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Urban archaeology


Compulsory attendance


Admission requirements

BA degree (or equivalent) in Archaeology or other relevant discipline.


This course will focus on the archaeology of towns and cities in the period after AD 1000. The case studies will be derived from the Low Countries and will be considered against the background of the major phases of urbanisation in North-Western Europe.
This course corresponds to a course on urbanisation in the early Middle Ages, taught in block 2.

Topics in relation to urbanisation are:

  • The emergence of towns; what makes a city in terms of morphological aspects and why do towns emerge where they do?;

  • Urban topography and urban ‘design’;

  • Urban public and private space;

  • Long-term economic development and population growth and decline;

  • The nature of urban economy and the archaeological visibility of trade and artisanal production.

Course objectives

  • Knowledge of the process of urbanisation in the Low Countries after AD 1000;

  • Ability to describe the major characteristics of urban centres in each period and reproduce the state of archaeological research in a number of important towns;

  • Ability to apply major topics and concepts in a case study;

  • Ability to process archaeological research data into readable, accessible information;

  • Ability to find relevant literature;

  • Ability to properly formulate and present an argument and demonstrate a precise and academic approach to an archaeological issue.

Ects distribution

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 7 lectures (1 ects);

  • 360 pages of literature (2,5 ects);

  • Assignments, 3,000 words (1,5 ects).


Course schedule details can be found in the MA time schedule.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures;

  • Student presentations;

  • Excursion (last class).

Assessment method

  • Assignments;

  • Presentation, in class or on location.

Assessment deadline

The assignments have weekly deadlines. The last assignment is to be handed in on the day before the last class.

Reading list

The reading list will be posted on Blackboard.


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 dr R.M.R. van Oosten.