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Experimental archaeology


Admission requirements

Materiaalkunde 1 obtained, or possessing a similar level of knowledge about material culture.


Drawing on archaeological and ethnographic data, experimental archaeology focuses on the reconstruction of past technologies, activities, buildings, and taphonomic processes.
This course explores the value of experimental archaeology as a research tool for archaeological investigation. Particular emphasis will be placed on the increased significance of experimental archaeology in scientific research and the role experimental archaeology can play in informing wider theoretical debates on materiality, entanglement theory and material culture studies more broadly (experiential approach).

The ever growing role of experimental archaeology in public outreach activities mainly in museums and open air centres will also be discussed.
During the practical sessions for this course students will conduct group experiments using different materials and techniques and will present them.

Course objectives

  • Increased knowledge about how objects are made and used by means of experimental archaeology;

  • Knowledge of and insight in the experimental and analytical methods with which to derive information from artefacts;

  • Basic knowledge of the role of experimental archaeology in scientific research and public outreach;

  • Ability to explain the role of this field;

  • Ability to develop an experiment in cooperation with peers.


Course schedule details can be found in the bachelor 2 time schedule.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures;

  • Practicals;

  • Films.

Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 14 hours of lectures;

  • 8 hours of oral presentations (4 sessions x 2 hours each);

  • 18 hours of practical sessions;

  • 300-350 pages of literature and films to be watched in one’s own time.

Assessment method

  • Written exam (70%);

  • Oral presentation of group projects (30%);

There will be one final result and the average of the parts should be a pass. There will be a resit for the written exam. If the oral presentation is a fail, this needs to be compensated by the written exam.

All exam dates (exams, re-sits, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in the examination schedule.

Reading list

  • A.K. Outram, “Introduction to Experimental Archaeology” (2008), in: World Archaeology 40/1, 1-6

  • Recently published articles (to be specified).


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

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Prospective students website for information on how to apply.

Registration ‘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).


For more information about this course, please contact mw. dr. C. Tsoraki.


Compulsory attendance at the practical sessions and presentations.