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Indigenous heritage in the Caribbean


Compulsory attendance


Admission requirements

Degree students (including Dutch BA graduates): BA degree (or equivalent) in Archaeology or a relevant discipline.
SAP and Exchange Students: BA degree. Admission only after formal application.


Indigenous heritage is a multidisciplinary masters course uniting archaeology, ethnography, and ethnolinguistics under the theme social complexity. Trajectories of cultural evolution are diverse, depending on unique blends of social, economic, and ideological factors. Given the variety of trajectories observed around the world, one might ask whether underlying processes of change can be identified. Historical contingency is crucial to address when accounting for change in any given trajectory. In doing so we may propose kinds of processual lines of evolution, depending on case-specific conditions across the Caribbean and the Guianas.
The archaeological part will address perspectives on the evolution of complex society, religion and political organisation in the pre-Columbian Caribbean. The ethnographic part will address social complexity from single villages to multi-village organisation and enmeshed multi-ethnic identities in the native cultures of the Guianas. The dialogue created between the pre-Columbian Caribbean and contemporary Guiana case-studies will be key to this course.
This course will be taught by visiting Fullbright scholar Dr Peter Siegel, and Dr. Eithne Carlin.

Course objectives

  • Developing a model(s) addressing trajectories of sociopolitical evolution across the Caribbean from 6,500 BC to AD 1,500;

  • Ability to address social complexity at multiscalar levels;

  • Ability to critically assess the combination of archaeological/ethnographic datasets;

  • Presentation and written skills.


Course schedule details can be found in the MA time schedule.

Mode of instruction

Lecture course with active participation.

Assessment method

  • Participation;

  • Presentation/paper.

Reading list

To be announced.


Register for this course via uSis.
Instructions for registration can be found in the uSis manual.

Contact information

For more information about this course, please contact mw dr A.V.M. Samson.