Universiteit Leiden

nl en

Global Archaeology (MA)

Programme structure

Follow your personal interests, and choose from a plethora of focus areas. Will you focus on the deep past of humankind? Or do you prefer to dive into the Roman world? Or would you rather study pre-Columbian America? The choice is up to you!

Programme outline

35 ec

Career profile (3 courses) + thesis

10 ec Region Focus Area (2 courses)
5 ec Archaeological Theory (1 course)
10 ec Electives (2 courses)

Your focus area, your career profile, and thesis subject determine your specialisation and your eventual area of expertise.

Some of the courses

Archaeological Theory

This course gives an overview, selective and by no means exhaustive, of what archaeological theory is currently about. You will read and reflect upon a recent handbook that provides something of a ‘state of the art’ of the philosophy of science. Note, however, that the handbook chapters are conceived here as points of departure for the individual lectures and associated readings that may wander in very different directions across the contemporary theoretical scape.

Palaeolithic Europe

This course gives an introduction to the European Palaeolithic record and its wider setting, from the first colonisation of Eurasia by early hominins, and ending with the archaeology of Upper Palaeolithic hunter-gatherers.

Archaeology of the Late Neanderthals and First Modern Humans

This course will provide an opportunity to improve your understanding of the current state-of-the-art on the major changes in Europe 40,000 years ago. Because the demise of Neanderthal has been at the core of a heated academic debate for many years, this course will also provide a good insight into “science in the making”, and a direct appreciation of how our understanding of the past can quickly evolve.

Key Developments in European Prehistory

This is a course in which key developments in Prehistoric Europe will be discussed, taking place between the 7th and the end of the 1st millennium BC. The emphasis is on how Prehistory shaped the modern world, and much attention is given to the societal and political relevance of the research of Prehistory in our own society.

Disruptive Innovations in Prehistory

During this course you will deepen your knowledge on some of the key developments in Prehistoric Europe, focusing on the fundamental innovations that took place. We will investigate the processes behind innovation and adaptation, and explore how a new material, technology, or ideology (re)shaped societies, the landscape, and ultimately Europe.

Current Issues in the Archaeology of the Frontier Regions of the Roman Empire

This course explores the impact of technology and expanding horizons, the role of consumers in the distribution of goods and the underlying continuity of religious practices in the final discard of particular artefacts. The case studies presented relate to ongoing departmental research, both national and international.

Debate in the provincial Roman community as expressed in the annual Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference and its publications forms the theoretical background to this programme.

Urban Archaeology

The focus of this course will be on the transformation of villages into towns and the archaeology of public health. An ongoing, underlying theme is that urban archaeology not only deals with archaeological data but also with information from historical sources. In order to assign meaning to uncovered archaeological remains, written records often have to be consulted. And although interdisciplinary research is an asset, the risks of misinterpretation must be mitigated whenever possible.

The Archaeology of Roman Imperialism in the Western Mediterranean

In this challenging course, we will explore the functioning of this formative phase in Roman imperialism and expansionism using primarily archaeological data from the Western Mediterranean. We will focus on the archaeology of the Italian and Iberian peninsulas, Corsica, Sicily and southern France.

We will develop various theoretical and methodological approaches and establish parameters to study and explain early Roman society and its performance in military, demographic and socio-economic respects.

Diversities of Doing Greek: ‘Hellenisation’ and ‘Hellenism’ in Ancient Eurasia

In this course we will analyse the questions “what is Greek(ness)” and “what determines the attractiveness of things Greek/‘Greek’ to non-Greeks” critically and from a variety of different perspectives. These are questions that go to the very heart of the disciplines of Classics, Ancient History and Classical Archaeology (and of much of cultural history at large).

Neolithisation in the Near East

In this course we will study the current archaeological views on this period of early village formation. Attention will be given to:

  • Epipalaeolithic forager communities;
  • Neolithic origins;
  • Neolithic expansion and food production;
  • Transitions and transformations;
  • Pots-and-people associations in the late Neolithic;
  • Regional mega-centres;
  • Pastoralism and mobility;
  • Neolithic monuments and ritual;
  • Neolithic administration and (in)equality;
  • Burial practices in the Neolithic.

Urban Societies in the Ancient Near East

This course will focus on the phenomenon of the city in the Bronze Age and Iron Age Near East and how to best understand urban societies in this region between about 3,000 BC and 300 BC.

The concept of the ‘urban revolution’ that is still very influential has supported the false notions that: first, urbanisation was a one-off event; and, second, the ‘urban’ is a coherent category.

In this course we will focus on various episodes of urbanisation and investigate the nature of very diverse urban communities in the Bronze Age and Iron Age Near East.

Mobility and Exchange in the Americas Across 1492

In this course we aim at identifying the nature, dynamics, and continuities or discontinuities of specific networks of mobility and exchange in Americas in a deep-in-time perspective. In order to achieve this goal we operationalise a ‘trans-Columbian’ integrative approach. Sensitive to socio-cultural changes, this approach allows monitoring the long-term societal trajectories while dismantling the conceptual chimera of Historical Divide or Columbus Encounter.

Social Complexity and Inequality in the Americas

This course is aimed at presenting and debating different aspects and perspectives of social complexity by comparing multiple approaches.

We will take a historical and multi-disciplinary approach to examine the changing ways that social complexity is discussed and debated in the archaeological literature. We will compare these theoretical discussions with examples of how social complexity has been argued to manifest in the archaeological record and how it has been analysed.

Region Focus Areas

Within your Focus Area programme part, you may pick two courses of a region of your choice.

  • Hunter-gatherer Archaeology
  • Key developments in European Prehistory
  • Urban Archaeology
  • Neolithisation in the Near East
  • Archaeology of the Assyrian Empire
  • Environmental History of the Near East
  • Diversities of doing Greek. ‘Hellenisation’ and ‘Hellenism’ in ancient Eurasia
  • The Archaeology of Roman Imperialism in the Western Mediterranean
  • Archaeology of the Crusades
  • Mobility, interaction and colonialism in the Americas
  • Current issues in the Archaeology of the Americas

Complete overview

In the e-prospectus you will find a complete overview and full course descriptions of the courses and focus areas Global Archaeology has to offer. Please note that this guide applies to the current academic year, which means that the curriculum for next year may slightly differ.

We use cookies. Read the terms and conditions.