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The Biography of the Landscape: Unravelling the Deep Histories of Landscapes and Heritage Sites


Admission requirements

  • Introduction to Heritage Studies obtained;

  • This is a seminar with a limited amount of participants (max. 20 students), and is meant 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.


This course provides a methodological framework for studying the long-term development of historic landscapes with prominent archaeological sites, such as prehistoric monuments, classical cities or buildings, and ancient field systems.

You will learn how to approach landscapes from an integral archaeological, geographical and historical perspective, how to find, use and combine different data and sources of information (such as archaeological and cartographic data, archival material) and how to apply “landscape biography” as a concept and tool in your own archaeological or heritage research.

There is no geographical limitation: everyone with an interest in the archaeology and landscape history of Europe, the Americas, Asia or Africa (or any other region of the world) is invited to join the course.

After introducing and illustrating the methodological framework of landscape biography, we will do some practical fieldwork to get familiar with the topic and approach. Then you will start with your own project, resulting in an essay, for which you select a case study (an archaeological site, historic landscape or heritage site) in order to develop skills in reconstructing the long-term history of places and landscapes, using a variety of archaeological and non-archaeological (historical) sources.
The course is designed for students with an interest in landscape archaeology and heritage management.

Course set-up

Weekly 4-hour seminars/practicals.

Course objectives

Ability to:

  • Understand and apply interdisciplinary approaches, in particular landscape biography, to the study of landscapes with archaeological sites and monuments;

  • Combine different datasets and sources of information;

  • Analyse and discuss a scientific paper on the topic;

  • To reconstruct the long-term history of a particular landscape or site;

  • To write an essay about this landscape or site for an interdisciplinary audience.


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

  • Introductory seminars;

  • Practicals (site visit);

  • Assignments.

Course load

  • 24 hours of lectures and practicals (1 ec);

  • 200 pages of literature (1,5 ec);

  • Portfolio of assignments (2,5 ec).

Assessment method

  • Written assigments (30%);

  • Presentation(s) (20%);

  • Final essay (50%).

Compensation is possible in accordance with regulations (Onderwijs- en Examen Reglement / Course and Examination Regulations).

The retake consists of improving the portfolio to the ‘pass’ level and/or a new essay.

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.

Deadlines for assignments are included in the course syllabus.

Reading list

The reading list will be 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.

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 prof. dr. J.C.A. (Jan) Kolen.


Compulsory attendance.