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Mobility and exchange


Admission requirements

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


This course focuses on the concepts of mobility and exchange, taking its lead from the department’s ERC and NWO-funded projects in the Caribbean region and Central America. The central domain of study is the interaction networks of the pre-Columbian and early colonial inhabitants of these areas.
Topics related to the material, social and ideological dimensions of these networks will be broadened using theories and methodologies from archaeology, anthropology and archaeometry.

RMA-students are encouraged to situate the content of their presentations and essays into a broader theoretical and methodological context of study for the theme selected.

Course objectives

  • Knowledge of current research and debates of the interaction networks in the Caribbean and Central America;

  • Exercise research skills for in-depth interpretation of archaeological data in terms of socio-political, economic and other interactions between pre-Columbian and early colonial communities;

  • Ability to critically assess current research and literature and voice one’s properly argumented opinion;

  • Ability to choose a research topic, find relevant literature and orally present this with audiovisual means, and the ability to handle a stimulating discussion afterwards.

For RMA-students, in addition to the above:

  • Capacity to present a theoretical and methodological approach and formulate new avenues for innovative research for the theme selected, or relating topic to own research;

  • Skills to write a research paper drawing from a relatively rich number of bibliographic sources and linking the specific data set to an updated theoretical and methodological approach into a broad interregional context;

  • Ability to lead a discussion after the presentation, stimulating an active exchange and discussion of ideas;

  • Ability to contribute with critical and constructive ideas during the discussions in class as well as on-line posts.


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

Mode of instruction

Seminar: other than the two lecturers, there will also be presentations by faculty members and visiting scholars working in the Caribbean and Central American regions. This, in combination with the student presentations, will be enriched by discussion of current issues drawn from recent literature. The multi-focal and multi-vocal course design will result in a more comprehensive overview of the layered concept of mobility and exchange.

Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 7 × 2 hours of seminar (1 ects);

  • 280 pages of literature (2 ects);

  • Final essay of 2,000 words (1 ects);

  • 20 hours of practical work for making and giving the presentation, poster or video (including attending fellow students’ presentations) (1 ects).

Assessment method

  • Active participation: seminars in small, specialist groups in which equal and active participation in both preparation and discussion is important (20%);

  • Discussion points on literature: discussion points on literature for each week are to be posted on BlackBoard (20%);

  • Quality of presentation: student presentations should adopt a theoretical position on one of the case studies. Presentations should be well-structured, argued, with relevant slideshows (30%).

  • Final essay (max. 2,000 words) (30%).

Student presentations will take place in block 2.

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.


Registration for the course is not necessary, registration for the exam is mandatory. For instructions, see the Registration in uSis page.

Contact information

For more information about this course, please contact mw. dr. M.M. Antczak.