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Classical Archaeology

Degree: Bachelor of Arts
Application: not required
Course commences: winter semester / summer semester
Standard course duration: 6 semesters
Focus options: 75%; 50%; 25%
Language requirements: main course: Latinum and Graecum certificates or an equivalent level of proficiency in Latin and Greek
Language of instruction: German / English

Faculty of Philosophy

Course outline

Archaeological studies

The term “archaeology” comes from the Greek word archaiologia meaning the study of ancient things.

Today the term is used to refer to subjects that engage with the material and visual culture of bygone civilisations. The essential task of archaeological study is to interpret these testimonies in terms of the entire framework of the relevant cultures. Accordingly, the objective is invariably to achieve a better understanding of people and societies from the past.

There are many historical civilisations and cultural territories, each of them with an archaeological discipline of its own. Alongside Classical Archaeology, Heidelberg University offers courses in Prehistory & Protohistory, Near Eastern Archaeology and Byzantine Archaeology and Art History, as well as Egyptian Archaeology (in the framework of Egyptology), Medieval Archaeology (in the framework of Art History) and East Asian Archaeology (in the framework of East Asian Art History). The various archaeological disciplines employ similar methods – excavation, surveying, culture-historical interpretation – but apply them to different historical civilisations and subject matter.

Classical Archaeology

Classical Archaeology is the scholarly engagement with the material testimonies of the Greek, Etruscan and Roman civilisations. It also extends to their precursors and aftermaths and their relations with neighbouring civilisations. Here the Department works in conjunction with other relevant institutes.

In geographical terms, the range of the subject corresponds to the dissemination of Greek and Roman culture in the various epochs of their existence. Central areas are Greece, Asia minor and Italy, plus the entire Mediterranean region and (in certain periods) the Near East and central Europe.

In its periodicity, the eras of relevance are in Greece the Minoan and Mycenaean cultures of the Bronze Age (3rd-2nd century BC), the world of the Greek and Roman city states, the Hellenistic monarchies and federations, and the Roman Empire up to late Antiquity (4th-5th century AD). Recently, the reception of ancient cultures and the history of archaeological research up to the present have gained increasing significance in the critical definition of the subject and its identity.

Other sectors of Greek and Roman culture are the province of neighbouring subjects: language and literature in Classical Philology, testimonies on papyrus in Papyrology, political and social history in Ancient History and Epigraphy. To study Classical Archaeology, knowledge of ancient Greek and Latin and the literature in those languages is as indispensable as familiarity with Greek and Roman history.

Course structure

The B.A. course in Classical Archaeology can be studied as a main subject (75%), a first main subject (50%), a second main subject (50%) and as a subsidiary subject (25%). New students can embark on the programme in the winter or the summer semester. German students can enrol without any restrictions on admission, i.e. they can matriculate online via the Studentensekretariat of the University. However, evidence of proficiency in English, one other modern foreign language and Latin or Greek must be furnished by the time students give official notification of embarking on their B.A. thesis. Latin or Greek (the latter is particularly important for students contemplating an M.A. in Classical Archaeology) can be learned in the framework of the language module. There are no language requirements for students taking the course as a subsidiary subject (25%).

The course is modular in structure. The Basic Module (BM) and the Foundational Modules (GM-G and GM-R) provide an overview of central monuments, finds and object genres and introduce students to the fundamentals (including methodology) of Greek and Roman Archaeology. In the in-depth modules (VM), which require attendance of two advanced seminars, students have the opportunity to follow their own inclinations and choose between Topography/Settlement Archaeology, Image Studies and Cultural Studies. The practical modules (PM), which involve participation in an excursion, practical coursework and projects, are geared to the initial stages of archaeological practice.

Graduates from the B.A. course in Classical Archaeology as a main or joint-main course (75%, 50%) can go on to pursue their studies further by taking the M.A. programme and later a doctoral course. A doctorate (PhD) is normally a prerequisite for a career in Classical Archaeology.

For more information on the programme, go to the website of the Institute:

Main research interests

When we say that Classical Archaeology investigates the material and artistic testimonies of the Greek, Etruscan and Roman civilisations, we take this to include:

  • settlements and environment
  • buildings and tombs with their accoutrements
  • objects of social life and religious cults
  • works of art

In the 18th century and thereafter, the great monuments and the history of ancient art were the central concern of Classical Archaeology. More recently, archaeologists have increasingly homed in on social life contexts and phenomena and issues connected with cultural history.

Archaeology in Heidelberg

The Institute of Classical Archaeology is notable for the range and breadth of its interests in research and teaching. Alongside the classical mainstays (Greek and Roman archaeology) the teaching staff also specialise in Cretan/Mycenaean archaeology, Etruscan archaeology and provincial Roman archaeology. The aim of the specific “Heidelberg profile” in teaching is to achieve a combination of broad foundational content and high theoretical competence. With its own Antiquity Museum, its collection of plaster casts, an Institute library of international standing and a special-subject collection “Classical Archaeology” funded by the German Research Foundation, Heidelberg is the ideal location for the study of Classical Archaeology.

Formal requirements


There are no admission restrictions. Click here for instructions on how to enrol.

International applicants

There are special regulations for international applicants. For more information, apply to the International Relations Office of Heidelberg University (Seminarstraße 2).

Subject combinations

Possible subject combinations are listed in the Catalogue of Subjects

Study and examination regulations

Examination regulations B.A. Classical Archaeology (28 March 2007) (prior to winter semester 2010/11)
Examination regulations B.A.  Classical Archaeology (14 June 2010) (as of winter semester 2010/11)
Examination regulations B.A. Classical Archaeology (14 June 2010, amended 2 November 2015)

Module Handbook

Please click here to find the latest Module Handbook.

Examinations board

Issues arising in connection with examinations, credit transfer and academic credential recognition are dealt with by the relevant examinations board/office. For more information, consult the academic advisor(s) indicated below.


Tuition fees at Heidelberg University are payable at the beginning of each semester.

M.A. course

Heidelberg University offers a consecutive M.A. course in Classical Archaeology.

Academic advisor

Arne Reinhardt, M.A.
Marstallhof 4, Office 405
office hours: Mondays 10.00h - 12.30h
phone: +49 (0)6221 542530


Institute of Classical Archaeology
Centre for Ancient Studies
Marstallhof 4
D-69117 Heidelberg

Secretaries' office:
Anna Erb
phone: +49 (0)6221 542512
fax: +49 (0)6221 543385

E-Mail: Seitenbearbeiter
Letzte Änderung: 2018-07-10
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