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The Roman Frontier


Admission requirements

  • Bachelor Archaeology first year obtained;

  • This is a seminar with a limited amount of participants (25 students), for Archaeology students exclusively.


From the last centuries before our era, patterns of connectivity can be observed across the Eurasian world, in which the Roman Empire fulfilled a pivotal role. Especially the frontier regions of this expanding Eurasian state are intriguing territories to study aspects of interconnection and interaction.
While many prehistoric practices were persistent throughout North-Western Europe especially, a whole series of changes occurred, coining the Roman period as a time of transitions.

This course focuses on central debates in Roman Archaeology: how and why did the Roman Empire extend into North-Western Europe specifically, what were the interactions between the Empire and local communities, and how did this end?

During the course you will engage in discussions about the major developments, theoretical concepts such as globalisation, power and identity, and learn to relate them to different aspects of Roman material culture and/or sites from the Netherlands specifically.
Debates on experiencing and exchanging, protecting and preserving these, plus community involvement will be part of this course as well.

However, the main goal of the course is to get an overview of the Roman period – including related material culture - of North-Western Europe, and to be able to place it in larger frame- and networks.

Course set-up

In the morning a topic and the overarching theme or theoretical concept will be discussed. In the afternoon you will handle material culture and/or heritage perspectives related to the theme or period, make assignments based on the topic of that morning, or work on a subject that is discussed during a guest lecture. We will also make – if situation allows – excursions to several sites.

Course objectives

  • Insight into the chronology and main types of material culture groups of the Roman period in North-Western Europe;

  • Insight into some of the major developments, key issues and debates for the North-Western Roman frontier regions;

  • Ability to summarise and reflect on specialist literature;

  • Ability to work in a team on practicals: Roman Period Ceramics plus Roman Numismatics (for students in the World Archaeology track);

  • Knowledge of and insight into the concept of globalisation and the debate on historicising globalisation (for students in the Heritage & Society track).


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

Mode of instruction

Seminar with active learning (in the mornings) and practical sessions in groups by means of assignments (in the afternoons).

Course load

  • 24 hours of lectures (1 ec);

  • 12 hours of tutorial sessions (1 ec);

  • 12 hours of practical sessions (1 ec);

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

Assessment method

  • Weekly assignments - compulsory (25%);

  • Roman Ceramics practicals assignment or extra assignment Heritage & Society-track students – compulsory (25%);

  • Final essay (50%).

All exam dates (exams, retakes, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in the BA2 examination schedule.

Reading list

Per meeting there will be 2 - 3 papers to read. The reading list will be distributed 2 weeks prior to the start of the course. Make sure you are registered for this course's 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. ir. M.J. (Mark) Driessen.


Compulsory attendance.