Vanwege het coronavirus is de informatie voor opleiding en toetsing in semester 2 (blok 3 en 4) niet meer op alle punten actueel. Zie voor de actuele informatie de betreffende vakpagina’s op Blackboard/Brightspace.


nl en

Indigenous heritage interpretation


Compulsory attendance


Admission requirements

Bachelor’s degree obtained, admission to the RMA-programme in Archaeology.


This RMA-PhD seminar is one of the two options for the track ‘Religion and Society’ (the other being the seminar coordinated by prof. dr. C.L. Hofman).
The focus is the meanings and values of tangible and intangible cultural heritage of indigenous peoples. The course pays special attention to the cultural continuity from precolonial times to the present and to the concepts, perspectives and experiences of the indigenous peoples themselves.

The study of religious heritage (contemporary rituals and symbolism) is the point of departure for interpreting ancient visual art and developing a long-term diachronic perspective of (inter)cultural dynamics. Simultaneously, this is a means to understand present-day indigenous society as well as to foster identity and decolonisation of memory.
Teaching is connected to on-going research projects in Mesoamerica such as ‘Time in Intercultural Context: The indigenous calendars of Mexico and Guatemala’ (ERC Advanced Grant) and ‘Shedding light on endangered mutual heritage. Developing non-invasive imaging techniques to uncover, understand and preserve ancient Mexican pictorial manuscripts’ (NWO).

Course objectives

  • Knowledge of and insight in the setting up, structuring and executing of academic research projects, on the basis of detailed knowledge of the relevant period, region, research problems, recent literature and current issues under consideration;

  • Insight in how high-ranking international research is conducted;

  • Critical assessment of current research and publications with respect to applicability and background;

  • Ability to express one’s well-argumented opinion on these topics in discussion;

  • Ability to design and conduct research and generate new knowledge;

  • Insight in the applicability of theoretical concepts and models on archaeological, historical and anthropological data;

  • Ability to give an oral presentation of research;

  • Development of well-argumented texts on research;

  • Critical review of one‘s own research and that of fellow students in a constructive manner.

Ects distribution

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • Lectures, with preparation (2 ects);

  • Written and oral assignments (4 ects);

  • Congress attendance and additional meetings (1 ects);

  • Research proposal and report, including literature study (3 ects).


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

Mode of instruction

Seminar with student’s reports, commenting on the structure of research and thesis, with analytic discussion of recent publications.
Students identify and evaluate the most important publications, especially relevant articles in recent issues of leading journals, and write a review of a monograph that is crucial for their thesis research.

RMA-students are expected to attend all guest lectures of the specialisation programme (to be announced during the year). In addition, RMA-students attend an international symposium, workshop or congress, to be selected in consultation with their thesis supervisor. Students are required to prepare the meeting with a paper.

Assessment method

  • Active participation in the seminar (40%);

  • Written and oral assignments, including analytical presentation of recent literature related to the topic of the thesis (book-review) (25%);

  • Report on congress attendance (10%);

  • Research proposal (25%).

Assessment deadline

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

Reading list

Partly to be indicated during the seminar, partly to be identified by the students themselves.


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

Contact information

For more information about this course, please contact prof. dr. M.E.R.G.N. Jansen.