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The archaeology of the Crusades: From Sicily to the Holy Land


Admission requirements

BA in Archaeology, preferably with a specialisation in Near Eastern/Mediterranean Archaeology or Medieval Archaeology.


This course will explore various aspects of the manifestation of the Crusades in the Mediterranean and in the Near East: ranging from the conquest of Sicily and southern Italy by the Normans (1000-1130) to the fall of Akko in the Holy Land (1291).
The aim is to address how we can study the Crusades from an archaeological perspective, and what the archaeological data can tell us about the nature of these events.

We will discuss some specific archaeological case studies, among which the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, Cyprus and Greece. Students will be expected to read the relevant literature weekly and take active part in the course, both in class presentations, discussions and in the writing of short summaries each week.

The course is open to RMA-students. Although participating in the same sessions, their assignments will be different. Each RMA-student will be asked to organise, lead and review one session discussion.
Furthermore, they will write a different type of final essay, in which one theme from the course is studied in more depth, and new directions for research are being formulated. RMA-students are thus expected to develop their arguments within a wider comparative and theoretical framework.

Course objectives

  • The main objective of this course is to examine the political, religious and cultural changes that took place in the Near East and in the Mediterranean between 1000-1500 C.E.;

  • Knowledge of the key developments in the archaeology of the Crusades;

  • Ability to evaluate what archaeology can add to studies of the Crusades;

  • Ability to critically compare weaknesses and strengths of the presented literature.


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

Mode of instruction

The course starts with an introduction by the lecturer. The successive meetings will include a short presentation by students on themes which will be explored during the seminar. Students will be asked to read the relevant literature prior to each meeting, and submit short weekly summaries one day before the next class.
In the first part of the meeting the (guest) lecturer will present further background to the theme of the class. Subsequently students will give short presentations, followed by a group discussion.
Finally, the students will submit an essay of ca. 3,000 words through Turnitin or SafeAssign on one of the themes addressed in the course.

Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 7×2 hours of lectures (1 ects);

  • 280 pages of literature and summaries (2 ects);

  • Final essay of 3,000 words (2 ects).

Assessment method

For MA students:

  • Active participation in the class discussions, reading of assigned literature and submission of short summaries each week (10%);

  • Quality of presentation (40%);

  • Quality of final essay of 3,000 words (50%).

For RMA-students:

  • Active participation in the class discussions, reading of assigned literature and submission of short summaries (10%);

  • Organisation and review of theme discussions & quality of presentation (40%);

  • Quality of final essay of 3,000 words, showing new directions of research (50%).

Essays are due 2 weeks after the last class. All essays must be submitted through Turnitin or SafeAssign, and only on-time Turnitin/SafeAssign submissions count.
If you fail the course, there is an opportunity for a retake. This will take place in the form of a single longer essay (4,000 words) on a topic of the course, to be chosen by the course coordinator, which needs to be written in 2 weeks time.

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

Reading list

The reading list will be distributed via BlackBoard 2 weeks prior to the first meeting.


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. J.A.C. Vroom.