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Current Issues in the Archaeology of Mesoamerica



Admission requirements

Admission to the Master Archaeology programme.


Following an introductory class, six interrelated aspects of currently emerging work in the archaeology of Mesoamerica will be reviewed over six classes. In line with the aims of this course, the readings are entirely different from last year’s rendition.

The themes for the academic year 2023-2024 may include studies and debates on settlement pattern analysis, urbanism, political economy, or the combination of written and archaeological sources. This will be approached using work published in majority over the last five years.
As we will see, these subjects are components of a significant amount of archaeological writing in Mesoamerican archaeology that will give shape to future forms of archaeology, both focused on precolonial, colonial and contemporary contexts.

Central to the course are (up to) two-hour seminar sessions to actively discuss weekly readings. Students will take the lead on such discussions, probably in teams, depending on the final tally of participants. Aims include improved critical understanding, rather than comprehensive coverage, and also to open up forward-looking constructive awareness.

Course set-up

Weekly classes of two hours each. Classes will include lecturing, plenary topical discussions, and student presentations.

Course objectives

  • Knowledge of and insight in key developments of the archaeology of Mesoamerica;

  • Knowledge of comparative potential of Americanist archaeology from a global archaeology perspective;

  • Ability to historically situate key debates in Mesoamerican archaeology;

  • Ability to mobilise knowledge in reasoned oral contributions;

  • Ability to write a fluent and critical essay surrounding an archaeological body of literature.


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


Assessment method

  • Participation and input during classes or assignments (40%);

  • Written essay (60%).

The course will be accompanied by one summative question-based essay assignment. Each topic discussed during the course will be represented by one question that you will be presented with mid-course. You are free to select any one of these questions to base your essay on.

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

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, consisting of articles and book chapters, will be made available on Brightspace.


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.

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Prospective students website for information on how to apply.


For more information about this course, please contact


Compulsory attendance.