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Archaeology of the Crusades


Admission requirements

BA degree in Archaeology, preferably with a focus on Near Eastern Archaeology, Mediterranean Archaeology and/or (post-)Medieval Archaeology.


This course explores various aspects of the ‘crusading phenomenon’ in the Mediterranean and the Near East, ranging from the Norman conquest of Sicily and southern Italy (1000-1130 C.E.) to the fall of Akko in the Holy Land (1291 C.E.), as well as some later long-term developments.

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, and their impact on society.
Some specific archaeological case studies will be discussed, among which events in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, the island of Cyprus and the Aegean region.

Students 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.

Course objectives

  • The main objective is to examine the political, religious, socio-economic and cultural changes associated with the Crusades that took place in the East between ca. 1000-1500 C.E.;

  • Obtain knowledge of key issues in the archaeology of the Crusades;

  • Learn to evaluate critically what archaeology can add to studies of the Crusades;

  • Learn to critically compare weaknesses and strengths of the presented literature.


Course schedule details can be found in the MA and MSc 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 that will be explored during the seminar. Students will be asked to read the mandatory 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 general group discussion on the theme(s) presented.

Course load

  • 7 x 2 hours of lectures (1 ec);

  • Reading, weekly assignments and presentation (2 ec);

  • Final essay (2 ec).

Assessment method

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

  • Presentation (40%);

  • Final essay of 3,000 words (50%).

All essays must be submitted through Turnitin or Brightspace, and only on-time Turnitin/Brightspace 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 will consist 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 2 weeks.

All exam dates (exams, retakes, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in the MA and MSc examination schedule.
There will be feedback on the presentations a week after the last class.

Reading list

The reading list will be distributed via Brightspace, 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.