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Archaeology of Mexico


Compulsory attendance


Admission requirements

Propedeuse Archaeology (1st year) obtained.


In Mesoamerica (Mexico and Central Amerika) there are many archaeological sites and early settlements, but also monumental ceremonial centers with pyramids, plazas, ballcourts, tombs, carved stones, frescoes, goldwork, mosaics, painted books etc. In the early colonial time many chronicles and other historical documents were produced in Spanish and native languages, which give detailed information about the precolonial religion, social organisation and history. Today indigenous peoples in the region preserve to a large extent their languages and many aspects of traditional worldview, mentality, customs, techniques etc. This course offers a chronological overview from the earliest ceremonial centres until the Spanish conquest (1521 AD), with a theoretical focus on the process of state formation in Central and Southern Mexico. Attention will be paid to current themes and practices (survey, excavation, analysis) in Mexican archaeology.

Course objectives

  • Ability to date and understand the most characteristic elements (sites, monuments and artefacts) of the Central and Southern Mexican archaeological record;

  • Ability to form an opinion on the archaeological themes, focused on the characteristic elements, based on literature and information given during class;

  • Ability to research and discuss general archaeological themes of this culture region and the place of the characteristic elements herein.


Course schedule details can be found in the bachelor 3 time schedule.
Exam dates can be found in the examination schedule.

Mode of instruction

Interactive lecture with assignments and reports (using Blackboard).

Assessment method

  • Written examination;

  • Blackboard assignments.
    The deadline for handing in the assignments is the exam week at the end of the course.

Reading list

Before starting the seminar, refresh your overview knowledge by studying:

  • C. Scarre, The Human Past. New York: Thames and Hudson (2005). Chapter 16: Mesoamerican Civilization, pp. 594-639.
    The literature to be studied during the course:

  • S.T. Evans, Ancient Mexico and Central America: Archaeology and Culture History. New York: Thames and Hudson (2008). Specifically the chapters on Central and Southern Mexico.


Register for this course via uSis.
Instructions for registration can be found in the uSis manual.

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

Contractonderwijs: 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).

Contact information

For more information about this course, please contact mw A. Rojas.