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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 over the past few years and have been using as our experimental station. In June 2016 we have 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.

From 2017 onwards, Material Culture Studies also incorporates a range of architectural research projects currently conducted at the Faculty. This includes the study of (monumental) architecture which is approached as an object in itself, and is placed in its larger landscape context. As such, Material Culture Studies combines, both in its physical and theoretical approaches, landscape and object-oriented studies and contexts.

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. A.N. Brysbaert
Prof. dr. A.L. (Annelou) van Gijn