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Archaeology: Archaeology of North-Western Europe

This is a specialisation within the bachelor Archaeology.

You can only participate in this specialisation’s courses after completing the propedeuse (first year), and meeting the requirements as set in the course descriptions below.

If you want to take this specialisation, you need to have completed the BA2 profile Archaeology of North-Western Europe.


The specialisation Archaeology of North-western Europe studies the period of the earliest settlement 800,000 years ago to the Modern Age in the Netherlands and surrounding countries.
All the main themes are addressed: “Out of Africa”, Neanderthals and modern humans, the Neolithic revolution, monuments and grave rituals, complex societies in the Iron Age, the Roman Era and the Early Middle Ages as well as the process of urbanisation.

This programme gives you an overview of the big questions, but also hands-on experience with archaeological material. The lecturers expect a good attitude towards work so that you are well prepared for the lectures and practical exercises and can take part in independent assignments.
In the second year courses, the big questions are central, always related to the critical interpretation of archaeological information. This might include site formation processes, datings and the representativeness of data.
In the third year, the knowledge is applied to resolving concrete archaeological issues. Besides archaeological finds, field drawings, etc., you will also be confronted with the social context of archaeological research and with justifying a suitable fieldwork strategy.

The programme is connected to the research of three chair groups. The group of professor F. Theuws studies the transformation of the Roman world with themes such as frontier societies, grave rituals, trade and identity.
Professor H. Fokkens and his group study late prehistoric cultural landscapes with themes including settlements, grave rituals and depositions.
The group of Professor W. Roebroeks studies human origins with themes such as Homo erectus, Neanderthals/early Homo sapiens, and fire. The thesis subjects are preferably aligned to the study of the supervisors.

Students can take part in various internships in archaeological fieldwork projects:

  • First-year field school

  • West-Friesland: excavation of a Bronze Age landscape

  • Oss: excavation of the cultural landscape from Prehistory to the late Middle Ages

  • Veluwe: prospecting of grave mound landscapes in a nature reserve

  • Hungary: excavation of a Bronze Age tell

  • Les Cottés (France): the interaction between the last Neanderthals and the first modern humans in Europe

Bachelor year 2

Bachelor year 2 with the specialisation Archaeology of North-Western Europe consists of the following options:

A. Compulsory courses (25 ects)

B. Choose two of these BA2 profiles:

  • Early civilisations (15 ects)

  • Archaeology of North-Western Europe (15 ects)

  • Archaeological sciences (15 ects)

C. Choose a specialist course (5 ects) ór a broadening course (5 ects). The latter consists of a course of your choice from the remaining BA2 profile that has not been chosen.
The specialist courses are from the BA3 programme, and alternate each year so you will not follow the same course in the BA3.
This year the specialisation Archaeology of North-Western Europe is offering the specialist course Material studies in Dutch archaeology.

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Compulsory courses

Archaeological heritage management 5
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) 5
Data analysis 5
Material studies 2 5
Internship 1 (field work) 5

Profile Early Civilisations

Hunter-gatherers and early farmers in the Near East and the Caribbean 5
Early cities and states in the Near East and Mediterranean world 5
Visual culture 5

Profile Archaeology of North-Western Europe

Early prehistory 5
Late prehistory and Provincial-Roman archaeology 5
Medieval archaeology 5

Profile Archaeological Sciences

Bioarchaeology 5
Experimental archaeology 5
Quaternary geology and soils of The Netherlands 5

Bachelor year 3

Bachelor year 3 with the specialisation Archaeology of North-Western Europe consists of:

A. Compulsory courses (30 ects)

B. Three specialisation courses (15 ects)

For the remaining 15 ects, choose either of these options:

  • a second Archaeology specialisation

  • half a minor (Dutch or English)

The other Archaeology specialisations are:

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Compulsory courses

Archaeological theory 5
Predictive modelling 5
Internship 2 10
BA3 thesis 10

Specialisation Archaeology of North-Western Europe

Material studies in northern European archaeology 5
Project groups North-West European archaeology 5
Landscape archaeology 5