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Advanced Studies in Neolithisation in the Near East


Admission requirements

Admission to the RMA Archaeology programme, with focus area Town and Country in the Mediterranean and the Near East.


The Neolithic (ca. 10,000-5,300 BC) is one of the most crucial periods in the history of the Near East, associated with major social, economic and material innovations and important changes in the archaeological record.
It is also a period that has emerged as a major research topic over the past two decades.

In this course we will study the current archaeological views on this period of early village formation. Attention will be given to:

  • Epipalaeolithic forager communities;

  • Neolithic origins;

  • Neolithic expansion and food production;

  • Transitions and transformations;

  • Pots-and-people associations in the late Neolithic;

  • Regional mega-centres;

  • Pastoralism and mobility;

  • Neolithic monuments and ritual;

  • Neolithic administration and (in)equality;

  • Burial practices in the Neolithic.

This course in open to both MA and RMA students. However, they will have different assignments.

Set-up of the course:
Lectures, presentations by students, class discussions of presentations and literature.

Course objectives

  • Detailed knowledge of cultural developments in the Neolithic Near East, on the basis of the assigned literature, lectures, assignments and discussions;

  • Detailed knowledge of the current literature, current debates and the archaeological approaches in it;

  • Ability to critically assess current research and assigned literature and voice one’s well-argued opinion;

  • Ability to choose a research topic, find relevant literature, apply current views to one’s own research topic and present this via a PowerPoint presentation, and ability to handle a stimulating discussion afterwards;

  • Ability to critically assess the various presentations;

  • Ability to write a balanced and critical essay on one’s research topic, with expression of a critical, in-depth assessment of the literature and one’s own well-argued opinion, making use of the feedback received with the presentation;

  • Ability to formulate new avenues of research.


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

Mode of instruction

Following the introductory lecture there will be individual assignments dealing with specific research questions and research items concerning the Neolithic Near East. The topics of research will be addressed in the form of student class presentations, reading of books/articles, and a subsequent essay (1,800 words).

Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 7×2 hours of lectures (1 ec);

  • 280 pages of literature (1 ec);

  • Small assignments and 1 presentation (1 ec);

  • Essay of 1,800 words (2 ec).

Assessment method

  • Student class presentation (20%);

  • Weekly assignments (20%);

  • Final essay (60%).

For RMA-students the final essay will be required to offer a more critical, in-depth discussion of the theme selected, and they should be able to formulate new avenues for research.

Prior to each class students read literature and provide a summary with discussion points. These must be submitted the day before class.

All essays, including the final essay, must be submitted through Turnitin. The final essay also has to be submitted in print.

A retake is only possible for the final essay, and only when all requirements, including attendance, have been met.

The deadlines for the weekly assignments will be announced on BlackBoard, for the final essay see the RMA and RMSc examination schedule.

Reading list

The reading list will be provided prior to the beginning of the course.


Registration via uSis is mandatory.

  • The Administration Office will register all BA1 students for their tutorials (not lectures; register via uSis!).

  • BA2, BA3, MA/MSc and RMA/RMSc students are required to register for all lectures and tutorials well in time.

  • The Administration Office registers all students for their exams, students are not required to do this in uSis.


For more information about this course, please contact prof. dr. P.M.M.G. (Peter) Akkermans.


Compulsory attendance.