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Archaeology (Research): Prehistoric Farming Communities in Europe

Prehistoric Farming Communities focuses on the later Prehistory (Late Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age) in western Europe, especially on communities bordering the North Sea (Scandinavia, the Low Countries, France, Great Britain and Ireland).
Three researchers work together and bring in their own specific interests. Prof. Fokkens works on Beaker Cultures and settlements of the Bronze and Iron Ages, prof. Sørensen (Cambridge and Leiden) brings in her work on cultural identity, and dr. Fontijn specialises in burial ritual and (selective) deposition.

Our challenge is to bring these ideas together to develop a detailed but coherent view of past communities. Theory is important, but we always work with data and try to approach these issues from different angles. This will be achieved by means of research seminars, written assignments, presentations, participation in field schools and ongoing research projects.
Students are expected to think ‘outside the box’. You will be challenged to develop your own ideas, and never to blindly follow the well-trodden path (or the professor).

The themes that we address are:

  • Formation and long-term history of the Prehistoric cultural landscape concerning both economic and profoundly ritual aspects;
  • Social development of Prehistoric Europe: Why did history take the course it did? Why did truly complex societies never emerge in this part of the world?
  • Connected worlds: From the Neolithic onwards, parts of Europe became highly connected worlds, in which goods, ideas, social and ritual values were shared to a large extent. How was this possible?

Track leader:
Prof. dr. H. (Harry) Fokkens