Universiteit Leiden

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Karsten Lambers

Professor Digital and Computational Archaeology

Prof.dr. K. Lambers
+31 71 527 6510

Karsten Lambers is Professor of Digital and Computational Archaeology at the Faculty of Archaeology.

More information about Karsten Lambers



My research considers computational methods (e.g., Machine Learning) that enable the (semi-) automated extraction of meaningful archaeological entities from large bodies of digital data from different sources as a starting point for archaeological analysis and heritage management. Examples include the detection of burial mounds in remote sensing data and the detection of archaeological concepts in excavation reports. I also study human-environmental interaction with a focus on resource use and landscape change.

Since 1993 I have regularly participated in archaeological fieldwork (survey, excavation), studying mainly prehistoric periods in Central Europe (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) and Latin America (Bolivia, Peru, Mexico). My involvement in surveying tasks during many of these projects inspired me to explore remote sensing and digital image analysis for archaeological purposes, which eventually facilitated my specialization in digital and computational archaeology. In my research, I have extensively collaborated with computer scientists, geomatic engineers, geographers, geophysicists and palaeoecologists.

Teaching activities

My teaching deals with digital data and computational tools that we use in archaeology and the impact this has on the wider field of archaeological inquiry. I combine theoretical and practical perspectives through a mix of lectures, written and practical assignments, linking my teaching to ongoing research wherever possible. An important element of my teaching is the individual guidance of students during their thesis research.

Curriculum vitae

I graduated in American Anthropology (MA, University of Bonn, 1998) and in Prehistoric Archaeology (PhD, University of Zurich, 2005). My PhD dissertation on the Nasca geoglyphs of Palpa, Peru, was awarded the Best Thesis Award of 2005 by the Faculty of Arts, University of Zurich. Further recognition of the collaborative research in which I have been involved includes two EUROPA NOSTRA awards (2020 and 2022) and my affiliated memberschip of the German Archaeological Institute (DAI Berlin, since 2022).

Before joining Leiden University in 2015, I held research and teaching positions at ETH Zurich (1999-2004), the University of Zurich (2004), the German Archaeological Institute (2005-2007), the University of Konstanz (2008-2013) and the University of Bamberg (2010-2015).

At the Leiden Faculty of Archaeology, I have served as chair of the Department of Archaeological Sciences (2017-2019), as chair of the Digital Archaeology Research Group (since 2016) and as member of the Research Committee (2016 and since 2023). On the university level, I am a member of the SAILS network (Society Artificial Intelligence and Life Science) and of the steering committee of ARCHON, the Dutch inter-university research and graduate school for archaeology.

Professor Digital and Computational Archaeology

  • Faculteit Archeologie
  • Archaeological Sciences
  • Digital Archaeology

Work address

Van Steenis
Einsteinweg 2
2333 CC Leiden
Room number A.113B



  • No relevant ancillary activities
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