which bits of the British Museum did you like?
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NottTheBrave
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(Original post by MidnightRanger)
Pitt Rivers is good although quite dusty but you get used to it. Basically it's just crammed with different objects ordered by type from all around the world, for example there's a case of different writing implements from different times. Then some of the labels in there are still the original Victorian labels which are incredibly racist but interesting to see as a kind of history of anthropology before decolonialisation. When I went to the British Museum with the UCL summer school we had a list of stuff that we had to find in the museum as we walked around, like the oldest evidence of writing which was fun. Although when I tried the see the Assyria stuff they were doing some renovations or something. Which bits of the British Museum did you like?
I really like the African art area downstairs there's some really cool modern art in there too which is refreshing. I avoid the Egypt section like the plague though because it's always painfully busy and I'd rather not knee any small children in the head accidentally. Playing guess the emperor in the Roman section is pretty fun.
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(Original post by NottTheBrave)
I really like the African art area downstairs there's some really cool modern art in there too which is refreshing. I avoid the Egypt section like the plague though because it's always painfully busy and I'd rather not knee any small children in the head accidentally. Playing guess the emperor in the Roman section is pretty fun.
Yeah, I think anyone who's been to the Brit Museum more than once knows that Egypt is a disaster zone for trouble. Have you done any other arch and anth stuff? I remember when I was going to a Winchester open day, I went and visited a place called Butser Farm. It had different house constructions using archaeological methods in a chronological order so you could walk through and see similarities and differences from the Neolithic to Bronze Age then Roman and ending in Viking. They also had some livestock and fields they were doing experiments with to see how they affected the archaeological record. I think I talked my mum's ear off but she enjoyed it too.
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NottTheBrave
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(Original post by MidnightRanger)
Yeah, I think anyone who's been to the Brit Museum more than once knows that Egypt is a disaster zone for trouble. Have you done any other arch and anth stuff? I remember when I was going to a Winchester open day, I went and visited a place called Butser Farm. It had different house constructions using archaeological methods in a chronological order so you could walk through and see similarities and differences from the Neolithic to Bronze Age then Roman and ending in Viking. They also had some livestock and fields they were doing experiments with to see how they affected the archaeological record. I think I talked my mum's ear off but she enjoyed it too.
For my EPQ (which I quit ) I went to Sutton Hoo for research. It's a really nice place because it's basically a walk through a valley and the burials are pretty impressive considering they dragged a boat up a hill even if they are just mounds now. I also went to Athens on holiday 2 years ago and did the typical tourist sites. The acropolis museum is cool because its laid out as if it were on the acropolis still. Plus there's a few passive aggressive comments about the British taking it all. Also, and most importantly, it has air conditioning. I don't think I've done too much overall to be honest. What else have you done?
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(Original post by NottTheBrave)
For my EPQ (which I quit ) I went to Sutton Hoo for research. It's a really nice place because it's basically a walk through a valley and the burials are pretty impressive considering they dragged a boat up a hill even if they are just mounds now. I also went to Athens on holiday 2 years ago and did the typical tourist sites. The acropolis museum is cool because its laid out as if it were on the acropolis still. Plus there's a few passive aggressive comments about the British taking it all. Also, and most importantly, it has air conditioning. I don't think I've done too much overall to be honest. What else have you done?
I've done some work experience at an archaeology place where I did some shift through moldy dirt, filtering samples from small artifacts and cleaning artifacts including some roman pottery - it was interesting to talk to some people who where actually archaeologists although some of it was very muscle aching. Then I had a tour around the Lakeside Arts Museum in Nottingham where we did some object handling and discussion with the museum curator about the objects as well as security systems they had in place.
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