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Advanced Area Specialisation Eastern Mediterranean and West Asia


Admission requirements

Admission to the Research Master Archaeology programme.


Organised around ongoing research by Leiden University’s Faculty of Archaeology, this course will combine a student-led research project using remote sensing imagery with lectures by teaching staff and guest lecturers that delve into recent archaeological investigation programmes in the Eastern Mediterranean and West Asia, and their historical and methodological roots.

The programme will consist of alternating guest lectures and more hands-on seminars in which the students’ own research will be the focus.
The guest lectures will provide an introduction to the aims and results of a series of modern field projects led by Faculty of Archaeology staff and will discuss the practicalities of their field research, such as data collection, selection of methodology, interpretation of the available archaeological record, and the preparation of publications.

The seminars will guide you in conducting a desk-based survey of an allocated area in the Eastern Mediterranean / West Asia using remote-sensing imagery (mainly satellite imagery available through Google Earth Pro).
Methodologies are based on those employed by the Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa (EAMENA) project, one of the largest remote survey projects in the region, with which the Faculty has strong ties. This will ensure that you will also get a taste of the kind of work carried out by one of the biggest projects currently active in the region.

Attention will also be given to current debates around colonialism, identity and heritage threats in the archaeology of the Eastern Mediterranean and West Asia.

Course set-up

(Guest) lectures and hands-on seminars will be alternated throughout both blocks, ensuring that students will be able to apply more theoretical discussions directly to their practical experience.

Preparation for each session will involve weekly assignments based on set reading or engagement with on-line resources.

Active participation is required through class discussions, based on set reading, and informal presentations, based on remote survey work.

Students are expected to work individually (set readings) and as part of a group (remote-sensing survey).

Throughout the course, students will work towards a report that summarises their findings and formulates a research proposal for a follow-up project, drawing on all elements of the course.

Course objectives

  • Knowledge of the archaeology of the Eastern Mediterranean and West Asia and their historical roots, on the basis of the lectures, literature, assignments and discussions;

  • Detailed insight into the aims and methodologies of a series of modern investigation projects in the Eastern Mediterranean and West Asia;

  • Ability to critically assess the strengths and weaknesses of the methodologies and aims of these investigation projects, and to voice one’s well-argumented opinion;

  • Ability to critically participate in current debates concerning social and ethical aspects of archaeological work in the area;

  • Ability to identify archaeological sites and carry out basic condition assessments using remote sensing imagery;

  • Ability to present original research in an academic manner;

  • Ability to identify new or alternative avenues of research.


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;

  • Critical reading of relevant books and articles prior to class meetings;

  • Engagement with on-line resources (training materials in remote sensing);

  • Weekly assignments;

  • Class discussion on the basis of these assignments;

  • Individual and joint research;

  • Preparation of individual and joint report(s) (oral and written).

Assessment method

  • Critical, substantiated reading of assigned literature feeding into weekly assignments (20%);

  • Oral presentation (10%);

  • Preparation of remote-sensing data (10%);

  • Final report on the basis of research (60%).

All written documents must be submitted through Turnitin in Brightspace.

For RMA students the quality of the written assignments and the final report on the basis of research will be required to offer a more critical and original, in-depth discussion of the theme selected, and they should be able to formulate new and multidisciplinary avenues for research.

A retake is only possible for the final report, 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 start of the course.


For lectures, tutorials, and exams, enrolment through MyStudymap is mandatory.
You are also required to confirm your exam in MyStudymap. No confirmation = no participation!

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 or dr. A.T. (Letty) ten Harkel.


Compulsory attendance. Skipping more than one meeting without prior notice and/or valid reason will normally result in a fail.