Archaeology: Archaeology of the Near East
The Near East (modern Iraq, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Turkey) and Egypt constitute a region of enormous culture-historical significance, and form the cradle of civilisation from Prehistory up to the Early Medieval period.
Various key developments, such as the origins of farming and sedentary life, the emergence of complex urbanised societies and writing, occurred first in this region and subsequently spread out. In the Master’s programme in Near Eastern Archaeology you will learn 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 are central to this MA programme. In this way research is explicitly linked with the teaching curriculum.
The Near Eastern archaeology section has considerable expertise in Neolithic Syria and Anatolia, reconstructing ecological and agricultural practices, architectural analysis and the study of society, survey methodologies, and the investigation of complex societies of the Bronze Age and Iron Age Near East, pharaonic Egypt, and Byzantine archaeology.
Leiden University provides rich resources for students of the Ancient Near East. Amongst these are the Netherlands Institute for the Near East, hosting one of the best libraries in the world for the field, as well as renowned Egyptology and Assyriology sections. The National Museum of Antiquities is important both for its Near Eastern and Egyptian collections and its research in the region.