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Field school


Admission requirements

  • Practical field techniques completed successfully;

  • The student has taken the Field school introduction test (you are allowed to compensate a non-passing grade with good results from an internship report);

  • Students are only allowed to write a field school report if the individual practical tests, taken during the field school, have received a passing grade. In other words: it is not possible to pass the field school while lacking competence in the appropriate fieldwork techniques.


During the course Field school introduction the required background information for the field school will be dealt with. The final grade for both courses, Field school introduction and Field school, will be combined.

The practical consists of 2 weeks of fieldwork (3 ects) at a site in the vicinity of Leiden. During the fieldwork the exercises from Practical field techniques will be reviewed in a setting of actual fieldwork.
Training of fieldwork techniques, such as skimming the surface with a shovel blade (vlakschaven), half-sectioning features, employing the dumpy level, scale drawing of (top-)plans and half-sections, is on the job.
Student’s skills at employing the dumpy level, drawing plans and drawing sections will be assessed through practical tests in any event during the course of the fieldwork. Whether a fourth and fifth practical test will be scheduled, will depend entirely on the situation in the field.
Students are required to take notes during fieldwork for their daily field notes that will act as a supplement to their final field school report.

Course objectives

After completion of this course, the student will:

  • have mastered a set of practical archaeological fieldwork techniques on an elementary level and will be able to join the ‘sectioning team’ as an internship student at an excavation;

  • have knowledge of and insight into the specific archaeological digging methods and techniques and will know which one to use under which conditions;

  • have mastered the elementary skills of reading the soil for the signature of human activity and for geography;

  • have knowledge of the spatial planning of a site;

  • be capable of writing daily field notes in a business-like manner;

  • be capable of writing a well-structured and intelligible field school report in which the Technical Thesis Guidelines are applied.;

  • be capable of applying visual material in daily field notes and in the field school report in such a manner that it strengthens or clarifies the description.


The field school is scheduled for May and June. Students will be divided into 4 groups, the exact timetable will depend on your group. The group allocation will be posted on BlackBoard by 1 March 2016.

Mode of instruction


Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 2 weeks full-time fieldwork with associated daily field notes and final field school report (3 ects).

Assessment method

For the final grade both practical skills (55%) and written skills (45%) are taken into account.

Practical skills (55%):

  • Archaeological field skills: specifically taking into account dedication and motivation, archaeological insight and teamwork;

  • Practical tests. Please note that it is not possible to retake these tests.

Written skills (45%)

  • The grade of the daily field notes as handed in via BlackBoard;

  • The grade of the final field school report;

  • The results of the Field school introduction test.

Please note that both the archaeological skills and the practical archaeological tests (together 55%) AND the final field school report must receive a passing grade.
The deadline for the final field school report is 1 week after your last field day. The report must be handed in as both a hardcopy and via Blackboard.

Only if the practical results from the field school have received a passing grade, are you allowed to write the final field school report. This cannot be stressed enough: it is not possible to pass the field school while lacking competence in the appropriate fieldwork techniques.

The daily field notes, which will be graded separately, must be written from day one and submitted daily through Blackboard at 11 PM, unless announced otherwise during the Fieldschool.
The practical tests will take place during the Fieldwork, in both your first and second week. The specific dates will be announced during the Fieldschool.

Reading list

  • Reading Digging Deeper, edition 2015-2016;

  • Additional reading, depending on the location of the site.


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


For more information on this course, please contact mw. dr. R.M.R. van Oosten (education and allocation of students in groups) or drs. J. de Bruin (excavation and safety regulations).


Compulsory attendance.