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Constructing the human past

This minor is intended for undergraduate students of non-Archaeology disciplines, who wish to gain insight in the theoretical framework and methodology of archeological research.
It offers an introduction into methodology and theoretical concepts in archaeology, and is fully taught in English. After finishing the minor you will have gained insight in the way in which archaeological data are derived, and how these data are used to construct theoretical models that aim to understand the human past. All courses listed are part of the undergraduate programme in Archaeology.

Learning outcomes:

  • Basic knowledge of the acquisition of archaeological data and understanding the limitations of this type of data;

  • Introduction in the archaeological methodology, both in theory and in practice;

  • Introduction in the analysis of archaeological materials, both in theory and in practice;

  • To understand how archaeological data can be interpreted in a regional context;

  • Knowledge of the main theoretical concepts used in the archaeology;

  • Understanding implications as well as limitations of these theoretical models.


The programme starts with 2 introductions in the methodology of archaeological data sampling, including practicals. These courses are at BA1 and BA2 level. Next, the student can opt for a focus in which we show how such analyses lead to understanding and constructing the human past.
The second part of the minor focuses on concepts and case studies in different regions (Europe or the Caribbean and Near East) at BA2 and BA3 level.
All courses are scheduled in the first semester of 2016-2017.

For more information, please contact mw. dr. J.A. Mol, Faculty of Archaeology Programme Director.


Leiden University students can register for the whole minor by registering in uSis.
Besides registering for the minor, you also have to enroll for each individual course in uSis, by enrolling for its final assessment (exams, papers, etc.). The study activity numbers needed are published at the start of each block on the Archaeology undergraduate website.

Students from other universities also welcome to join our programme. Those students need to register first as guest students at Leiden University (no fees). You will need to fill in a form and send that to the Faculty of Archaeology study advisor, drs. F.C.M. Tomas.

For more information on the registration procedure, please consult the general website.

Programme 30 ects

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2
Material studies 1: Lectures 5
Archaeological theory (BA3) 5
Experimental archaeology 5
Archaeological projects in the Mediterranean 5

Choose one out of two:


Early prehistory 5
Late prehistory and Provincial-Roman archaeology 5

World archaeology

Hunter-gatherers and early farmers 5
Early cities and states 5

Programme 15 ects

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2
Material studies 1: Lectures 5
Archaeological theory (BA3) 5
Archaeological projects in the Mediterranean 5