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Field Techniques


Admission requirements



This course forms the start of the learning trajectory 'professional skills'. This learning line runs through all years of study and consists of Field Techniques (BA 1), Field School 1 (BA1), Field School 2 (BA2), Internship BA3 and an optional Internship MA Applied Archaeology.
All skills acquired are registered in a portfolio.

Field Techniques is an introduction into the methods and techniques employed in archaeological field research. The course consists of a series of lectures and practicals on archaeological field techniques.

The series of lectures forms the theoretical basis of the course and is completed with a written exam. Lectures will be taught in both English and Dutch. During the practical you will already practise various analogue field recording techniques.

The Field Techniques course is followed by Field School 1, where all of the acquired skills are brought into practice in a real archaeological environment. The Field Techniques course helps you to gain basic knowledge and skills in archaeological field techniques.

At the end of the course, you should have (practical) knowledge of how the archaeological record is formed and how we can begin to recover it (prospecting methods, excavation techniques and various archaeological field recording techniques).

Course set-up

  • 7 days of lectures (in the morning: 2 hours);

  • Practicals: 5 half-day increments of 4 hours.

Course objectives

  • Knowledge of how the archaeological record is formed, and how it is affected by taphonomy;

  • Knowledge of the different types of archaeological data;

  • Knowledge of the way in which these archaeological data are collected and how they can be analysed;

  • Knowledge of the various excavation techniques and how they are applied in archaeology;

  • To know how to prepare and perform a basic archaeological analogue measurement project;

  • Ability to select and apply the applicable field recording techniques;

  • Ability to work in a team.


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;

  • Practicals.

Course load

  • 14 hours of lectures (1 ec);

  • 40 hours of practicals (2 ec);

  • +/- 280 pages of literature (2 ec).

Assessment method

  • Written exam (100%);

  • Compulsory attendance for the practicals.

For the practicals a pass is required (DLN). A retake for the practicals is not possible.

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.

Reading list

  • Renfrew, C & Bahn, P. 2020. Archaeology, Methods, Theory and Practice. 8th Edition ISBN 978-0500294246;

  • Several articles, to be announced during the course.


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.


For more information about this course, please contact A.J. (Arjan) Louwen.


Compulsory attendance for the practicals.