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Neolithisation in the Near East


Compulsory attendance


Admission requirements

BA-degree in Archaeology (or a relevant discipline) obtained.


The Neolithic (ca. 10,000-5,300 BC) is one of the most crucial periods in the history of the Near East, associated with major social, economic and material innovations and important changes in the archaeological record. In this course we will study the current archaeological views on this period of early village formation.

Attention will be given to: Epipalaeolithic forager communities; Neolithic origins; Neolithic expansion and food production; transitions and transformations; pots-and-people associations in the late Neolithic; regional mega-centres; pastoralism and mobility; Neolithic monuments and ritual; Neolithic administration and (in)equality; and burial practices in the Neolithic.


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Course objectives

  • Detailed knowledge of cultural developments in the Neolithic Near East mentioned above, on the basis of the assigned literature, lectures, assignments and discussions;

  • Detailed knowledge of the current literature, current debates and the archaeological approaches in it;

  • Ability to critically assess current research and assigned literature and voice one’s well-argumented opinion;

  • Ability to choose a research topic, find relevant literature, apply current views on one’s own research topic and present this via a PowerPoint presentation and ability to handle a stimulating discussion afterwards;

  • Ability to critically assess the various presentations;

  • Ability to write a balanced and critical essay on one’s research topic, with expression of a critical assessment of the literature and one’s own well-argumented opinion, making use of the feedback received with the presentation.

Ects distribution

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 7 lectures (1 ects);

  • 280 pages of literature (2 ects);

  • Essay, 3,000 words (2 ects).


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

Mode of instruction

Following the introductory lecture there will be individual assignments dealing with specific research questions and research items concerning the Neolithic Near East. The topics of research will be dealt with in the form of student class presentations, reading of books/articles, and a subsequent essay (3,000 words).

Assessment method

  • Active participation in class discussions;

  • Quality of the student class presentation;

  • Reading of assigned literature;

  • Quality of the essay.

Assessment deadline

The essay is due two weeks after the last meeting.

Reading list

The reading list will be given to participating students prior to the beginning of the course.


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 prof. dr P.M.M.G. Akkermans.