nl en

Current issues in Prehistoric research


Admission requirements

BA degree (or equivalent) in Archaeology or a relevant discipline.


Each week we will discuss current issues in prehistoric research which have recently been published in important peer-reviewed journals.
A group of 2 or 3 participants will present their view in class and place the article in a wider research context, while the rest of the group will write a review of the article. The assignment is to learn how to critically read and analyse such articles, and to find arguments pro and contra the position taken by the author.
Students learn to formulate a well argumented opinion both in writing and in discussion. Articles are deliberately chosen for their flaws or strong points, either theoretically, methodologically, or data-wise. It is the students’ task to recognise and discuss these aspects.

RMA-students who take this class are expected to discuss for each article the theoretical background of the authors and the assumptions that are a consequence of these models. They are expected to gain insight in how this affects the position the author takes in analysing and interpreting data.

This course is set up in alliance with the course Themes in European Prehistory. Whereas Current issues takes a critical, analytical, and deconstructive approach, Themes is thematic, practical, and constructive. Students are advised to follow both to get the most out of them.

Course objectives

  • Ability to critically assess current research (with respect to applicability and background);

  • Knowledge of and insight in interpretative approaches to data from the Neolithic to the Iron Age;

  • Ability to voice one’s properly argumented opinion on these topics;

  • Insight in the applicability of theoretical models on data;

  • Ability to formulate well-structured arguments orally, and in writing;

  • Ability to present one’s opinion in front of the class, formulate discussion questions, and facilitate the discussion in class.

For RMA-students, in addition to the above:

  • Ability to assess and evaluate different theories and how these affect archaeological reasoning;

  • Ability to report such reviews orally and in writing;

  • Ability to quickly combine and assess the opinions of others on prehistoric key themes.


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

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar with student presentations;

  • Discussion.

Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • Lectures (1 ects);

  • Assignments, including reading (3 ects);

  • Presentation (1 ects).

Assessment method

  • Written assignments (75%);

  • Presentation in class (25%).

  • Participation in discussio (bonus of 0,5/used to round up grade).

The assignments have strict weekly deadlines.

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

Reading list

Pdf’s accessible via the University Library.


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 dr. M.H.G. Kuijpers.