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Andean cultures and their connections


Compulsory attendance


Admission requirements

Propedeuse (first year) Archaeology obtained.


This course is a general introduction to the precolonial and early colonial archaeology of the Andean region in South America,
The course will start with presenting two key features to situate that remote history: the geographical setting and the periodisations in use. The former will illustrate how the different areas of the Andean region, the ecological levels, have been used by people, and how this information can be used to understand the same activities in the remote past.
With the latter feature, the periodisation, the main ways will be demonstrated in which archaeologists have been using periods to distinguish and classify societies from the Andes in time.

With this framework in hand the course will deal with some specific topics and some case studies that will help the students to understand the diversity of cultures and societies that lived in that region.
Links and exchanges to Middle America will also be explored in a guest lecture by dr, Alex Geurds.

Course objectives

Students will gain the ability to:

  • Situate in space and time the most representative styles and societies from the Andean region;

  • Understand the basic literature about the Andes, and make connections with similar issues in other areas;

  • Connectgeographical and historical data, i.e. landscape and society in time perspective;

  • Link various types of information (archaeology, ethnography, history, visual culture, etc.) to better understand societies from the remote past.

Ects distribution

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 7×2 hours of lectures (1 ects);

  • 300 pages of literature (2 ects);

  • final examination (1 ects);

  • 20 hours of practical work for 2 small assignments (1 ects).


Course schedule details can be found in the BA3 time schedule.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures;

  • Active participation.

Assessment method

  • 2 assignments (15% each);

  • 2 reading quizzes (15% each);

  • final examination (40%).

Assessment deadline

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

Reading list

  • J. Rowe, “Stages and Periods in Archaeological Interpretation” (1962), in: Southwestern Journal of Anthropology 18(1): 40-53;

  • H. Silverman (ed.), Andean Archaeology. Oxford: Blackwell (2004).


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

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. G.U. Ramon Joffre.