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Archaeology (MSc): Material Culture Studies

Material Culture Studies revolves around the analysis of the cultural biographies of all sorts of material objects from flint axes, to pottery, to houses and monumental structures. Our aim is the reconstruction of technological processes by examining the interconnectivity of different chaînes opératoires in order to better understand the varied relationships between people and things.

The programme’s courses deal with current approaches in material culture theory, analytical methods and techniques employed in artefact studies, and experimental archaeology. Experiments are central in both our research and teaching and are conducted in the experimental laboratory as well as in our experimental outdoor setting of ‘Huize Horsterwold’, the Stone Age hamlet we have constructed within the past few years and have been using as our experimental station. In June 2016 we started the construction of an additional experimental Stone Age house located in Vlaardingen.

We specialise in provenience studies of various raw materials and wear trace and residue analysis, using primarily microscopic and chemical analytical techniques. These specialisations are taught in laboratory tutorials. There is a close cooperation with the Material Sciences and Geophysics divisions of Technical University Delft.

In order to be admitted to the MSc-programme Material Culture Studies you must be acquainted with the following texts which will be tested by means of an interview taking place at the end of September and February.

  • Hodges, H. 1964 (or later reprints). Artifacts. An Introduction to Early Materials and Technology. London;

  • Miller, H.M.L. 2009. Archaeological Approaches to Technology. Walnut Creek, CA;

  • Pollard, M., C. Batt, B. Stern & S.M.M. Young 2007. Analytical Chemistry in Archaeology, part III, Some Basic Chemistry for Archaeologists. Cambridge, pp. 215-320.

Please note: if you want to take this MSc as a second specialisation, you will be invited for a compulsory advisory interview before the start of the programme.

Dr. D.J.G. (Dennis) Braekmans
Dr. A.N. Brysbaert
Prof. dr. A.L. (Annelou) van Gijn
Dr. C. Tsoraki