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The Roman Frontier


Admission requirements

  • World Archaeology 2.2 obtained;

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

  • BA3 students who want to take this course: please contact the Administration Office. You can only be admitted if there are spots left, BA2 students will have priority.


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 frameworks and networks.

Course set-up

In the morning a topic and the overarching theme or theoretical concept will be discussed. In the afternoon 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 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.


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).

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 two or three papers to read. The reading list will be distributed two weeks prior to the start of the course.


Registration start dates for the BA2 seminars differ from the registration dates of the regular courses.

Registration will take place with the use of forms. These will be e-mailed by the study advisers to all BA2 students and pre-master students at the beginning of October 2023.

The Administration Office will register all Archaeology BA2 students in uSis for their seminar exams. However, confirmation of these exams in MyStudymap is mandatory. No confirmation = no participation!


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


Compulsory attendance.