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Key information

Qualification type

MSc - Master of Science

Subject areas


Course type


Course Summary

Palaeoarchaeology is an exciting interdisciplinary field that combines archaeology and natural sciences to explore how ancient populations lived in our evolutionary past.

  • Experience a broad based foundation in the field of Palaeoarchaeology – the study of human evolution from archaeological, biological and environmental perspectives – while at the same time achieving standards necessary for employment or further study in this field
  • Benefit from world-leading teaching in palaeoanthropology, dental anthropology, ancient DNA and virtual methods in anthropology. Our academics have expertise in Neanderthals and are involved in ongoing fieldwork projects at Gorham’s Cave, Shanidar Cave and Scladina Cave, all renowned sites with considerable history
  • Gain field experience on Palaeolithic archaeological sites directed by LJMU staff in Gibraltar and Belgium and excavate human remains at our field school at Poulton nearby in Chester
  • Develop post-excavation analytical skills. The programme opens up a wide range of careers, not only those related to archaeology, but also in wider fields of health, education, administration and business

This MSc offers the opportunity to trace the evolution of our lineage through time in the fossil record, drawing on the latest palaeoanthropological, genomic, archaeological and environmental evidence in this fast-changing and exciting field.

You will have the unique opportunity to excavate at prestigious Palaeolithic archaeological sites in Gibraltar and Belgium where you will be fully trained in cave excavation techniques and the recovery and processing of archaeological, environmental and skeletal remains. You will learn the latest theory and techniques for the analysis and interpretation of human skeletons recovered from archaeological contexts. You will then put this into practice through participating on excavations at our field school at the medieval site at Poulton, Cheshire, where you will excavate human skeletal remains.

Students will be expected to complete a minimum of two weeks of excavation practice if they have no previous fieldwork experience. This can be gained either in Gibraltar, Belgium, Poulton, or at any other suitable excavation sites identified by our dedicated work experience placement team.

You will gain experience of a wide range of laboratory post-excavation analytical techniques that are applicable and relevant to all periods of archaeology.

At LJMU we have some of the best-equipped specialist laboratory settings in the country, including extensive human skeletal collections and well-equipped research laboratories related to virtual anthropology, ancient DNA, palaeoenvironmental reconstruction, climate modelling, geophysical survey, GIS, drones, artefact materials analyses and lipid analyses.

You will be taught in new human osteology laboratories, which house osteology collections and specialist equipment for digital radiography and 3-dimensional imaging, such as laser scanners and microscribes for advanced morphometric studies. Our campus provides other advanced laboratories for soil, animal and ancient DNA analyses and IT facilities supported by a knowledgeable and enthusiastic team of technical staff, many of whom are actively engaged in research and scholarly activity in the field.

Different course options

Study mode

Full time


1 year

Start date



This module focuses on attaining skills from computer-based analytical techniques and their applications to bioarchaeology. It covers geometric morphometrics, 2D and 3D data capture techniques including laser and CT scanning, drone technology and GIS methods. The module also allows you to develop a mini-project on an suitable topic of your choice in bioarchaeology.

Tuition fees

UK fees
Course fees for UK / EU students

For this course (per year)


Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)


International fees
Course fees for non-UK / EU students

For this course (per year)


Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)


Entry requirements

You will need: •a good honours degree in a science-related field or •alternative qualifications with a significant period of relevant work experience.

University information

Founded in 1823, Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) is ranked in the top 600 higher education institutions in the world (THE World University Ranking 2017/18) and attracts staff and students from over 100 countries. A host of taught courses and research opportunities are available across LJMU’s five faculties: Arts, Professional and Social Studies Education, Health and Community Engineering and Technology Science Liverpool...more