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Introducing Applied Archaeology


Admission requirements

Admission to the Master Archaeology programme Applied Archaeology.


Contemporary archaeology is multidisciplinary. Present-day archaeology is not just about doing scientific research, it is about applying archaeology.
An archaeologist can be a scientist, a project manager, a communicator, heritage specialist and/or a policy maker. Archaeologists need to have a keen eye for the public, be able to make the public part of their research, and be able to explain the relevance and impact of archaeological research.

In this course you are introduced to the wide scope of applied archaeology and the interrelation of its different disciplines: from project-based field archaeology within a professional context, site and heritage management, to contributing to debates about global sustainable development goals.

Through lectures and related assignments and proposals discussed in tutorials you are confronted with the various scientific and societal frameworks for present-day archaeological practice and current issues in applied archaeology.

Course set-up

Week 1
Theme: Introducing Applied Archaeology
Subjects: A historical and global framework; the multi, inter- and transdisciplinary character of applied archaeology; current issues in applied archaeology; introduction of the final assignment.

Week 2
Theme: Archaeology = Heritage
Subjects: Approaches to heritage management; the role and entanglement of heritage and archaeology; tangible and intangible heritage.

Week 3
Theme: Archaeology = Fieldwork
Subjects: Excavation is not a goal in itself (why do we excavate?); fieldwork in a professional context; setting up a research proposal and operationalisation of the proposal (field strategies, sampling).

Week 4
Theme: Archaeology within Spatial Planning
Subjects: In many countries, archaeology is part of spatial planning and/or landscape design; ‘archaeology’ beyond your excavation pit.

Week 5
Theme: Site management
Subjects: Site management, protection and monitoring; sustainable preservation and its long-term consequences.

Week 6
Theme: Ethics in Archaeology
Subjects: Uniqueness: ‘who owns the past’? and rights of local and indigenous peoples; archaeology of conflicts (Word War II-archaeology); what do we tell the public?

Week 7
Theme: Societal challenges – The Past Matters
Subjects: Knowledge utilisation; Sustainable Development Goals; contribution to societal discussions about e.g. climate change, nature development; why does the past matter?

Course objectives

  • Ability to define the field of applied archaeology in a global perspective;

  • Ability to apply the methods and techniques of the Leiden/Saxion-school of field and heritage archaeology;

  • Ability to formulate a research proposal, to translate this into a workable research approach and the ability to execute this (in a professional context);

  • Awareness of the different discussions and innovations within archaeology and heritage (including technological developments and innovations) and the ability to apply them;

  • Awareness of ethical issues of archaeological research and heritage management (in present-day societies);

  • Insight in the possibilities and opportunities of public archaeology;

  • Insight in the societal context of (applied) archaeology (legislation, spatial planning, spatial integration of archaeological sites, (project) management, policy, conservation monitoring of sites) and the ability to reflect on the long-term consequences;

  • Ability to formulate a properly argumented opinion on 1) the social value/benefit of archaeology in general, 2) why we excavate and 3) current societal issues;

  • Ability to relate the different disciplines and aspects of contemporary archaeology.


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

Format: 2 x 2 hours per week (with 2 days in between).
The first class of the week consists of a formal lecture. In the second class of the week an assignment will be discussed (e.g. by presentation, paper, discussion, etc.).

Course load

  • 7 x 2 hours of lectures (1 ec);

  • 7 x 2 hours tutorials (1 ec);

  • 7 group assignments presented during tutorial (1.5 ec);

  • 210 pages of literature (1.5 ec).

Assessment method

  • A pass for the first assignment. The grade is based on the next 6 weekly group assignments (6 x 16,6% = 100%).

A retake of an assignment is not possible, a fail for an assignment can be compensated by other assignments.

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 weekly assignments have strict deadlines and are made in small groups.

Reading list

To be announced on Brightspace, in the study manual.


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.


For more information about this course, please contact dr. R. (Richard) Jansen.


Compulsory attendance.