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Underwater Archaeology and Maritime Landscapes


Admission requirements

The course is open to students admitted to the Master programme Applied Archaeology. However, students from other tracks who want to know more about maritime archaeology and heritage management are welcome as well.


This course focuses on the historical relationship between humans and water and how we handle this in our society.
In many past societies water was an important means of transporting goods, people and ideas. The maritime world is part of many countries’ national and local identities. The material past found under or near the water may be hidden or forgotten, for example in the Netherlands.
Dutch activities in the past are often connected with the sea and (trading) connections overseas, with the world’s rivers, seas and oceans as highways and fastest routes. But the Netherlands are not alone in this: many countries are or used to be maritime powers. Many peoples live and have lived intensively with the sea.

This course will explore the meaning of water in past societies through the maritime cultural heritage that has been left behind. The maritime landscape will function as a context and connection between individual sites. It will also include an analysis of the way underwater and ship archaeology can contribute to our knowledge of the maritime past, including how we treat this heritage in our present-day society.

There will be a focus on the Netherlands, but other parts of Europe and the world will be taken into consideration as well.
This course will also include some theoretical backgrounds on the technical discipline called underwater archaeology. We will explore the methods and technology that are needed to execute underwater research.

Set-up of the course

  • Introduction

  • The maritime and underwater landscape

  • Ships connect 1

  • Ships connect 2

  • Maritime archaeological research (M&T)

  • Underwater archaeological research (M&T)

  • Conclusions, wrap-up and excursion

Course objectives

  • Introducing a maritime view to our past for both specialists and non-specialists;

  • Knowledge of the theoretical and technical development of maritime and underwater archaeology;

  • Knowledge of the maritime traditions and landscape approaches, and ability to integrate these into other archaeological studies;

  • Awareness of selected past and current subjects of research in maritime and underwater archaeology;

  • Basic knowledge of development of ships through time and in relation to their purpose and the area of operation.


Course schedule details can be found in the MA and MSc time schedule.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures;

  • Individual assignments;

  • Discussions;

  • Excursion.

Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 14 hours of lectures/tutorials (1 ec);

  • Assignments and discussions (2 ec);

  • Literature (2 ec).

Assessment method

  • Written exam (50%);

  • Assignments (50%).

A 5.5 or higher needs to be obtained for the assignments (50%). Only the written exam can be retaken.

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

Reading list

The reading list will 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.R. (Martijn) Manders.


Compulsory attendance. Students can miss max. 1 class.