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Byzantine archaeology



This course will explore various aspects of the transformation of Late Antiquity into Byzantium (ca. 300-900 AD) based on archaeological evidence.
How did the Late Roman world survive in the East? And what was ‘Byzantium’?

There will be a focus on the transformation of both towns and countryside, from the empire’s new capital Constantinople to rural settlements in Jordan, Syria and the Mediterranean.
Apart from famous buildings and landmarks such as the Hippodrome and the Hagia Sophia in modern Istanbul, attention will be paid to trade and economy, belief systems and everyday life conditions.
Furthermore, the rise of new religions (Christianity and Islam) will be treated, as well as their impact on the cultural transformation and interaction of people in the Near East and the Mediterranean, based on archaeological evidence.

Course objectives

  • Primary knowledge about the political, religious and cultural changes that took place in the Near East and in the Mediterranean between 300-900 AD;

  • Ability to discuss key archaeological data on which these reconstructions are based;

  • Ability to critically reflect on both data and their interpretations in discussions and in writing.


Course schedule details can be found in the bachelor 3 time schedule.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures;

  • Short presentations by students.

Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 7×2 hours of lectures (1 ects);

  • 280 pages of literature (2 ects).

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

Assessment method

  • Presentation (40%);

  • Active participation in class discussions (based on assigned literature) (10%);

  • Final essay (3,000-4,000 words) (50%).

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

Reading list

The reading list will be published on BlackBoard 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.

Contact information

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


Compulsory attendance.