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Landscape Dynamics 2


Admission requirements



The interactions of people with the natural world generate different landscapes. This course offers an introduction to the study of the environmental and cultural factors that influenced human behavior and settlement patterns in the past, thus shaping the lives of peoples as well as the landscape and its evolution over time.

It provides a description of the methods that archaeologists employ to collect data to study past landscape dynamics, with a special focus on field recording methods, spatial data modelling with digital techniques, and interpretation of human ecology.

This course also explores geomorphological and visibility factors and modern land-use impact affecting the preservation and detection of traces in the field, on which archaeologists base their analysis of past human landscapes.

Several basic definitions of human ecology and landscape archaeology will be addressed and practised during this course such as the terms space, scale, territory, palimpsest, pattern, model, spatial archaeology, archaeological record, site distribution mapping, locational analysis, GIS, field survey, remote sensing, geophysics, cartography, geography, geomorphology, topography, interdisciplinary, impact, sustainability, and cultural resource management.

Students will delve into the pros and cons of different ways of approaching data to study past landscape dynamics by combining the study of first-hand literature with the practical experience of working with different (digital) datasets in case studies.

Course objectives

  • To introduce the discipline of human ecology and landscape archaeology;

  • To gain knowledge of the methods and techniques used in archaeology to study past settlement patterns and site location preferences;

  • To understand how the physical environment and the cultural context influence human activities in the past and present.

Upon competition of this course students will have acquired:

  • Knowledge of a range of tools and methods for the spatial analysis of environmental and archaeological data to study the landscape;

  • Ability in critically assessing research publications and reports.


Course schedule details can be found in MyTimetable.
Log in with your ULCN account, and add this course using the 'Add timetable' button.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures;

  • Tutorials on case studies, with in-class assignments;

  • Extensive autonomous study of literature.

You will take part in tutorial sessions, coordinated by Teaching Assistants (TAs). During these tutorials, you will have the opportunity to ask questions and engage in conversations about various research topics. Alongside the TAs, the lecturers will also occasionally participate in the tutorials.

Course load

  • 6 × 2 hours of lectures (1 ec);

  • 6 × 2 hours of tutorials/practicals (1 ec);

  • Ca. 350 pages of literature (2 ec);

  • In-class assignments and discussion (1 ec).

Assessment method

  • Written exam (100%).

Assessment deadlines

All assessment deadlines (exams, retakes, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in MyTimetable.
Log in with your ULCN account, and add this course using the 'Add timetable' button. To view the assessment deadline(s), make sure to select the course with a code ending in T and/or R.

Individual deadlines for assignments can be found on Brightspace.

Reading list

The reading list will be distributed in every class.
Per class there will be 1-3 chapters or papers to read, selected from:

  • Butzer, K.W., 1982. Archaeology as Human Ecology: Method and Theory for a Contextual Approach. Cambridge University Press;

  • Chapman, H., 2006. Landscape Archaeology and GIS. Stroud: Tempus;

  • David, B., & Thomas, J., 2008. Handbook of Landscape Archaeology (World Archaeological Congress Research Handbooks in Archaeology; 1 323168809). Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press;

  • Haggett, P., Cliff, A. D. & Frey, A. P. 1977. Locational Analysis in Human Geography. London: Arnold;

  • Leveau, P., 1999. Environmental Reconstruction in Mediterranean Landscape Archaeology (The Archaeology of Mediterranean Landscapes; 2). Oxford: Oxbow Books;

  • Renfrew, C. & Bahn, P. 2008. Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice. Thames & Hudson;

  • Siart, C., Forbriger, M., & Bubenzer, O. 2018. Digital Geoarchaeology: New Techniques for Interdisciplinary Human-Environmental Research. Springer;

  • Tilley, C., 1994. A Phenomenology of Landscape: Places, Paths, and Monuments. Oxford etc.: Berg;

  • Wheatley, D. & Gillings, M. 2002. Spatial Technology and Archaeology. The Archaeological Applications of GIS. London & New York: Taylor & Francis;

  • Walsh, K. 2013. The Archaeology of Mediterranean Landscapes. New York: Cambridge University Press;

  • Scientific papers (to be announced).


The Administration Office will register all Archaeology BA1 students in uSis for their lectures and tutorials.
If you are not in Archaeology BA1, you can register for this course by e-mailing the Administration Office. Use your uMail, messages sent from private mail accounts cannot be verified and will not be processed.

Registration in uSis automatically leads to enrollment in the corresponding Brightspace module. Therefore you do not need to enroll in Brightspace.

The Administration Office registers all students for their exams, you are not required to do this in uSis.

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Prospective students website for information on how to apply.

All information (costs, registration, entry requirements, etc.) for those who are interested in taking this course as a Contractstudent is on the Contractonderwijs Archeologie webpage (in Dutch).


For more information about this course, please contact dr. B.S. (Bleda) Düring.


Compulsory attendance.