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Neolithisation in West Asia


Admission requirements

Admission to the Master Archaeology programme.


The Neolithic (ca. 10,000-5,300 BC) is one of the most crucial periods in the history of West Asia (i.e., the Near East), associated with major social, economic and material innovations and important changes in the archaeological record.
It is also a period that has emerged as a major research topic over the past two decades.

In this course we will study the current archaeological views on this period of early village formation. Attention will be given to:

  • Epipalaeolithic forager communities;

  • Neolithic origins;

  • Neolithic expansion and food production;

  • Transitions and transformations;

  • Pots-and-people associations in the late Neolithic;

  • Regional mega-centres;

  • Pastoralism and mobility;

  • Neolithic monuments and ritual;

  • Neolithic administration and (in)equality;

  • Burial practices in the Neolithic.

Course set-up

Lectures, presentations by students, class discussions of presentations and literature.

Course objectives

  • Detailed knowledge of cultural developments in Neolithic West Asia, on the basis of the assigned literature, lectures, assignments and discussions;

  • Detailed knowledge of the current literature, current debates and the archaeological approaches in it;

  • Ability to critically assess current research and assigned literature, and the ability to voice one’s well-argued opinion;

  • Ability to choose a research topic, find relevant literature, apply current views on one’s own research topic and present this via a PowerPoint presentation, and the ability to handle a stimulating discussion afterwards;

  • Ability to critically assess the various presentations;

  • Ability to write a balanced and critical essay on one’s research topic, with expression of a critical assessment of the literature and one’s own well-argued opinion, making use of the feedback received with the presentation.


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

Following the introductory lecture there will be individual assignments dealing with specific research questions and research items concerning Neolithic West Asia.
The topics of research will be addressed in the form of student class presentations, reading of books/articles, and a subsequent essay (1,800 words).

Assessment method

  • Student class presentation (20%);

  • Weekly assignments (20%);

  • Final essay of 1,800 words (60%).

Prior to each class students read literature and provide a summary with discussion points. These must be submitted the day before class. All essays, including the final essay, must be submitted through Turnitin. The final essay also has to be submitted in print.

A retake is only possible for the final essay, only in case of a fail, and only when all other requirements, including attendance, have been met.

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 deadlines for the weekly assignments will be announced on Brightspace.

Reading list

The reading list will be given to participating students prior to the beginning of the course.


Enrolment through MyStudymap is mandatory.

General information about registration can be found on the Course and Exam Enrolment page.


For more information about this course, please contact prof. dr. P.M.M.G. (Peter) Akkermans.


  • Compulsory attendance;

  • The amount of participants is limited to 18.