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Archaeology: Archaeology of the Near East

This is a specialisation of the master’s programme of Archaeology.

Archaeology of the Near East is a major part of Leiden University’s teaching and research commitment. The Department of Archaeology offers stimulating courses and seminars on a wide range of regions, periods and themes, including archaeological theory and practice, environmental history, neolithisation, ethnicity, material culture, trade, urbanism and early state formation in the Near East.

Geographically, the emphasis is on Syro-Mesopotamia, Anatolia, the Levant and Egypt. Chronologically, prominence is given to research into the Neolithic period, as well as into the Bronze and Iron Ages. In collaboration with the section of Classical-Mediterranean Archaeology, attention is also paid to the achievements of the Hellenistic-Roman and Byzantine epochs in the region. The teaching and research activities benefit from strong links with the Netherlands National Museum of Antiquities, the Netherlands Institute for the Near East, and Delft University of Technology.

Teaching and research are closely integrated with fieldwork in the Near East. Large-scale survey and excavation projects, each heavily relying on active student participation, take place annually in Syria (Tell Sabi Abyad), Jordan (Deir Alla) and Turkey (Devrez Valley). Other exciting avenues of investigation, in the form of extensive, multidisciplinary research projects, comprise subjects such as the archaeology of marginal regions, the role of climate change in Syria in prehistory, and the iron track in Jordan.

In addition to their research component, the regional projects strongly emphasise the education and training of students in all aspects of archaeological fieldwork. Moreover, the research projects keep Leiden University at the forefront of worldwide developments in Near Eastern archaeology.