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Landscape Dynamics 1



Bachelor year 1.


This course is an introduction into the rudiments of environment construction, in which attention will be paid to landscape formation processes, including soil formation and sedimentary processes.
It provides an introduction into the concepts and methodology of earth sciences, that all archaeologists need to know and be able to apply in their archeological research.

This course explores the various depositional environments (rivers, sea, wind, ice, slopes), by means of processes and the resulting deposits, in which archaeological remains can be found.
Several basic definitions of the earth sciences will be addressed, in which amongst others the terms weathering and soil formation, palimpsest, hiatus, stratigraphy, depositional sequence, natural site formation processes, as well as their application in archaeology.

Set-up of the course

9-10 hrs: Lecture 1 (Dutch group)
10-11 hrs: Lecture 1 (International group)
11-12: hrs: Reading and assignments (supervised)
12-13 hrs: Lecture 2 (Dutch group)/ Reading and assignments for the international group (supervised)
14-14 hrs: Lecture 2 (International group)
14-15: hrs: Tutorial with assignments and direct feedback (whole group)

Course objectives

  • To introduce the discipline of earth sciences including basic terminology and concepts, such as soil formation and the various depositional environments and associated deposits;

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

  • To introduce 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 introduce the concepts of stratigraphy, relative dating methods and palimpsest.


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

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures, followed by time for reading;

  • Weekly assignments in supervised tutorials.

Course load

  • 6x2 hours of lectures (1 ec);

  • 6x2 hours of tutorials (0.5 ec);

  • 200 pages of literature (1.5 ec);

  • Assignments (2 ec).

Assessment method

  • Written exam with open questions (90%);

  • Weekly assignments (10%).

All assignments have to be handed in, including the assignments that have been designed to practice.

A retake is only possible for the written exam.

Exams are scheduled according to the BA1 examination schedule.
Individual deadlines of assignments can be found on BlackBoard.

Reading list

Robert Christopherson, Geosystems: An Introduction to Physical Geography. Global Edition.


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. J.A. (Joanne) Mol.


Compulsory attendance.