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Archaeology is an exciting discipline, in which you combine very different skills and fields of knowledge.
You venture out into the world to discover, study and interpret traces of past societies in the landscape, but you also work with both your head and hands in the classroom, in the laboratory, and at your desk, applying academic theories and analysing archaeological materials.

You often have to interpret scanty information, and fill in the gaps by thinking like an anthropologist, even if you are reconstructing life in societies we can no longer see. Where possible, you use historical sources, like a historian, but you also explore whether you can use high-tech methods from the natural sciences. Archaeology can therefore always be found at the interfaces between history and the social and natural sciences.
The field of archaeology itself encompasses the deep and even deepest history of humans, human societies and our intervention in nature.

As an archaeologist you also collect a large amount of valuable information that can shine new light on the big issues society faces today. You study early examples of globalisation and mass migration, following them over the centuries.
You study examples of growing social inequality and its effects on different groups in society. You deliberate over when humans first began to affect nature significantly and the long-term consequences of this, even for the population of today's world.
You study how different societies and cultures view their cultural and natural heritage, and how important this heritage can be to their identities.

This is what makes Archaeology the programme for people of all ages who wish to combine a particular fascination with the past with a broad general interest.

BA year 1

The first year World Archaeology consists of mostly introductory subjects and lectures on the basic knowledge and general skills that every archaeologist needs.
You will learn about the development of archaeology as a science and you will discover precisely what the most important archaeological concepts mean. Also, you will get to know the research areas offered in Leiden archaeology.
Fieldwork is part of the programme as well. This is when you will learn what an excavation really involves, and you will put what you learn into practice.
You will also learn more about heritage and archaeological policies, and how to translate the data and finds from excavations to appeal to a wider audience.

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2
Material studies 5
Introduction to heritage studies 10
Past and future 5
Landscape dynamics 10
World archaeology 15
Field techniques 10
Field school 1 5

BA year 2

Bachelor year 2 consists of the following components:

A) Compulsory courses (25 ects)

B) Choose two out of these three BA2 profiles:

  • World archaeology (15 ects)

  • Archaeology of 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.

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

A) Compulsory courses

Archaeological heritage 5
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) 5
Data analysis 5
Material studies 2 5
Field school 2 5

B1) Profile World Archaeology

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

B2) Profile Archaeology of Europe

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

B3) Profile Archaeological Sciences

Experimental archaeology 5
Bioarchaeology 5
Quaternary geology 5

C) Specialist courses

Material studies in Dutch archaeology 5
Archaeology of the Andes 5
Archaeology of the Mediterranean 1: The Mediterranean in the first millennium BC 5
The archaeology of death and burial in the ancient Near East 5

BA year 3

Bachelor year 3 consists of the following components:

A) Compulsory courses (30 ects)

B) An Archaeology specialisation, consisting of three courses (15 ects), see the list below.

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

  • a second Archaeology specialisation, see the list below

  • half a minor (Dutch or English)

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

A) Compulsory courses

Predictive modelling 5
Archaeological theory (BA3) 5
Internship BA3 10
Thesis BA3 10

B1) Specialisation Archaeology of Europe

Material studies in Dutch archaeology 5
Project groups European archaeology 5
Landscape archaeology 5

B2) Specialisation Archaeology and Heritage of Indigenous America

Amerindian shamanism in the Caribbean and Amazonia 5
Archaeology of the Andes 5
The Maya peoples: An ancient civilisation, its present and future 5

B3) Specialisation Archaeology of the Classical World

Archaeological projects in the Mediterranean 5
The archaeology of the ancient Silk Roads 5
Archaeology of the Mediterranean 1: The Mediterranean in the first millennium BC 5

B4) Specialisation Archaeology of the Near East

Archaeology of Arabia 5
Byzantine archaeology 5
The archaeology of death and burial in the ancient Near East 5

B5) Specialisation Bioarchaeology

Botany / Zoology / Osteoarchaeology 10
Isotopes in archaeology 3
Excursion Pleistocene 2