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Advanced Current Issues in the Archaeology of the Americas


Admission requirements

  • Bachelor's degree in Archaeology, or equivalent;

  • Admission to the Research Master Archaeology programme.


Following an introductory class, 6 interrelated aspects of currently emerging work in the archaeology of the Americas will be reviewed over 6 classes. In line with the aims of this course, the readings are almost entirely different from last year’s rendition.

The themes for the academic year 2021-2022 will broach studies and debates on the subjects of location, equity, transience, and disruption, and include work published in majority in the last 5 years.
As we will see, these subjects are components of a significant amount of archaeological writing, spanning North, Middle and South America that will give shape to future forms of archaeology, both focused on precolonial, colonial and contemporary contexts.

Central to the course are (up to) 2-hour seminar sessions to actively discuss weekly readings. Students will take the lead on such discussions, probably in teams, depending on the final number of participants.
Aims include improved critical understanding, rather than comprehensive coverage, and also to open up forward-looking constructive awareness.

Course set-up

Weekly classes of 2 hours each. Classes will include lecturing, plenary topical discussions, and student presentations.

Course objectives

  • Advanced knowledge of and insight in key developments of archaeology in the Americas, and the ability to apply these in a broader discipline-transcending setting or multidisciplinary contexts;

  • Advanced knowledge of comparative potential of Americanist archaeology from a global archaeology perspective, and the ability to apply these materials through critical ability and originality to RMA thesis research;

  • Ability to historically situate key debates in Americanist archaeology and the ability to independently place and draw on such scholarly contexts in the aims and interpretation of RMA thesis research;

  • Ability to mobilise knowledge in reasoned oral contributions to a standard suitable to an academic audience of specialists and peers;

  • Ability to write a fluent and critical essay surrounding an archaeological body of literature, culminating in a substantiated, original and focused position, including recommendations for further research.


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


Course load

  • 7 x 2 hours of tutorial discussion and lecturing (14 hours) (1 ec);

  • 6 x 3 hours of tutorial preparation and discussion (18 hours) (0.5 ec);

  • Ca. 350 pages of literature (70 hours) (2.5 ec);

  • Final essay (

Assessment method

  • Written essay (60%);

  • Participation and input during classes (40%).

The course will be accompanied by one summative question-based essay assignment. Each topic discussed during the course will represented by a 1 question that I will present you with around the midway point of the course. You are free to select any one of these questions to base your essay on.
The essay will be returned providing full feedback on narrative style, structure, argument development, clarity of language and approach to the question.

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.

Reading list

The reading list, consisting of articles and book chapters, will be made available on Brightspace.


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. A. (Alex) Geurds.


Compulsory attendance.