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Archaeology (Research): Religion and Society in Native American Cultures

Religion and Society is a research master track in which you can actively contribute to the faculty’s current research projects in the Americas, particularly in the Caribbean, Mexico & Central America or in the Andean region. These projects have both an archaeological character and a focus on indigenous heritage, with an anthropological perspective (surveys/excavations, post-excavation analyses, interpretation of ancient visual art and historical texts, ethnography, museum work, educative projects etc.).
You will gain a broad knowledge of and deep insights into Native American cultural history, focusing on the relationships between religious worldview and social agency.

Prime characteristics of the track are its interdisciplinary perspective and ethno-archaeological interest. The study of the past (archaeology, anthropology, sciences, history, linguistics) is connected to an interest in the present, particularly concerning the cultural value and meaning of indigenous heritage (in a worldwide context).

This track covers themes ranging from artistic expressions of religious concepts, rituals, and narratives, via social organisation, trade routes and cultural interaction, to issues of heritage, identity and intercultural communication/education. These major themes are applied to case studies in the context of specific research in tutorials and seminars on topics such as ancient American art, history and religion, or mobility and exchange. There is also the opportunity to combine this in Leiden with the study of Native American languages, archaeological sciences and/or world heritage in general.

The RMA-thesis is conceived as the basis for possible PhD-research later. It is to be based on original research, which may include archaeological or anthropological fieldwork, as well as studies of museum collections, archives and other primary sources. It is possible to participate in Leiden field schools, related to long-term research projects, such as excavations in the Caribbean and Central America or ethnography and cultural-historical research in Mesoamerica and the Andean region.

Track leaders:
Prof. dr. Maarten Jansen
Prof. dr. Corinne Hofman