nl en

Archaeological heritage



This course is about the relationship between community and cultural heritage including archaeology. It relates to the public engagement and impact on heritage and archaeology. Here we will explore the topic of public archaeology which has become a major sub-discipline with its own conferences, publications and teaching programs. Its specialists work in museums, universities, schools, NGOs and national and international agencies and organizations as well as in the private sector. We will also discuss the uses and misuses of cultural heritage in the current word. Issues relating to how archaeological heritage can be useful for future societal issues including environmental and conflict context will also be discussed.

This course will introduce how archaeological heritage is perceived and engaged with by many communities from around the world. Theoretical approaches such as that of viewing archaeological knowledge as a basic human need is presented, along with other heritage practices from national and international perspectives and how community engages with the past material culture in their current context and display.

Case studies from across the globe will illustrate this concept. We will also study cases of heritage under threat around the globe and will make use of our recently developed MOOC Heritage under threat’.
The weekly assignments will include both writing and oral discussions, and assessment method will include peer-assessment/commentary. The final exam will be in the form of open essay questions.

Course objectives

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  • Understand the political and public context of archaeology

  • Understand the limitations of our best theories and practices

  • Familiarize with global and indigenous perspectives on heritage

  • Understand the significance of bottom-up community leadership in heritage preservation

  • Understand the importance sharing experiences, skills and data with communities who’s heritage

  • Understand the role of media and internet in shaping our ideas of the past and what archaeology is;

  • Understand the impact of looting, vandalism and illicit trade in antiquities.


Course schedule details can be found in the BA2 time schedule.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures;

  • Weekly assignments including questions from the reading list.

Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 14 hours of lectures;

  • 250 pages of literature;

  • Weekly assignments.

Assessment method

  • Exam with open essay questions (60%);

  • Weekly assignments (40%).

A retake is only possible for the assignment, and only when all assignments have been submitted and the attendance requirements have been met.

Compensation of the grades is possible (minimum grade is 4.5, in concordance with the Faculty rules).

All exam dates (exams, retakes, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in the BA2 examination schedule.

Reading list

To be announced.


Registration for the course or the exam is not required.

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 dr. C. Popa.


Compulsory attendance.