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Bachelor year 2.

Admission requirements

Landscape Dynamics obtained.
For non-Archaeology students an equivalent level is required.


In this course you will learn how to interpret bioarchaeological data (botanical macro fossils, pollen, animal and human skeletal remains). A number of practical sessions is part of the course. During the practical you will will get hands-on experience with pollen and spores, botanical macro fossils, and animal and human skeletal remains.

The lectures are followed by a practical of 2 weeks, to be scheduled in January.

Course objectives

  • Knowledge of the basic principles of taxonomy (what is taxonomy, who was Linneaus, etc.);

  • Knowledge of the (palaeo)biological techniques used to reconstruct landscapes, palaeo-environments and palaeo-climate;

  • Ability to research the domestication of plants;

  • Knowledge of the archaeo-zoological techniques used to reconstruct the past (including analyses of skeletons, bones and teeth of small and large mammals, birds, fish and molluscs);

  • Understanding of how skeletal remains can provide archaeologists with information about seasonal factors, palaeo-economy, and the relationship between humans and animals;

  • Knowledge of the osteo-archaeological techniques used to reconstruct human populations as well as individuals from the past.


  • Familiarity with how to work with botanical, animal (fossil) and human skeletal remains, and how to work with a microscope;

  • Ability to discern different types of fossils and organic remains (e.g. bone, antler, seeds, shell, wood), and to make a distinction between animal and human bones;

  • Knowledge of how to identify certain specimens.


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

This course comprises practical sessions. The schedule for the practical sessions can be found on BlackBoard.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures;

  • Practical.

Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 28 hours of lectures (2 ec);

  • 60 hours of practical sessions (3 ec).

Assessment method

  • Written exam (50%);

  • Assignments during the practical (active participation only) (50%).

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

Reading list

To be published on BlackBoard.


Registration via uSis is mandatory.

  • The Administration Office will register all BA1 students for their tutorials (not lectures; register via uSis!).

  • BA2, BA3, MA/MSc and RMA/RMSc students are required to register for all lectures and tutorials well in time.

  • The Administration Office registers all students for their exams, students are not required to do this in uSis.

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. M.H. (Mike) Field.


Compulsory attendance during practical sessions.