nl en

The archaeology of Roman imperialism and colonialism reloaded


Compulsory attendance


Admission requirements

Admission to the RMA-programme.

MA’s can take this as an optional course, only after obtaining permission from dr. Stek (see contact information below).


This course provides the student with a critical reconsideration of the character and development of Roman imperialism, colonisation and colonialism from its earliest stages to the early Imperial period, with a particular focus on the role of archaeological evidence in the broader discussion.
Often portrayed as the victory of civilisation over barbarians, Roman expansion has been intimately linked to urbanisation, centralisation and cultural processes of uniformisation. During this course, we analyse the archaeological evidence for this view as well as the formation of this image in modern Roman studies.
Profiting from close cooperation with the research group Landscapes of Early Roman Colonisation, we will explore different methodologies for better studying and understanding early Roman colonisation.

Students are expected to build their own theoretically informed case studies using practical archaeological data and where appropriate, textual evidence.
These case studies will provide a good platform to explore a number of interesting issues, putting the traditional image of e.g. colonial settlement organisation and the relation between Roman colonialism and material culture to the test, and, eventually, developing new hypotheses.

Course objectives

  • Knowledge of the development of Roman imperialism in a long-term perspective, esp. the Roman Republican/ Hellenistic to early Roman Imperial period in the wider setting of urbanisation and state formation processes in the Mediterranean and Europe in the first millennium BC;

  • Insight in current theoretical models on ancient colonialism and imperialism;

  • Ability to select and process archaeological data and to demonstrate their relevance to current theoretical debates on Roman colonisation;

  • Ability to present original research in an academic manner.

Ects distribution

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 7×2 hours of lectures (1 ects);

  • 280 pages of literature (2 ects);

  • Preparation for assignments, including presentation, and 5,000-word essay (2 ects).


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

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures;

  • Reading of relevant books/articles;

  • Individual assignments/presentations;

  • Discussion on the basis of these assignments.

Assessment method

  • Active participation in discussions, based on discussion points (20%);

  • Presentation (20%);

  • Essay (60%).

Assessment deadline

All assessment deadlines (exams, retakes, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in the examination schedule.

Reading list

The reading list will be posted on Blackboard before the beginning of the course.


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. T.D. Stek.