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World archaeology 2



The lecture series World archaeology gives a chronological overview of the general development of man and society from early man to complex societies. The book The Human Past is used throughout the course. From this broad basis, accents are applied in the lectures from the Leiden study programme.

World Archaeology 2 studies the Americas.
Attention is devoted to themes such as: the first people in the Americas, developments around the transition Pleistocene-Holocene, developments towards domestication, sedentism, city states and urbanisation, growing complexity and the arrival of the Europeans.

In their lectures, the various lecturers explain the outlines of the different themes, largely related to the tropical lowlands of South America, the Caribbean islands, the Andes, Mexico and Central America. They will also involve research at the Faculty of Archaeology, where it relates to the various themes.

Study skills will be developed by means of BlackBoard assignments which will be discussed in groups and during the weekly tutorials, under supervision of education assistants.

Course objectives

  • Knowledge of the chronological and geographic framework of the main periods and their cultural manifestations in North and South America and the Caribbean, as addressed in the lectures and in the book;

  • General knowledge of and insight into technological, social and cultural developments in time per region (in burial rituals, settlements, economic developments, social organisation);

  • Knowledge of current Faculty of Archaeology research within these themes;

  • Ability to study independently.


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

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures;

  • Tutorial with BlackBoard assignments, with exercises concerning the material studied in class. The tutorial can yield a bonus point.

Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 7×2 hours of lectures;

  • 7 case studies (presentations with questions and discussion);

  • 7 tutorials;

  • 200 pages of literature.

Assessment method

Written exam with multiple choice questions.

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

Reading list

  • C. Scarre (ed.), The Human Past. World Prehistory and the Development of Human Societies. 3rd edition (2013);

  • Articles on BlackBoard.


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

Registration ‘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).


For more information about this course, please contact mw. dr. J.A. Mol.


  • Compulsory attendance.

  • This course has two versions: one taught in Dutch, the other taught in English.