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Ethnoarchaeology of the circum-Caribbean and Amazonia


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.


Ethnoarchaeology, the study of present-day practices in order to tackle archaeological questions, is the methodological tool that permits us to make a connection between living and ancient cultures.
The ancient Amerindian cultures did not disappear after the European colonisation of the 16th century. Some cultural elements were lost, others were transformed as a result of newly introduced ideas, but in several geographical regions many ancient traditions and techniques persist until today.
This cultural continuity in combination with the study of historical documents offers an exceptional opportunity for archaeologists to develop a diachronic perspective on cultural development and strengthen their interpretive abilities.
In this course we will discuss ethnoarchaeological theory, methodology and relate these to case studies, focusing on the circum-Caribbean/Amazonian region.

Course objectives

  • Knowledge of and insight in analogical reasoning and the issues, the pros and cons concerning ethnoarchaeology;

  • Ability to connect archaeological, historic and ethnographic data for the analysis of current issues in the Caribbean/Amazonian region;

  • Broaden the field of archaeological expertise to include the analysis of historical documents and ethnographic observations;

  • Ability to combine different sources of information for answering issues discussed in the lectures and/or literature.

Ects distribution

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 7×2 hours of lectures;

  • 280 pages of literature;

  • Assignments;

  • Presentation;

  • Paper.


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

Mode of instruction

Lecture course with active participation.

Assessment method

  • Active participation in class discussions;

  • Short written assignments, to be posted on Blackboard;

  • PowerPoint or poster presentation;

  • Paper (max. 5,000 words).

Assessment deadline

The final paper is due 1 week after the last class meeting.

Reading list

To be announced.


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

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

Contact information

For more information about this course, please contact mw dr C.L. Hofman.