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Landscape dynamics



This course is an introduction in the rudiments of environment construction, in which attention will be paid to landscape formation processes, climate change, geology, vegetation and fauna.
It also provides an introduction in the methodology of science, including isotope studies, applied to archeological case studies. Several basic definitions of the earth sciences and ecology, in which amongst others the terms stratigraphy, habitat, niche and territory will be treated, as well as their application in archaeology.

The course is subdivided in 3 parts:

  1. Introduction in natural processes and landscapes (4 ec)
  2. Introduction in Ecology (4 ec)
  3. Introduction into the concepts and methodologies in natural science, that are commonly used in archaeology (2 ec)

Course objectives

  • To introduce the disciplines of ecology and earth sciences including basic terminology and concepts;

  • To examine theories that explain how climate has, is and will continue to fluctuate;

  • To gain knowledge of the methods and techniques used to reconstruct palaeo-environment including palaeo-climate;

  • To introduce deep-sea, ice-core and terrestrial records for evidence of past environmental and climatic change;

  • To look at how environmental and climatic change has influenced humans' activity in the past and present

  • To apply what has been introduced in an archaeological setting with a case study;

  • To introduce the concepts of stratigraphy and dating, including isotope dating methods.


Course schedule details can be found in the BA1 time schedule.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures;

  • Weekly assignments or practicals.
    These assignments make up for 20% of the grade for parts 1 and 2, and 100% for part 3.

Course load

  • 15x1 hours of lectures (1 ec);

  • 15x6 hours of practicals (3 ec);

  • 400 pages of literature (3.5 ec);

  • Assignments (2.5 ec).

Assessment method

  • Assignments and written exam with open questions after part 1 (40%);

  • Assignments and written exam with open questions after part 2 (40%);

  • Assignments (average grade) during part 3 (20%).

Compensation of the grades is possible.
A retake is only possible for the written exams and only when all assignments have been submitted on time.

All exam dates (exams, re-sits, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in the BA1 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 mw. dr. J.A. Mol or dr. M.H. Field.


Compulsory attendance during the workshops and practicals.