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


Admission requirements

  • Introduction to Heritage Studies 1 obtained;

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


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.

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.


Enrolment for all components of your study programme through MyStudymap. is mandatory. This applies to both compulsory elements and elective credits. If you are not enrolled, you may not participate.

General information about registration can be found on the Course and exam enrolment page.

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please contact the exchange coordinator for information on how to apply.

All information for those who are interested in taking this course as a Contractstudent is on the Contractonderwijs Archeologie webpage (in Dutch).


For more information about this course, please contact prof. dr. J.C.A. (Jan) Kolen.


Compulsory attendance.