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Current issues in the archaeology of the frontier regions of the Roman Empire


Compulsory attendance


Admission requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree obtained;

  • Basic familiarity with provincial Roman archaeology. If in doubt, please contact the lecturers (see below).


The Roman conquest ushered in major changes in society, technology and organisational complexity as well as altering the nature of people’s relationship with material culture. In this course we examine the life cycle of artefacts, ranging from extraction to final discard.
In the northern provinces in particular the conquest introduces massive changes in material culture, reflecting not only the increasing demands of the military apparatus, but also changing attitudes to possessions, their use and their disposal on the part of the local population. We will explore the impact of technology and expanding horizons, the role of consumers in the distribution of goods and the underlying continuity of religious practices in the final discard of particular artefacts. Topics chosen will relate to ongoing departmental research, both national and international.
Debate in the provincial Roman community as expressed in the annual Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference and its publications informs the theoretical background to this programme.

Course objectives

  • Understanding of the complexity of Roman materiality in North-Western Europe and beyond;

  • Familiarity with significant sites and materials;

  • Acquaintance with the recent theoretical debate;

  • Writing skills.

Ects distribution

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • Lectures and feedback (1 ects);

  • 360 pages of literature (2,5 ects);

  • Essay and assignments, 3,000 words in total (1,5 ects).


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

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

  • Participation (10%);

  • Assignments (30%);

  • Final essay (60%).

Assessment deadline

The assignments have weekly deadlines.

All assessment deadlines (exams, retakes, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in the examination schedule.

Reading list

The reading list will be posted on Blackboard.


Register for this course via 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.

Contractonderwijs: 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).

Contact information

For more information about this course, please contact mw. dr. C. van Driel-Murray.