York, the UK's archaeological capital

York Minster seen from the Millennium Wheel, George Mabee

York is one of Europe’s most fascinating historic cities. It has provided the backdrop to major political events throughout its two millennia of existence and is regarded as among the best cities in the UK in which to study and work as an archaeologist or heritage professional.

As a student at York, you will have access to some of the world’s best-preserved below-ground archaeology, revealed by important excavations of the 20th and 21st centuries, at sites such as Coppergate and Hungate.

You will have the opportunity to work with York’s stunning above-ground archaeology, including historic remains and buildings from the Roman, Viking, Georgian and Victorian periods as well as the iconic York Minster, the largest Gothic cathedral in northern Europe. In addition to the city, the region boasts some of the finest medieval cathedrals, parish churches and country houses, on which staff and students also carry out cutting-edge research.

A number of archaeological units, museums, archives and heritage bodies are based in York, including the Council for British Archaeology, English Heritage and the Archaeology Data Service. The city is also home to popular archaeological and historic tourist attractions such as the Jorvik Viking Centre, Dig and the Bar Walls. Being in York will open up volunteering, training and employment opportunities for you across the heritage sector.

The Department of Archaeology is based at the King’s Manor, a medieval building in the centre of York and a focus of royal power in the 16th and 17th centuries, as headquarters of the Council for the North. It is only a stone’s throw from York Minster and a short trip from the University campus at Heslington.


York is really friendly and relaxed. I instantly felt comfortable here. It is also great to be doing Archaeology with amazing Viking and Roman history right at your fingertips!

Becky, BA Historical Archaeology, 1st year