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Landscape Archaeology Projects


Admission requirements

World Archaeology 1, World Archaeology 2, World Archaeology 3, Landscape Dynamics 1 and Landscape Dynamics 2 obtained.


Our contemporary landscapes have a deep history of holding visible and non-visible relics of human activities. The understanding of past landscapes in archaeology is a challenge, both from a theoretical and a methodological perspective. What exactly does the term 'landscape' mean throughout history? How do we go about exploring landscapes? And how do we show the value of historical landscapes to a larger audience?

The main goal of this course is to learn how to gain knowledge of landscapes through archaeological research, by integrating theoretical exploration and practical implementation. Students design a written scheme of investigation (WSI) for a (simplified) practical situation of a landscape archaeology project.

A series of formal (theoretical) lectures about various kinds of research projects of landscapes from different periods and/or regions will introduce you to various methods and strategies to research a landscape. Practical issues are discussed, such as: what is the meaning of a dot on an archaeological distribution map? What is a ‘site’? Why is this research meaningful? And can landscape archaeology contribute to present discussions about the management and planning of our contemporary landscapes in general?

Through this course you gain insight in landscape archaeology and learn how to write a written scheme of investigation (i.e. a research proposal). This includes everything from the layman’s abstract to a budget and, importantly, the relevance of your research and how to communicate your results to 'the public' that finances your research. You are also expected to present this research plan in a short an engaging presentation. Original and unconventional methods are encouraged.

Course set-up

  • In the morning formal lectures will be given about a certain topic, a region or theme related to landscape archaeology;

  • In the afternoon you will work step-by-step on a research design for your own landscape project, supervised by a region specialist. With your team you tackle tasks such as how to organise and structure your project, and how to design a step-by-step research plan;

  • Research proposals are presented and discussed in class;

  • At the end of the course your team hands in a completed written scheme of investigation.

Course objectives

  • Knowledge of the main aspects and definitions in landscape archaeology;

  • Knowledge and applicability of the fundamental (theoretical) approaches within landscape archaeology;

  • Learn to design a research proposal for a chosen research area (a landscape) including a fieldwork strategy based on one's own research goal and questions, and within a limited budget;

  • Ability to translate and communicate scientific results to ‘the public’;

  • Ability to convincingly pitch a research plan to a critical audience;

  • Ability to formulate arguments orally and in writing;

  • Ability to work in a team.


Course schedule details can be found in the BA2 time schedule.

Mode of instruction

  • Formal and interactive lectures;

  • Practical sessions with assignments and autonomous study.

Course load

  • 20 hours of formal lectures (1 ec);

  • 28 hours of interactive practical and autonomous study (2 ec);

  • 180 pages of literature (1 ec);

  • Group assignment including presentation and paper (max. 1,800 words) (1 ec).

Assessment method

  • Group presentation (25%);

  • Research proposal/paper (75%).

The retake of the paper consists of rewriting the paper for which a maximum grade of 6,0 will be given.

All exam dates (exams, retakes, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in the BA2 examination schedule.
Deadlines for assignments are included in the course syllabus. Presentations will be scheduled during the last weeks of the course and are dependent on the number of groups.

Reading list

Literature differs per project. Students can choose projects in various regions (e.g. the Netherlands, Italy, Hungary, the Near East or the Americas). The projects are different each year.


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. M.H.G. (Maikel) Kuijpers.


  • Compulsory attendance;

  • In case of absence your team decides whether a full grade is taken off from the absentee, or half a grade from the entire team.