Research course

The Ancient Body

Open University · Department of Classical Studies

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent).

Months of entry


Course content

Recent appointments in this area have made our department a centre for studying the ancient world through the theme of ‘the body’. We interpret this theme in a highly interdisciplinary way, bringing together the approaches of archaeology, anthropology, medical humanities, ancient history and classical studies to find ways of using material culture and written evidence alongside each other.

We regard the body as a way of addressing what we see as a central question for any historical discipline: is the past just like us, and therefore transparent, or entirely other, and therefore unknowable? Where the body is concerned, the fact that we share so many fundamental everyday experiences with the people of the past may blind us to the difficulties of interpreting their writings, ideas, and objects. Yet studying how people thought about, treated, manipulated, modified, represented and disposed of their bodies provides a window into ancient societies.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PhD
    part time
    72 months
      full time
      36 months
      • MPhil
        full time
        15 months
          part time
          24 months

          Course contact details

          +44 (0)1908 653247