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Past and Future



Bachelor year 1.


This first-year introductory course will provide an overview of the emergence of archaeology as a discipline, and will relate to different aspects of the archaeological practice. Starting with lessons on the human curiosity about the past, we will move through the ages of history of ideas and archaeological thought, ending with the present developments of modern archaeology.
Through excursions, individual and group projects you will explore and investigate wide-ranging aspects of archaeology from a professional and academic perspective. You will meet and interact with professionals ranging from commercial ventures to museums.
An important aspect is learning to articulate relevant inquiry questions. You will experience what it is like to plan projects, communicate your ideas to different audiences and value archaeological objects.

You will start with a group project, in which you make a first start in the development of a research question and discussion with peers. Next you will practice academic writing and presenting and show your writing skills in a paper on the theories used in archaeology.
The course will finish with a final essay on an archaeological object, through which you reflect on the value of material culture for understanding deep history.

Set-up of the course

Lectures, tutorial, group problem-based learning project, excursions, supervision.

Course objectives

By the end of this course the student will

  • have learned to recognise the history, schools of thought and basic organisation of the discipline of archaeology;

  • be able to articulate meaningful research questions;

  • have gained proficiency in a range of academic and professional communication skills, including writing, discussion and presentation;

  • have demonstrated ability to work independently and in groups.


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

Mode of instruction

  • Group instructions during the lectures, followed by guided seminars in which students work on assignments, occasionally concluded by a wrap-up meeting at the end of the day;

  • The assignments involve group and individual assignments on academic writing and presenting, and 3 different excursions during which students work on assignments.

Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 12 x 2 hours of lectures (1 ec);

  • 12 x 4 hours of seminars and 3 excursion days, including assignments (2 ec);

  • Reading and preparation (1 ec);

  • Final exam (1 ec).

Assessment method

  • Group (5 students) assessments/questions, plus vlog (15%);

  • Individual paper of 1,250 words (25%);

  • Final exam (60%).

A retake for the individual paper is only allowed if the compulsory attendance requirements and the deadline for the initial paper have been met. A retake for the exam is only allowed if the compulsory attendance requirements have been met.

Compensation between the grades is only possible if the individual grades are a 5.0 or higher.

The deadlines for the group assignments and the individual paper can be found on BlackBoard, the date for the final exam can be found in the BA1 time schedule.

Reading list

  • C. Renfrew & P. Bahn, Archaeology: Methods, Theories and Practice. 6th edition (2012);

  • Several articles, will be handed out during the course.


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. ir. M.J. (Mark) Driessen or dr. M.S. (Maaike) de Waal.


Compulsory attendance.