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Archaeology: Archaeology of the Roman Provinces, the Middle Ages and Modern Period

The conquest by Rome brought profound changes to large parts of Europe. Unprecedented infrastructural works such as roads and harbours were created, towns sprang up, a ribbon of fortresses was laid out along the frontiers and there is a vast increase in material culture to inform us about the lives of ordinary people.
The Roman conquest also ushered in major changes in society, technology and organisational complexity. Especially in the north these aspects of the Roman influence contrasted strongly with the native world, stimulating varied responses. In the frontier regions the long-term military presence is the dominant factor, and in the courses offered various aspects of the current debate on Roman frontiers and frontier communities will be investigated, as well as the role of the army in the development of provincial structures and interaction between communities both within the Empire and across the frontiers.

The Roman impact also brought new ideologies as well as foreign religions. One of these was Christianity, the one that was to last until the present day. Christianity and the church played an important role in continuity of civil life after the collapse of the Roman state.
In the following Middle Ages, the foundations for the Europe as we know it today were laid down. A number of major processes, such as religious transformation (Christianisation and Islamisation), urbanisation, social differentiation and the rise of the market economy determine the structures and dynamics of society in the Middle Ages and the Modern Period. Europe and the Mediterranean are still dotted with monuments of this past: churches, castles, mosques, town walls, guild houses, even complete medieval town centres, monasteries and royal palaces. These monuments testify to a great effort to ‘rebuild’ Europe after the decline of the Roman state. In the courses, urbanisation will be the key process to follow the development of medieval and early modern society. Related processes such as religious transformation and the growth of the market will be studied in relation to urbanisation.

The study of Roman, Medieval and Modern society is a highly interdisciplinary practice. A confrontation of models from various disciplines of the developments sketched above is part of the curriculum.

Staff: prof. dr F.C.W.J. Theuws, drs. E.P. Bult, mw dr. R.M.R. van Oosten, drs J. de Bruin, dr ir M.J. Driessen, mw dr C. van Driel-Murray.