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Advanced current issues in the archaeology of the frontier regions of the Roman Empire


Admission requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree obtained;

  • Basic familiarity with provincial Roman archaeology. If in doubt, please contact the lecturer (see ‘Contact’ below).


The Roman conquest ushered in major changes in society, technology and organisational complexity as well as altering the nature of people’s relationship with material culture. In this course we examine the life cycle of artefacts, ranging from extraction to final discard.
In the northern provinces in particular the conquest introduces massive changes in material culture, reflecting not only the increasing demands of the military apparatus, but also changing attitudes to possessions, their use and their disposal on the part of the local population.

We will explore the impact of technology and expanding horizons, the role of consumers in the distribution of goods and the underlying continuity of religious practices in the final discard of particular artefacts. The case studies presented relate to ongoing departmental research, both national and international.
Debate in the provincial Roman community as expressed in the annual Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference and its publications forms the theoretical background to this programme.

This course is open to both MA and RMA-students, but their assessments are different. MA-students will do group assignments, whereas RMA-students will do their assignments individually.

Course objectives

After completing this course, the student:

  • will begin to understand the complexity of Roman materiality in North-Western Europe and beyond;

  • will be familiar with significant sites and materials;

  • will be acquainted with the recent theoretical debate;

  • has gained writing skills;

  • has gained presentation skills.


Course schedule details can be found in the RMA and RMSc time schedule.

Mode of instruction

Lectures, including student presentations.

Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 14×2 hours of lectures (2 ec);

  • Individual assignments (3 ec).

Assessment method

Assignment results.

A retake of the individual assignments is not possible, but the individual grades can be compensated.

The assignments have strict weekly deadlines, the last deadline being 1 week after the last class.

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

Reading list

The reading list will be posted on BlackBoard.


Registration for the course or the exam is not required.

Contact information

For more information about this course, please contact dr. ir. M.J. Driessen.


Compulsory attendance.