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Dutch Prehistory in a European Context


Admission requirements

  • Bachelor Archaeology first year obtained;

  • This is a seminar with a limited amount of participants (20 students), for Archaeology students exclusively.


What can the Prehistory of the Netherlands contribute to fundamental debates in European archaeology, and how does our material relate to some of the major developments in European Prehistory? How does the find of, for example, a single Neolithic burial or an Iron Age well contribute to our understanding of broad developments across the continent?

During the course you will discuss the major developments – such as the adoption of farming, ritual landscapes, exchange networks and identity – and will learn to relate them to material discovered in the Netherlands.
At the same time you will become familiar with the most commonly found archaeological find categories in Dutch Prehistory, and you will be able to place them in a chronological framework during the practical sessions.

The main goal of the course is for you to get an overview of the Prehistory – including the related material culture - of the Netherlands, and to be able to place your research within a larger European framework.

Course set-up

In the mornings we will discuss a topic and the overarching theme or period. In the afternoons students will work with material related to the theme or period and make assignments based on the topic of that morning.

Course objectives

  • Insight into the chronology, material and cultures of late Prehistory in North-Western Europe;

  • Insight into the major developments and the key issues and debates;

  • Ability to define and apply important theoretical concepts such as ritual, exchange, power and identity;

  • Knowledge of and the ability to distinguish and identify the main types of material culture ranging from the Neolithic until the Iron Age;

  • Knowledge and skills necessary for analysing, describing and drawing archaeological finds, especially flint and ceramics;

  • Ability to present one's results in front of the class;

  • 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

  • Seminar with active learning;

  • Practical sessions in groups of 2 or 3, with assignments.

Due to COVID-19 measures in place, and depending on developments in the situation, the mode of instruction may change before or during the course.

Course load

  • 14 hours of lectures (1 ec);

  • 28 hours of practical sessions (1 ec);

  • Ca. 300 pages of literature (2 ec);

  • Essay of ca. 1,800-2,000 words on a predefined topic (1 ec).

Assessment method

  • Group presentation (50%);

  • Essay (50%).

A retake is only possible for the essay, if the presentation is graded with a 5,0 or higher, and if all other requirements are met.

The retake of the essay 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.

Due to COVID-19 measures in place, and depending on developments in the situation, the assessment method may change before or during the course.

Reading list

Per meeting there will be one or two papers to read. The reading list will be distributed 2 weeks prior to the start of the class. Make sure you are registered for this Brightspace module in time.


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.

  • Start registration for the BA2 seminars:
    Series 1: 14 September 2020, 07:00 hrs
    Series 2: 11 January 2021, 07:00 hrs
    Series 3: 22 February 2021, 07:00 hrs

  • 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. Q.P.J. (Quentin) Bourgeois.


Compulsory attendance.