Universiteit Leiden

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Archaeology (Research MA)

About the programme

The research master’s Archaeology is a two-year programme designed for talented students pursuing an academic career in archaeology.

Tailor-made, one-on-one research trajectory

This programme guides you into becoming an independent, articulate and critical researcher and adequately trained member of the international research community. We offer a flexible programme with a clear research learning outcome, a personalised course plan, and thesis research.

Your research is linked to one of the Faculty’s research profiles, and is assigned to a thesis supervisor from your chosen focus area, ensuring a tailor-made one-on-one research trajectory. The courses are primarily from the Faculty’s programmes, but you are also
encouraged to take courses at related (international) institutes.

The tracks

Interdisciplinary studies of the human past

This programme provides an in-depth interdisciplinary introduction in the European Palaeolithic record and its wider setting, from the Early Pleistocene to the Late Pleistocene.

  • Study the archaeology of Prehistoric hunter-gatherers, from the earliest stone tools in East Africa, 2.6 million years old, to the end of the last ice age.
  • Focus on Neanderthal behaviour, and explore research questions, methods of analysis and theoretical perspectives in Palaeolithic archaeology.

For more information, see the e-Prospectus. Please note that this guide applies to the current academic year, which means that the curriculum for next year may slightly differ.

A view of past communities

The programme aims to develop a detailed and coherent view of prehistoric communities.

  • Focus on the later prehistory in western Europe, especially on communities bordering the North Sea (Scandinavia, the Low Countries, France, Great Britain and Ireland).
  • Explore research topics such as Beaker cultures and settlements of the Bronze and Iron Ages, cultural identity, and burial ritual and (selective) deposition.

For more information, see the e-Prospectus. Please note that this guide applies to the current academic year, which means that the curriculum for next year may slightly differ.

The cradle of civilisation

This programme focuses on a region that has enormous culture-historical significance, and is a cradle of civilisation from Prehistory up to the Early Medieval period.

  • Study various key developments, such as the origins of farming and sedentary life, as well as the emergence of complex urbanised societies and writing, as they occurred first in this region and spread subsequently.
  • Participate in current research projects. These projects focus on the Near East (modern Iraq, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Turkey) and Egypt, as well as the Mediterranean.

For more information, see the e-Prospectus. Please note that this guide applies to the current academic year, which means that the curriculum for next year may slightly differ.

Study the past in connection to the present

The programme offers an interdisciplinary context, where archaeology, anthropology, sciences, history, linguistics, landscape and heritage studies come together.

  • Gain a broad knowledge of and deep insight into Native American cultural history, focusing on the relationships between religious worldview and social agency.
  • Participate in field schools related to long-term research projects, such as excavations in the Caribbean or Nicaragua,including studies of material culture and physical anthropology.

For more information, see the e-Prospectus. Please note that this guide applies to the current academic year, which means that the curriculum for next year may slightly differ.

A new and exciting interdisciplinary approach

The programme focuses on the role of the past in the present. Explore the various aspects of recent developments in international politics, cultural tourism, the use of social media, and the revitalisation of local traditions and regional identities.

  • Develop the practical skills to translate academic research and social knowledge into strategies for heritage management, and pursue individual initiatives.
  • Benefit from our close association with the Center for Global Heritage and Development, an interdisciplinary cooperation between three high-ranking universities: Leiden University, Erasmus University Rotterdam and Delft Technical University. This allows for a partnership between archaeology, social sciences, humanities and natural sciences.

For more information, see the e-Prospectus. Please note that this guide applies to the current academic year, which means that the curriculum for next year may slightly differ.

Europe on the starting blocks

At Leiden University we study how Roman Europe transformed into medieval Europe and what the role of various agents in this transformation process was. This programme offers an introduction to advanced studies of Europe and the Mediterranean in Late Roman and Post-Roman times (c. 300-900 AD).

  • We analyse the economic recovery of North-Western Europe in Merovingian and Carolingian times, exchange networks in the Mediterranean, and agrarian innovation and water management in Jordan.
  • We study burial sites, the fate of Roman towns in the early Middle Ages, and centres of Christianity.

For more information, see the e-Prospectus. Please note that this guide applies to the current academic year, which means that the curriculum for next year may slightly differ.

All of the four research disciplines of the Bioarchaeology research master’s specialisation cover an extensive geographical area and time range. As a student you are free to pursue your own interests within these disciplines:

  • The Archaeobotany research group investigates, for example, changes in vegetation and environment during the past 2.6 million years, as well as the taphonomy of plant macrofossils in lacustrine and fluvial depositional settings.
  • The Archaeo/Palaeozoology research group focuses on Eurasia and covers the period from the Early Pleistocene to the Holocene. Biostratigraphical studies, palaeo-ecological studies, as well as taphonomical and subsistence studies are executed on Pleistocene/Palaeolithic material whereas mainly palaeo-economical studies are carried out Holocene fauna complexes.
  • The Human Osteoarchaeology research group focuses on the analysis and interpretations of human remains from all over the globe.
  • The Isotope Archaeology research group works on the analysis and interpretation of stable isotopes of human and faunal remains from archaeological contexts. It also focuses on dating projects, involving radiocarbon dating as well as other dating methods.

For more information, see the e-Prospectus. Please note that this guide applies to the current academic year, which means that the curriculum for next year may slightly differ.

Research

The research learning line starts with an introductory course, followed by the research seminar throughout the programme and finally resulting in the thesis, thus embodying our concept of research-driven education. Students gain solid research skills while studying the methodological, theoretical and academic-philosophical aspects of the research focus of choice.

Skills

The development of important professional and transferable skills, for instance with regards to publication of their research outcomes is integrated in the courses and assignments, using innovative learning methods. Furthermore the students are stimulated to present themselves at international conferences and interact with PhD’s, postdocs and other research professionals within the international academic community.

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