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Current Issues in the Archaeology of the Frontier Regions of the Roman Empire


Admission requirements

  • Admission to the Master Archaeology programme, or equivalent;

  • Preferably BA2-course The Roman Frontier obtained, or else basic knowledge of provincial Roman archaeology. If in doubt, please contact the lecturer (see ‘Contact’ below).


The Roman conquest ushered in major changes in society, technology and organisational complexity, also altering the nature of people’s relationship with landscapes and material culture.

This course deals with issues related to two regions on the fringes of the Roman empire. On the one side the wetland frontiers of the Roman province Germania Inferior are addressed, and on the other hand the desert frontier and landscapes of the Roman province Arabia.

Classes will predominantly focus on aspects related to water, and its effects on inter alia logistics, trade, the military, subsistence strategies and ritual practices.
During these classes it will become clear that we can observe quite some contrasts and dichotomies between the considered regions, but that there are also some remarkable similarities and analogies.

Course set-up

Lectures and tutorials, ending with discussion.
You will be given specific literature to read before each class. This will be used to formulate relevant questions. The questions will be used for the discussion during and at the end of each class/tutorial.

Students will form pairs and together they will choose a subject for the final assignment, each submitting a chapter under their own name. Together they will also present the preliminary results of this during class.

Course objectives

After completing this course, the student:

  • Will understand the complexity of the socio-cultural and econo-technical transitions that took place in the waterscapes of Roman North-Western Europe and the desertscapes of Roman Arabia;

  • Will be familiar with the significant landscapes, sites and material culture;

  • Will be acquainted with the recent theoretical debate;

  • Will be able to present the acquired knowledge orally and in writing;

  • Will be able to participate in and stimulate an academic discussion.


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

  • Lectures/tutorials;

  • Student presentations.

Assessment method

  • Weekly assignments - compulsory (15%);

  • Presentation and interactivity (25%);

  • Final team essay (60%).

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.

The submission of the final essay will take place two weeks after the end of the course.

Reading list

The reading list will be posted on Brightspace.


For lectures, tutorials, and exams, enrolment through MyStudymap is mandatory.
You are also required to confirm your exam in MyStudymap. No confirmation = no participation!

General information about registration can be found on the Course and Exam Enrolment page.

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study Abroad/Exchange website for information on how to apply.

All information (costs, registration, entry requirements, etc.) 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 dr. ir. M.J. (Mark) Driessen.


Compulsory attendance.