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Archaeological methods and techniques



This is an introduction to the methods and techniques of archaeological field research and dating methods. During the course, the following subjects will be addressed: artefacts, archaeological traces, formation processes, archaeological preparatory research, field exploration techniques, geophysical and geochemical prospection methods, excavation techniques, registration of traces and finds, archaeological dating methodology and an introduction to the use of databases (MS-Acces) in archaeological (field) research.

An excavation site will also be visited, where students will see the techniques learned in practice. A short practical session will also take place in January, in which the use of a database will be practised.

Course objectives

The course has an exploratory character and aims to provide students with a basic knowledge. At the end, students must be familiar with prospection methods, excavation techniques and dating methodology and databases.


Course schedule details can be found in the propedeuse/first year time schedule.

Mode of instruction


Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 10×2 hours lecture;

  • 180 pages literature;

  • Essay of around 1000 words;

  • Day excursion + excursion report;

  • 16 hours of practical.

Assessment method

All the units must be completed and the final grade will be allocated as follows:

  • Written exam;

  • Essay (grade counts for 20% in the exam and may be compensated);

  • Excursion report (25% of the final grade);

  • All practical assignments completed.
    Note: the total grade of the exam and the excursion report must be a pass.

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

Reading list

C. Renfrew & P. Bahn, Archaeology: Methods, Theories and Practice. 6th edition (2012), part 1, pag. 1-166.


Registration for the course is not necessary, registration for the exam is mandatory. For instructions, see the Registration in uSis page.


For more information about this course, please contact drs. J. de Bruin.


Attendance of the lectures is not compulsory, but the practical sessions and the excursion are.