Universiteit Leiden

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European Prehistory

Our research deals with the deep history of Europe and Eurasia, from the inception of farming up until the beginning of the Roman Period. This was a period in which key developments took place that had a profound impact on European landscapes and society until the present day. Our research and teaching programs focus on three major themes:

  1. Formation and long-term history of the prehistoric cultural landscape concerning both economic and profoundly ritual aspects 
  2. 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? What were the factors that made a society a resilient one?
  3. 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?

A strong combination of social theories and archaeological data and fieldwork are central in our teaching and research, as is the link between our research and the needs of modern society