Vanwege de coronamaatregelen kan de onderwijsvorm of tentaminering afwijken. Zie voor actuele informatie de betreffende cursuspagina’s op Brightspace.


nl en

Imperial Powers, Global Cultures



Bachelor year 2.

Admission requirements

All BA1 World Archaeology courses obtained.


This course explores the archaeology of empires and early globalisations, and their impact across the world. After an introduction of definitions, theories, approaches and periodisations, a series of empires and similar large socio-political projects, as well as other intensive culture contact phenomena, are studied in more detail under the guidance of various experts from the Faculty of Archaeology.

Depending on the lecturers’ specialisations, topics include various early large-scale exchange systems or cultures across the globe, such as the Hopewell and Bell-Beaker cultures. Subsequently, the early empires such as those of the Assyrians, Greeks, Punics and early Italics and Romans are discussed.
Departing from the classical Roman Empire, we study the large-scale punctuated material connections visible in several moments in time up to Late Antiquity and Medieval times, the Age of Discoveries, and the VOC.

The course takes a comparative perspective, seeking to define common patterns and developments, whereas explanations for different trajectories will be explored in reference to different natural, climatic, technological and cultural conditions and challenges.

Set-up of the course:
In the morning the topic is introduced by the lecturer of the day. Subsequently students study course materials/handbooks.
In the afternoons, discussion sessions are planned.

Course objectives

  • Gain general knowledge of a broad array of key empires in world history, and their key characteristics;

  • Gain insight into the social, economic and cultural impact of empires, for the subjected peoples and areas as well as the imperial powers themselves;

  • Gain insight into models and theories applied by archaeologists when investigating empires and similar large polities and systems;

  • Gain insight into the socio-political and economic workings of empires;

  • Gain insight into different motivations for imperial expansion;

  • Gain insight into common patterns and developments of conquest, violence, and consolidation;

  • Gain insight into the ways of (ideologically) legitimising imperial power and socio-political inequality.


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

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures;

  • Autonomous study;

  • Short assignments.

Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 24 hours of seminar;

  • 500 pages of literature;

  • Short assignments.

Assessment method

  • 3 assignments;

  • Final exam with essay questions.

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

Reading list

Per meeting there will be 1 or 2 chapters/papers to read. The reading list will be distributed 2 weeks prior to the start of the class. Make sure you are registered for this BlackBoard module in time.


  • Hodos (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Archaeology and Globalization (London/New York 2016);

  • Düring/Stek (eds.), The Archaeology of Imperial Landscapes. A Comparative Study of Empires in the Ancient Near East and Mediterranean World (Cambridge 2018).


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.


For more information about this course, please contact dr. T.C.A. (Tymon) de Haas.


Compulsory attendance.