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World Archaeology 2.2: The Classical World


Admission requirements



The lecture series World Archaeology gives an outline of the deep history of human society, from our early ancestors to what we call the (pre) modern world.

People used material culture to shape their world. At the same time humans were shaped by the material culture they created. This entanglement of people and material culture is discussed and illustrated for many regions and periods through time and across the globe.
Comparisons between different parts of the world and different scales of analysis will allow you to understand connections between the local, the regional and the global in World Archaeology.

This part of the course (WA2.2) focuses on the ancient world (traditionally understood and the history of the Greeks and the Romans) in its global context, and includes a lecture day devoted to the archaeology of Egypt, from the pyramids to Christianity, as well as an excursion to the National Museum of Antiquities.
Central to the course will be the notion of increasing connectivity.

Course set-up

Lectures on the subject of that particular week will be followed by a tutorial that addresses a particular aspect in depth and on the basis of additional literature. These tutorials will take place in smaller groups and are guided by a teaching assistant.

We will discuss 6 different subjects cq. time periods:

  • The Bronze Age Mediterranean up to the period around 1,000 BC

  • The archaeology of ancient Egypt: from the pyramids to Christianity

  • An Axial Age: the ancient world around the middle of the first millennium BC

  • The Hellenistic world: Afro-Eurasia connected

  • “A small cape of Asia”: the rise and fall of the Roman Empire

  • The classical past in the modern present: reception and its controversies

You will be asked to prepare the lectures by means of short video clips, as well as by studying part of the handbook for this course, together with some additional literature.

Course objectives

  • Basic knowledge of the history and archaeology of what we call the Classical World in its global context;

  • Basic understanding of different perspectives on World Archaeology themes (from the perspective of Classical & Mediterranean archaeology);

  • Basic understanding of the current debates and challenges in Classical & Mediterranean archaeology, and their relevance for contemporary society;

  • Basic understanding of how people used material culture to shape their world and how their world was shaped by material culture, in the ancient world;

  • Understanding the nature and variety of archaeological evidence, such as tools, household items, visual material culture and art, structures of houses, architecture, burials and ecological changes in the ancient world;

  • Knowledge of the nature of archaeological data and the regional and temporal variations in settlements, economies, ‘objectscapes’ and cultural organisation in the ancient world;

  • General knowledge of and insight into technological, social and cultural developments in time per region (in burial rituals, settlements, economic developments, social organisation and art) for the ancient world.


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, in which students work under supervision on assignments on the literature and practise their knowledge;

  • Excursion (museum visit).

You will take part in three 1-hour 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

  • 18 hours of lectures and tutorials;

  • 38 hours of preparation/literature/excursion.

Assessment method

  • Multiple choice exam (100%).

During the course there will be 3 assignments all students have to submit through Brightspace. Each assignment can earn you a bonus of 0.2 for your final grade.

A retake of the exam is only possible in case of a fail (in compliance with our teaching rules and regulations), and only when the requirements of attendance and assignments have been met.

Compensation between the grades of World Archaeology 2.1 and World Archaeology 2.2 is only possible if the individual grades are a 5.0 or higher.

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.

Deadlines for assignments are included in the course syllabus.

Reading list

  • C. Scarre (ed.), The Human Past. World Prehistory & the Development of Human Societies. Thames & Hudson, 3rd edition (2013);

  • Various additional articles.


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 prof. dr. M.J. (Miguel John) Versluys.


Compulsory attendance during lectures and tutorials and embedded learning. Upon missing more than one lecture/tutorial/embedded learning you will be excluded from the exam.