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Archaeologists in action: stories from the field

During the summer, staff of the Faculty of Archaeology travel to all parts of the world, initiating or joining fieldwork projects. Read some of their stories here!

South Africa

Around 40,000 years ago, a major change in stone artefacts occurred. This heralded the beginning of the Later Stone Age, a period in which modern behaviour is assumed to be consistently present.

Gerrit Dusseldorp, together with his team, is now investigating this change by excavating caves in South Africa that were inhabited by people from this period.

Check out his research project.

The NEXUS 1492 project in Barbados

Many of the NEXUS 1492 team attended the 28th Congress of the International Association for Caribbean Archaeology in Barbados!

More about the conference.

Remains of reconstructed prehistoric house, Zeewolde

Back in February, archaeologists have burned down a reconstructed Neolithic house in Zeewolde. Over the summer they have been studying the remains, which will help them understand present and future finds. 

Read the whole story.

Northern New Mexico, United States

A team from Leiden is excavating and surveying at an Ancestral Pueblo site in the highland desert of New Mexico. The site is part of a culture that was resisting processes of state formation in the American Southwest.

The participating students have all written blogs related to their work and experience there!

Read the blogs.

Udhruh, Jordan

The hinterland of important centres like Petra can provide essential information that contributes to the understanding of their rise, expansion and decline. The region around Udhruh, 12 km east of Petra, was actively exploited in antiquity with investments of great effort and ingenuity in agricultural intensification, water management, military dominion, communication and security networks.

The Udhruh Archaeological Project was launched to investigate this interesting region. The project is a joint venture between the Petra School of Archaeology and Tourism of Al-Hussein Bin Talal University (Wadi Musa) and the Faculty of Archaeology of Leiden University (the Netherlands).

Follow the project on Facebook.

Our student Nils is having fun at the Udhruh excavation in Jordan!

Jebel Qurma, Jordan

The Jebel Qurma Archaeological Landscape Project aims to study the extraordinary archaeological heritage in Jordan’s Black Desert over a long timescale and across several different environments. The project comprises field survey and excavation in the prominent Jebel Qurma range close to the Jordan-Saudi border.

Follow the project on Facebook.

Daphne, protected against the ‘hiss hiss’ (little stinging flies).

Early medieval burial, the Netherlands

Mette Langbroek is investigating a part of a burial found in Veldhoven, near Eindhoven. These are the remains of a woman who lived around 700 AD. She was wearing an impressive necklace of colored beads when she was buried.

The collar bone area, together with the beads, was lifted out for further study, and found its way to Mette's office in the Van Steenis building.

Baarlo, the Netherlands

Students and staff are exploring the burial mounds near the town of Baarlo, Limburg.

Inhabitants of Baarlo and the surrounding area are drawn into the project. They are invited to contribute and share their stories about the landscape and history of the region.

Follow this and other projects on Instagram!

Among the Baka, Cameroon

Plants are vital resources throughout human history, but we know little about how they were used and valued prior to agriculture. Sandrine Gallois, an ethnoecologist working in the ERC-funded HARVEST project, has developed an interdisciplinary approach, combining anthropology and botany to explore how the Baka foragers of southeast Cameroon use and value plant foods. French filmmaker Laurent Maget made a short video on her fieldwork.

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