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The Roman Frontier


Admission requirements

  • World Archaeology 2.2 obtained;

  • This is a seminar with a limited amount of participants (25 students), for Archaeology students exclusively;

  • This is not an optional course for the Archaeology BA3 programme. If you want to take this course as an extra-curricular course in your programme, you should ask permission from the Board of Examiners. You can only be admitted with permission, with proper argumentation, and only if there are spots left.


From the last centuries before our era, patterns of connectivity can be observed across the Eurasian world, in which the Roman Empire fulfilled a pivotal role. Especially the frontier regions of this expanding Eurasian state are intriguing territories to study aspects of interconnection and interaction.

While many prehistoric practices were persistent throughout North-Western Europe especially, a whole series of changes occurred, coining the Roman period as a time of transitions.

This course focuses on central debates in Roman Archaeology: how and why did the Roman Empire extend into North-Western Europe specifically, what were the interactions between the Empire and local communities, and how did this end?

During the course you will engage in discussions about the major developments, theoretical concepts such as globalisation, power and identity, and learn to relate them to different aspects of Roman material culture and/or sites from the Netherlands specifically.

Debates on experiencing and exchanging, protecting and preserving these, plus community involvement will be part of this course as well.

However, the main goal of the course is to get an overview of the Roman period – including related material culture - of North-Western Europe, and to be able to place it in larger frame- and networks.

Course set-up

In the mornings a topic and the overarching theme or theoretical concept will be discussed.
In the afternoons you will handle material culture and/or heritage perspectives related to the theme or period, make assignments based on the topic of that morning, or work on a subject that is discussed during a guest lecture.
We will also make – if the situation allows – excursions to several sites.

Course objectives

  • Insight into the chronology and main types of material culture groups of the Roman period in North-Western Europe;

  • Insight into some of the major developments, key issues and debates for the North-Western Roman frontier regions;

  • Ability to summarise and reflect on specialist literature;

  • Ability to work in a team on practicals: Roman Period Ceramics plus Roman Numismatics (for students in the World Archaeology track).


Course schedule details can be found in MyTimetable.
Log in with your ULCN account, and add this course using the 'Add timetable' button.

Mode of instruction

Seminar with active learning (in the mornings) and practical sessions in groups by means of assignments (in the afternoons).

Course load

  • 24 hours of lectures (1 ec);

  • 24 hours of tutorial and/or practical sessions (2 ec);

  • Ca. 300 pages of literature (2 ec).

Assessment method

  • Weekly assignments - compulsory (25%);

  • Roman Ceramics practicals assignment – compulsory (25%);

  • Final essay (50%).

Assessment deadlines

All assessment deadlines (exams, retakes, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in MyTimetable.
Log in with your ULCN account, and add this course using the 'Add timetable' button. To view the assessment deadline(s), make sure to select the course with a code ending in T and/or R.

The assignments have strict weekly deadlines.

Reading list

Per meeting there will be 2 - 3 papers to read. The reading list will be distributed 2 weeks prior to the start of the course. Make sure you are registered for this course's Brightspace module in time.


Registration in uSis is mandatory. You can register for this course until 5 days before the first class.

Registration in uSis automatically leads to enrollment in the corresponding Brightspace module. Therefore you do not need to enroll in Brightspace, but make sure to register for this course in uSis.

You are required to register for all lectures and tutorials well in time. The Administration Office registers all students for their exams, you are not required to do this in uSis.

Start registration for the BA2 seminars:

  • Series 1: 27 September 2021, 07:00 hrs

  • Series 2: 17 January 2022, 07:00 hrs

  • Series 3: 28 February 2022, 07:00 hrs


For more information about this course, please contact dr. ir. M.J. (Mark) Driessen.


Compulsory attendance.