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Advanced Archaeology of the Crusades


Admission requirements

  • Admission to the Research Master Archaeology programme;

  • BA degree in Archaeology, preferably with a focus on Near Eastern/Mediterranean Archaeology or Medieval Archaeology.


This course will explore various aspects of the manifestation of the Crusades in the Mediterranean and in the Near East: ranging from the conquest of Sicily and southern Italy by the Normans (1000-1130 C.E.) to the fall of Akko in the Holy Land (1291 C.E.).
The aim is to address how we can study the Crusades from an archaeological perspective, and what the archaeological data can tell us about the nature of these events.

We will discuss some specific archaeological case studies, among which the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, Cyprus and Greece. You will be expected to read the relevant literature weekly and take an active part during the course, both in class presentations, discussions and in the writing of short summaries each week.

RMA-students participate in the same sessions as the MA-students, but their assignments will be different.
Each RMA-student will be asked to organise, lead and review one session discussion. Furthermore, they will write a different type of final essay, in which one theme from the course is studied in more depth, and new directions for research are being formulated. RMA-students are thus expected to develop their arguments within a wider comparative and theoretical framework.

Course objectives

  • The main objective of this course is to examine the political, religious and cultural changes that took place in the Near East and in the Mediterranean between 1000-1500 C.E.;

  • Students will gain knowledge of the key developments in the archaeology of the Crusades;

  • Students will learn to evaluate what archaeology can add to studies of the Crusades;

  • Students will learn to critically compare weaknesses and strengths of the presented literature;

  • Students will be able to present a clear oral report, of such a quality that it is fit for a public of international specialists and peers;

  • Students will be able to organise, lead and review theme discussions;

  • Students will be able to formulate new directions of research for their chosen theme and develop their arguments within a wider comparative and theoretical framework.


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

Mode of instruction

The course starts with an introduction by the lecturer. The successive meetings will include a short presentation by students on themes which will be explored during the seminar.
Students will be asked to read the relevant literature prior to each meeting, and submit weekly short summaries one day before class.

In the first part of the meeting the (guest) lecturer will present further background to the theme of the class. Subsequently students will give short presentations, followed by a group discussion.

Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 7 x 2 hours of lectures (1 ec);

  • Assignments and presentation (2 ec);

  • Essay (2 ec).

Assessment method

  • Active participation in the class discussions, reading of assigned literature and submission of short summaries (10%);

  • Organisation and review of theme discussions & quality of presentation (40%);

  • Quality of final essay of 3,000 words, showing new directions of research (50%).

All essays must be submitted through Turnitin/SafeAssign, and only on-time Turnitin/SafeAssign submissions count.
A retake is only possible for the final essay and is only allowed if all other requirements have been met and a serious and complete first final essay has been submitted. A retake consists of a single longer essay (4,000 words) on a topic of the course, to be chosen by the course coordinator, which needs to be written in two weeks’ time.

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

Reading list

The reading list will be distributed via BlackBoard, 2 weeks prior to the first meeting.


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. J.A.C. (Joanita) Vroom.


Compulsory attendance.