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Current Issues in Digital Archaeology


Admission requirements

  • BA or BSc degree in Archaeology or a closely related discipline;

  • Admission to the MSc Archaeology programme Archaeological Science;

  • Knowledge about Field Techniques and Geographic Information Systems on a level corresponding to the Leiden BA courses on these topics.


This course covers selected sub-fields of Digital Archaeology that have gained importance in recent years, among them:

  • Remote sensing, geophysics and image analysis;

  • Network analysis;

  • Simulation modelling;

  • Data management and data mining;

  • Open software, open data and open science.

Through a mix of lectures, practical exercises and reading/writing assignments, we will study the theory and practice of these fields with a focus on current trends and challenges.
We will furthermore discuss the nature and future of Digital Archaeology within the wider discipline. You will be required to write an essay on this topic during the course. The essays will serve as a starting point for a group discussion during the final class.

Course objectives

To provide students with a thorough knowledge of current issues in Digital Archaeology and the role of digital data and computational tools within Archaeology. At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • give an overview of current trends in Digital Archaeology;

  • identify relevant data and tools for selected sub-fields of Digital Archaeology;

  • conduct practical exercises in selected sub-fields of Digital Archaeology and present them to their peers;

  • form an informed opinion on the nature and future of Digital Archaeology on a theoretical level, and present and substantiate it in writing as well as in a group discussion.


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

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures;

  • Practical exercises, partly in groups;

  • Plenary presentations and discussion;

  • Essay writing.

Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 14 hours of lectures (1 ec);

  • 14 hours of practical exercises (1 ec);

  • 280 pages of literature (2 ec);

  • Essay of 1,500-1,800 words (1 ec).

Assessment method

  • Presentations in class (50%);

  • Final essay (50%).

The final grade will be the average of the partial grades of the presentations and the final essay. Only the final essay can be retaken.

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

Reading list

  • Evans, T.L. and P. Daly (eds), 2005. Digital Archaeology: Bridging Method and Theory. London: Routledge;

  • Lock, G., 2003. Using Computers in Archaeology: Towards Virtual Pasts. London: Routledge.


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 dr. K. (Karsten) Lambers.


Compulsory attendance.