Prospectus

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Archaeology: Archaeology and Anthropology of the Americas

This MA specialisation offers 2 foci, see the tabs below:

  • Mesoamerica and the Andes
  • Caribbean and Amazonia

Caribbean and Amazonia

In Leiden, the interest in the Native American world goes back to the geographer-linguist-historian Johannes de Laet, who worked with the West Indian Company in the 17th century.
At present, research continues to be very much interdisciplinary. An intensive and broad programme of archaeological excavations, surveys and artefact analysis takes place in the Caribbean (e.g. Saba, St. Eustatius, Curaçao, Guadeloupe, the Dominican Republic, St. Vincent and other islands), with a thematic focus on settlement archaeology, human mobility and the exchange of goods and ideas, as well as on shamanic practices and funerary rituals.

The multidisciplinary perspective includes archaeology, biological anthropology, archaeometry, physical anthropology, ethnohistory and ethnoarchaeology, and involves modern and novel scientific techniques, as well as the documentation and analysis of contemporary material culture and worldview in the Circum-Caribbean and Amazonian region.

Staff: prof. dr. Corinne Hofman, dr. A.T. Antczak, mw. dr. M.M. Antczak.

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

General part

Methods and theory 5
Fieldwork / Internship 5
Master thesis archaeology 20
Master thesis tutorial 0

Focus 1: Caribbean and Amazonia

Mobility and exchange in the circum-Caribbean 5
Indigenous heritage of the Caribbean 5

Focus 2

Focus 2 10

Electives

Elective courses 10

Mesoamerica and the Andes

The ancient civilisations of Mexico and Central America on the one hand, and of Ecuador-Peru-Bolivia on the other hand, have left an impressive heritage of monuments, visual art and written texts, as well as colourful customs and oral traditions.
This focus revolves around the religious worldview, rituals and symbolism, as well as on the historical development and social organisation of the early states in these regions.

The analysis of archaeological data is not only connected to the study of colonial chronicles and archival documents, but also enriched with ethnographic fieldwork to document the endangered heritage of indigenous cultural traditions and oral literature.
Special areas of expertise and ongoing research projects are:
1) the decipherment of ancient Mexican historical and religious pictorial manuscripts and related visual art
2) the archaeology and ethnography of the Mixtec people in Southern Mexico
3) the documentation and analysis of surviving ancient calendars and ceremonial language in Mexico and Guatemala
4) field archaeology in Nicaragua
5) the interpretation of Quechua literature and the oral tradition in Peru.

Staff: prof. dr. Maarten Jansen, dr. Araceli Rojas.

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

General part

Methods and theory 5
Fieldwork / Internship 5
Master thesis archaeology 20
Master thesis tutorial 0

Focus 1: Mesoamerica and the Andes

Worldview and ritual 1 5
Research in Mesoamerica and the Andes 1 5

Focus 2

Focus 2 10

Electives

Elective courses 10