History and Archaeology

Medieval manuscript

Welcome to the Department of History and Archaeology

History, Archaeology and Anthropology have long been one of the strongest subject areas at the University of Winchester, with high-quality imaginative teaching.

We are a community of internationally recognised scholars. We incorporate our research into our teaching and we actively contribute to current academic debates. Within History we have with particular research strengths in Classical, medieval and early modern history, local and regional history, and modern British and contemporary international history. When it comes to Archaeology When it comes to archaeology, few places in the UK have more to offer than Winchester. It was Roman Venta Belgarum (the market place of the Belgii tribe) and the Anglo-Saxon capital of the Kingdom of Wessex. These days, Winchester is better known for its outstanding medieval architecture and institutions, including the splendid Cathedral, Bishop’s Palace and Winchester College. Anthropology shares with Archaeology an interest in material culture, from both past and present. It also includes social anthropology, which focusses on cultural development and change through time up to the present day, and biological anthropology, which studies the physical aspects of humanity, including the evolution of humans from their primate ancestors.

Our degrees offer a broad as well as deep experience that can open up numerous career paths. Extensive options allow you to either pursue your specific interests or to experience a wide range of time periods. Meet Emily Bennett, a 2018 History graduate who went on to a right royal career!

Our facilities are of an exceptionally high standard and are continually upgraded. We have an excellent reputation for a variety of fieldwork types and the department is well equipped to undertake most types of field projects. Laboratory teaching and research are supported by a dedicated technician. 

Over the years we have developed strong external relationships and students have been able to do placements with a wide variety of organisations, in many cases leading to subsequent employment. 

Our archaeologists are currently working as far afield as the Caribbean and the Caucasus, on periods ranging from the Palaeolithic to the Second World War. Students have the opportunity to join staff on many of these research projects. 

Three University of Winchester Archaeology students excavating a mammoth bone

A group of students recently joined our consultancy arm ARCA on the Mammoth Graveyard Quarry project, a dig that combined archaeology and palaeontology - and sparked a BBC documentary! 

We have 'Registered Organisation' status within the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA) and two of our flagship courses are accredited by CiFA and UAUK (University Archaeology UK). This recognises our emphasis on vocational, practical skills and the high quality of the teaching/training we offer. 

Our students are a valued part of our research culture and we offer opportunities to get directly involved with our research. The Winchester Research Apprenticeship Programme (WRAP) is a pioneering scheme offering bursaries to undergraduate students to work with an academic on a real research project.

There are also wonderful extracurricular volunteering opportunities for our students to enrich their course experience, such as for the Winchester Heritage Open Days.

We have a dynamic community of Master’s, MPhil and PhD students, and we welcome enquiries about postgraduate study. Our academics can supervise a wide range of topics. For more information on research degrees at Winchester, see the tabs below.

An outward-looking department

Free research seminar series, open to staff, students and the general public alike, are organised every academic year by the Wessex Centre for History and Archaeology.

Winchester historians regularly participate in public engagement activities such as the annual BBC History Weekend and the Winchester Heritage Open Days. Explore our exciting programme of events for Winchester Heritage Open Days 2021.

University of Winchester research and public engagement: our medieval historians in conversation with Michael Wood during Winchester Heritage Open Days 2018

Medieval experts Dr Katherine Weikert, Prof. Ryan Lavelle and Prof. Barbara Yorke in conversation with TV presenter, author and historian Prof. Michael Wood at the 2018 Winchester Heritage Open Days

We publish popular articles, give interviews and guided tours, and act as historical advisors for TV dramas such as the hit series The Last Kingdom, about King Alfred and Wessex (find out more about the vital role of Winchester historical expertise in the making of The Last Kingdom).

Our flagship consultancy unit is ARCA, Archaeology's successful consultancy arm. Launched in March 2005, it carries out work locally as well as further afield, from Bristol to continental Europe. ARCA has particular expertise in geoarchaeology, geomatics and geophysics. 

Find out more about the History Department and become part of our vibrant community.

Meet the team

History team

Archaeology and Anthropology team

Research in History and Archaeology

History research strengths and centres

Local and regional history

The Wessex Centre for History and Archaeology, founded in 2004, encourages and coordinates research within the Wessex region (defined as the historic counties of Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire), while the Southern History Society focusses on all the historic southern counties of England.

Medieval and Renaissance history

Winchester is a dynamic hub for medieval and Renaissance research. From kings and queens to warfare and welfare, from the Anglo-Saxons to the Renaissance, our academics are leading specialists in their fields and work closely with other specialists around the University such as our Classical/medieval archaeologists and Old/Middle English experts. Visit the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Research page to find out more.

Early Modern and Modern history

Winchester's Modern and Early Modern historians have expertise in such areas as the Holocaust, Post-War Japan, the Soviet era and Colonialism, while a particular Early Modern specialism is Postcolonialism. Visit the Modern History Research Centre page to find out more.

For further research strengths, visit the individual profile pages of History academics via the links above.


Postgraduate research supervision

We offer research supervision in a wide range of subjects. To find out more, explore our academic staff profile pages above for individual areas of supervision or use the Find an Expert search bar below.

Find out everything you need to know about studying for a postgraduate research degree at Winchester.

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021

The University of Winchester has continued to develop the range and quality of its research, according to the results of the Research Excellence Framework 2021.  

Institutionally, our research rated 4* or world leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour has increased threefold since the last REF in 2014. Most notably, we have evidenced a 147% increase in institutional research power, which is the 17th biggest increase nationally. This places us at 98, compared with 107 in 2014. The overall picture of REF 2021 is positive and offers a strong foundation for our future research impact. 

  • History’s Research Power rank increased from 61st to 48th