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Advanced Current Issues in the Archaeology of the Frontier Regions of the Roman Empire


Admission requirements

  • Admission to the Master Archaeology programme, or equivalent;

  • Preferably BA2 course The Roman Frontier obtained, or else basic knowledge of provincial Roman archaeology. If in doubt, please contact the lecturer (see ‘Contact’ below).


The Roman conquest ushered in major changes in society, technology and organisational complexity, as well as altering the nature of people’s relationship with material culture. In this course we examine the life cycle of artefacts, ranging from extraction to final discard.

In the northern provinces in particular, the conquest introduces massive changes in material culture, reflecting not only the increasing demands of the military apparatus, but also changing attitudes to possessions, their use and their disposal on the part of the local population.

We will explore the impact of technology and expanding horizons, the role of consumers in the distribution of goods and the underlying continuity of religious practices in the final discard of particular artefacts.
The case studies presented relate to ongoing departmental research, both national and international.
Debate in the provincial Roman community as expressed in the annual Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference and its publications forms the theoretical background to this course.

This course is open to both MA and RMA-students, but their assessments are different. MA-students will do group assignments, whereas RMA-students will do their assignments individually.

Course set-up

Lectures and guest lectures, ending with discussion. Students will be given specific literature to read before each class. This will be used to formulate relevant questions. These questions will be used for the discussion at the end of each class.
Each student will choose a subject for the final assignment, and will present the preliminary results of this during classes.

Course objectives

After completing this course, the student:

  • Will begin to understand the complexity of Roman materiality in North-Western Europe and beyond;

  • Will be familiar with significant sites and materials;

  • Will be acquainted with the recent theoretical debate;

  • Has gained writing skills;

  • Has gained presentation skills;

  • Is able to write, individually, a final essay that shows a theoretical or methodological approach from a broader academic and preferably multidisciplinary background or context with, as a result, original and creative ideas.


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;

  • Student presentations.

Course load

  • 16 hours of lectures (1 ec);

  • 12 hours of material culture practicals (1 ec);

  • Assignments (3 ec).

Assessment method

  • Weekly assignments - compulsory (15%);

  • Presentation and interactivity (25%);

  • Final individual essay (60%).

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.

The assignments have strict weekly deadlines.

Reading list

The reading list will be posted on Brightspace.


Registration in uSis is mandatory. You can register for this course until 5 days before the first class.

Registration in uSis automatically leads to enrollment in the corresponding Brightspace module. Therefore you do not need to enroll in Brightspace, but make sure to register for this course in uSis.

You are required to register for all lectures and tutorials well in time. 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 dr. ir. M.J. (Mark) Driessen.


Compulsory attendance.