Prospectus

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Archaeology: Archaeology of Europe and Historical Archaeology

This MA specialisation offers 3 foci, see the tabs below:

  • Palaeolithic Archaeology
  • Prehistory of North-Western Europe
  • Roman Provinces, Middle Ages and Modern Period

Prehistory of North-Western Europe

Prehistory of North-Western Europe focuses on the archaeology of prehistoric farming communities, especially on the ways in which people constructed their living environment in relation to other communities, their ancestors, the supernatural and of course the physical landscape.
To this end archaeological data are studied ranging from the Neolithic to the Iron Age. The programme focuses on a number of concepts using actual data, covering issues such as ancestral landscapes, burial analysis, exchange, world systems and the biography of the landscape. The courses are highly dependent on interaction with the students, who are challenged to develop their own informed opinion on these topics by writing papers, participating in discussions, and conducting research.

The programme consists of intensive courses, generally with guest lecturers. The courses focus on the discussion of data, their interpretations and theoretical backgrounds. You will learn acknowledge that the nature of these data is often more complex than you assumed, and consequently all the more interesting. You will be stimulated to develop an independent, but well-argued opinion on current issues. The subjects of the courses revolve around ongoing research and are generally organised in close co-operation with PhD-students.

Staff: prof. dr. Harry Fokkens, dr. David Fontijn.

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: Prehistory of North-Western Europe

Current issues in Prehistoric research 5
Themes in European Prehistory 5

Focus 2

Focus 2 10

Electives

Elective courses 10

Palaeolithic archaeology

Leiden University has been running large-scale excavations at Neumark-Nord 2 in collaboration with German research and heritage institutions. Neumark-Nord is a unique Middle Palaeolithic site with excellent preservation of bone and stone material in fine-grained lake deposits, dating from about 125,000 years ago.
Students are able to work on some of the lithic material from the site and its context. Co-operation with the scientists working on Neumark-Nord 2 provides you with opportunity to learn how archaeologists study the depositional environment, chronology, environment, spatial patterning of archaeology, and lithic and faunal material from the site.

An important research focus is the prehistory of early fire usage, in which graduate students participate with a wide variety of thesis research. Staff as well as student members of the research group also participate in new studies of the Eugène Dubois collection, which includes the type fossil of Homo erectus, at the Naturalis Museum (Museum of Natural History) in Leiden. The ongoing multidisciplinary study of this important collection yields fascinating topics for graduate student research, more than a century after Dubois returned from Trinil, Java.

Staff : prof. dr. Wil Roebroeks, dr. Alexander Verpoorte.

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: Palaeolithic Archaeology

Palaeolithic Europe: An introduction 5
Archaeology of the late Neanderthals and first Modern humans in Western Europe 5

Focus 2

Focus 2 10

Electives

Elective courses 10

Roman Provinces, Middle Ages and Modern Period

The conquest by Rome brought profound changes to large parts of Europe. Unprecedented infrastructural works such as roads and harbours were created, towns sprang up, a ribbon of fortresses was laid out along the frontiers and there is a vast increase in material culture to inform us about the lives of ordinary people.

The Roman conquest also ushered in major changes in society, technology and organisational complexity. Especially in the north these aspects of the Roman influence contrasted strongly with the native world, stimulating varied responses. In the courses offered, various aspects of the current debate on Roman frontiers and frontier communities will be investigated, as well as the role of the army in the development of provincial structures and interaction between communities both within the Empire and across the frontiers.

After the collapse of the Roman state, the foundations for Europe as we know it today were laid down in the Middle Ages. A number of major processes, such as religious transformation (Christianisation and Islamisation), urbanization, social differentiation and the rise of the market economy determine the structures and dynamics of society in the Middle Ages and the Modern Period. Monuments such as churches, castles and mosques testify to a great effort to ‘rebuild’ Europe after the decline of the Roman state. In the courses, urbanization will be the key process studied to follow the development of medieval and early modern society.

Staff: prof. dr. Frans Theuws, drs. Epko Bult, dr. Roos van Oosten, drs. Jasper de Bruin, dr. ir. Mark Driessen, dr. Carol van Driel-Murray.

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: Roman Provinces, Middle Ages and Modern Period

Current issues in the archaeology of the frontier regions of the Roman Empire 5
Urban archaeology 5

Focus 2

Focus 2 10

Electives

Elective courses 10