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Archaeology of the Americas


Admission requirements

  • World Archaeology 3.2 obtained;

  • This is a seminar with a limited number of participants (20 students), for Archaeology students exclusively;

  • BA3 students who want to take this course: please contact the Administration Office. You can only be admitted if there are spots left, BA2 students will have priority.


The 2024 Seminar Archaeology of the Americas will focus on the Archaeology of Central America and explore 5 themes on the basis of examples from the archaeology of Honduras. Starting with an introduction to Central American archaeology, the lectures will successively explore the themes of monumentality as related to social organization, the idea of boundaries and periphery in Central American scholarship, the role of landscape in community building, the construction of social landscapes through the circulation of people, ideas, and goods, and finally the role of ritual in negotiating local economies.

Each class will be composed of a one-hour lecture and a 30 minute discussion session to tie the reading with the themes developed in class. Each topic discussed during the course will be represented by one question that you will be presented with at the beginning of the block. Based on this, during the final session, participants will be encouraged to develop critical reflections a presentation, possibly in teams. Finally, the course will be accompanied by one summative question-based essay assignment. The topic of the presentation forms the basis of a final essay.

Course set-up

Week 1: Introduction to Central American Archaeology
Week 2: Monumentality and Social Organization
Week 3: Boundaries and Periphery
Week 4: Landscapes
Week 5: Circulating people and objects
Week 6: Ritual economy
Week 7: Class presentations

Course objectives

At the end of this course, students are expected to achieve the following objectives:

  • To assess different types of archaeological evidence concerning the archaeology of Central America

  • To critically reflect upon the relevant literature and associated themes and to formulate concise discussion question and a final essay using academic writing;

  • To understand the major current debates concerning the archaeology of the Central America

  • To concisely and critically summarize current research findings concerning the archaeology of Central America


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

  • 6 Lectures (6 x 2 hours with 1h lecture, 10 min break, 30 min discussion);

  • Literature;

  • Weekly assignments (discussion questions)

Assessment method

  • Discussion questions (10%)

  • Participation in class discussion (10%);

  • 10 minutes presentation (20%)

  • 2000-word final essay (60%).

The essay will be returned providing full feedback on narrative style, structure, argument development, clarity of language and approach to the question. The retake will consist of (re)writing the essay.

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.

There will be a weekly assessment of the discussion questions and participation in the class discussions. The presentations will be held during the (two) final session of the block. The deadline for the paper will be before the start of the next block.

Reading list

250 pages of compulsory literature (2 articles per theme) will be announced at a later stage. Readings will be associated to lecture themes.


Registration start dates for the BA2 seminars differ from the registration dates of the regular courses.

Registration will take place with the use of forms. These will be e-mailed by the study advisers to all BA2 students and pre-master students at the beginning of January 2024.

The Administration Office will register all Archaeology BA2 students in uSis for their seminar exams. However, confirmation of these exams in MyStudymap is mandatory. No confirmation = no participation!


For more information about this course, please contact M.M. Kolbenstetter MA and Dr. A. Geurds


Compulsory attendance.

This is a seminar with a limited number of participants (20 students), for Archaeology students exclusively;

It is not an optional course for the Archaeology BA3 programme. If you want to take this course as an extra-curricular course in your programme, you should ask permission from the Board of Examiners. You can only be admitted with permission, with proper argumentation, and only if there are spots left.