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Landscape Dynamics 1


Admission requirements



This course is an introduction into the rudiments of environment construction, in which attention will be paid to landscape formation processes, including soil formation and sedimentary processes.
It provides an introduction into the concepts and methodologies of earth sciences, including climate change and chronology, and is applied in archaeological research.

This course explores the various depositional environments (rivers, sea, wind, ice, slopes), by means of processes and the resulting deposits, in which archaeological remains can be found.
Several basic definitions of the earth sciences will be addressed, amongst others the terms weathering and soil formation, palimpsest, hiatus, stratigraphy, depositional sequence, natural site formation processes and the most common (radiometric) dating techniques, as well as their application in archaeology.

Course set-up

A central theme will be addressed weekly in a main lecture on Mondays, followed by tutorials in small workgroups, in which the topics are practiced by discussions and assignments.

Each Friday at noon a short quiz will be available, that tests the knowledge of the weekly theme. It has to be completed before Monday 9 am and makes up part of the final grade.

Course objectives

  • To introduce the discipline of earth sciences including basic terminology and concepts, such as soil formation, climate change, dating techniques and the various depositional environments and associated deposits;

  • To gain knowledge of the methods and techniques used to assess palaeo-environment, including palaeo-climate and dating;

  • To introduce terrestrial records for evidence of past environmental and climatic change;

  • To look at how environmental and climatic change has influenced humans' activity in the past and present;

  • To introduce the concepts of stratigraphy, absolute and relative dating methods and palimpsest.


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 (in Dutch or English, you need to choose beforehand);

  • Weekly tutorials.

You will take part in tutorial sessions, coordinated by Teaching Assistants (TAs). During these obligatory tutorials, you will practice the topics discussed during the lectures and engage in conversations about various research topics, that will help you to practice the concepts and terminology, and to understand the role of climate and landscape processes in archaeological site formation.

Assessment method

  • Written exam with open questions (80%);

  • The average grade of weekly quizzes (20%).

A retake is only possible for the written exam.

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 of the weekly graded tests can be found in Brightspace.

Reading list

  • Christopherson, R. 2014 Geosystems: An Introduction to Physical Geography, Global Edition or 9th edition, Aug 2015, chapters 6, 10-12, 14-18;

  • Zhuang, P.G.R.I.M.C.C. Y. (2022). Practical and Theoretical Geoarchaeology (2nd ed.). Wiley Global Research (STMS), chapters 2 and 3;

  • Renfrew, C & Bahn, P. 2020. Archaeology, Methods, Theory and Practice. 8th edition ISBN 978-0500294246, chapter 4 (Dating).


The Administration Office will register all Archaeology BA1 students in uSis for their lectures, tutorials and exams in semester 1 and semester 2.

However for exams, confirmation through MyStudymap is mandatory.
No confirmation = no participation!

If you are not a BA1 student, but want to take this course, please contact the Administration Office.

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

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. J.A. (Joanne) Mol.


  • Compulsory attendance for tutorials, attending the lectures is highly recommended;

  • The lectures are taught in both Dutch and English.