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Archaeology: Archaeology of the Near East

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

The Near East (modern Iraq, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Turkey) is a region of enormous culture-historical significance, and is a cradle of civilisation from Prehistory up to the Early Medieval period. Various key developments, such as the origins of farming and sedentary life, and the emergence of complex urbanised societies and writing, occurred first in this region and spread subsequently.

In the Master specialisation in Near Eastern archaeology you will be taught how to investigate such key developments using primary archaeological data. Understanding how data are obtained, being able to contextualise these in specific local culture-historical contexts, and translating the data to observations relevant for the study of processes such as neolithisation and urbanisation is key to the MA-programme in Leiden. Therefore, in the MA-programme, research is explicitly linked with the teaching curriculum. The Near Eastern section has considerable expertise on Neolithic Syria and Anatolia, reconstructing ecological and agricultural practices, architectural analysis and the study of society, survey methodologies, the investigation of complex societies of the Bronze Age and Iron Age Near East, ceramic studies and Byzantine, Islamic and Ottoman archaeology.

Leiden University provides rich resources for students of the Archaeology of the Near East. Amongst these are the Netherlands Institute for the Near East, hosting one of the best libraries in the world for this field of expertise, as well as renowned Egyptology and Assyriology sections. The National Museum of Antiquities is important both for its Near Eastern collections and its research in the region. Near Eastern archaeology therefore is embedded in a strong research environment.

Staff: prof.dr. P.M.M.G. Akkermans, dr. B.S. Düring, prof.dr. R.T.J. Cappers, dr. O.P. Nieuwenhuyse, mw dr J.A.C. Vroom.