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The Archaeology of the Roman Empire in the Western Mediterranean


Admission requirements

  • World Archaeology 2.2 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.


This course delves deeper into the archaeology of the western Roman Empire between the 1st and 5th centuries AD, with a focus on the Mediterranean. Each week takes an in-depth look at a specific case study, starting with the archaeology of Rome and moving to other key sites or areas in the region. This will be placed in the context of current debates in Roman archaeology. The significance of Roman heritage in contemporary society will be an additional focus of the course.

Course set-up

Each week, participating students are expected to submit an assignment through Brightspace, based on critical reading of compulsory literature or engagement with online resources.

In addition to lectures, there will be three student-led seminars during which students are expected to give group presentations on a key Roman site in the western Mediterranean that they have researched, thus strengthening research, team working and oral presentation skills. Groups and site allocations will be discussed in week 1, and student-led seminars will likely take place in weeks 3, 5 and 7.

At the end of the course, students are expected to write a 2,500 – 3,000 word essay on a topic of their choice (relevant to the course and building on (an aspect of) their group work).

Course objectives

  • Obtain deeper knowledge of key archaeological sites within the (western) Roman empire;

  • Critically engage with current debates on Roman archaeology and heritage;

  • Improve team working skills;

  • Improve oral and written presentation skills;

  • Carry out a desk-based investigation of an archaeological site;

  • Formulate a research question and write a well-structured essay.


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 with active student participation;

  • Student-led seminars (oral presentations);

  • Feedback on weekly assignments through Brightspace.

Assessment method

  • Weekly assignments (20%);

  • Group presentations (30%);

  • Final essay (50%).

Students who fail the course can only retake the final essay. In all cases, a minimum of 5.5 has to be obtained for the final essay to pass the module.

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.

Reading list

The reading list will be made available to students prior to the start of the course.


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


Compulsory attendance. Failure to attend sessions without prior notice and/or valid reasons will normally result in a fail.