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World Archaeology 2.2: The Classical World


Admission requirements



The lecture series World Archaeology gives an outline of the deep history of humans and society from our early ancestors to the more complex societies in the world. The role of material culture in society is discussed and shown for many regions and periods. Comparisons between different regions and scales allow you to understand connections between the local and the global.

People used material culture to shape their world. At the same time people were shaped by the material culture they created. This type of data can be used to understand past societies, but needs to be treated with care.

This course focuses on the ancient world in its global context, and includes a lecture day devoted to the archaeology of Egypt.
Lectures may incidentally be replaced by excursions.
The book The Human Past is used throughout the course, supplemented by additional literature.

Course set-up

Each meeting, a lecture on the subject of that particular day will be followed by a tutorial that addresses a particular aspect in depth and on the basis of additional literature. These tutorials will take place in smaller groups and are guided by a teaching assistant.
After the tutorial, a class of embedded learning will provide you with more in-depth knowledge of the subject and, if possible, hands-on and practical training concerning the subject.

Daily schedule:
9-11 hrs: lectures Dutch and English
10-12 hrs: tutorial
13-14 hrs: wrap-up / q&a (all students)

Course objectives

  • Basic knowledge of the deep history of the Classical World;

  • Basic understanding of contrasts and different perspectives on World Archaeology themes;

  • Basic understanding of the current debates and challenges in Classical & Mediterranean archaeology;

  • Basic understanding of how people used material culture to shape their world and how their world was shaped by material culture in the ancient world;

  • Understanding the nature and variety of archaeological evidence, such as tools, household items, visual material culture and art, structures of houses, burials and ecological changes;

  • Knowledge of the nature of archaeological data and the regional and temporal variations in settlements, economies, objectscapes and cultural organisation;

  • General knowledge of and insight into technological, social and cultural developments in time per region (in burial rituals, settlements, economic developments, social organisation and art).


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

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures;

  • Tutorials, in which students work under supervision on assignments on the literature and practice their knowledge;

  • Excursions (museum visits).

Due to COVID-19 measures in place, and depending on developments in the situation, the mode of instruction may change before or during the course.

Course load

  • 18 hours of lectures and tutorials;

  • 38 hours of preparation/literature/excursion.

Assessment method

  • Multiple choice exam (100%).

During the course there will be 3 assignments all students have to submit through Brightspace. Each assignment can earn you a bonus of 0.2 for your final grade.

A retake of the exam is only possible in case of a fail (in compliance with our teaching rules and regulations) and only when the requirements of attendance and assignments have been met.

Compensation between the grades of World Archaeology 2.1 and World Archaeology 2.2 is only possible if the individual grades are a 5.0 or higher.

All exam dates (exams, retakes, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in the BA1 examination schedule.
Deadlines for assignments are included in the course syllabus.

Due to COVID-19 measures in place, and depending on developments in the situation, the assessment method may change before or during the course.

Reading list

  • C. Scarre (ed.), The Human Past. World Prehistory & the Development of Human Societies. Thames & Hudson, 3rd edition (2013);

  • Various additional articles.


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.

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 prof. dr. M.J. (Miguel John) Versluys.


Compulsory attendance during lectures and tutorials and embedded learning. Upon missing more than one lecture/tutorial/embedded learning you will be excluded from the exam.