Marike van Aerde
Dr. Marike van Aerde is Assistant Professor World Archaeology and coordinator of the Honours Academy Archaeology Program. Her research focuses on the archaeology of ancient trade routes between East Africa and the Indian Subcontinent (ca. 300 BCE-800 CE).
Leiden Archaeology Blog
Monday to Thursday
Marike works with an international team of PhDs and MA students as part of her research project Routes of Exchange, Roots of Connectivity, which examines multiregional sites and datasets across the Indian Ocean region. The project uses interdisciplinary and scientific methods, such as ceramics studies, chemical analysis (XRF), satellite, LiDAR, and database analyses. These analyses moreover provide a basis for a wider synthesis and questions of global connectivity in the ancient world.
Recent publications have included studies on Indian Ocean trade networks, ancient Egyptian, Aksumite and Indian port sites, and the documentation and preservation of rock art from the Karakorum Himalaya mountains. Marike appears regularly at international conferences, and actively pursues Open Access and international Heritage initiatives. She frequently collaborates with the Antiquities Museum in Leiden (RMO) for public outreach programs, and maintains international collaborations with universities and institutes in India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Egypt.
As Honours Academy coordinator, Marike actively encourages interdisciplinary approaches to archaeological research and discourse. Through the Honours curriculum, she explores current issues such as politics and global affairs, heritage threats, sustainability and climate change. Her lectures engage with diverse perspectives and encourage students to develop an analytical and long-term approach not only to the past, but also to our world today.
At the Faculty of Archaeology, Marike’s courses are closely linked to her ongoing research project and introduce students to the archaeology and history of ancient India, East Africa, and the earliest ‘Silk Roads’ trade routes and sites across ancient Persia. Her teaching combines archaeological data studies with wider frameworks, such as network theory, to understand complex processes that shaped the global past. On her project website, students regularly write blogs and post videos about their active involvement with the research.
From 2019-21, Marike held simultaneous Lectureships at the Faculty of Archaeology and the Ancient History Department in Leiden. In 2021 she set up Heritage fieldwork in the Karakorum mountains of Pakistan together with Prince Claus Heritage Grant awardee Abdul Ghani Khan. In 2019-20 Marike was awarded the LeidenGlobal seed grant for her research project, and from 2016-19 she held the Postdoctoral Byvanck Fellowship at Leiden University, which included an interdisciplinary teaching program at both the Archaeology and Humanities Faculties in Leiden.
From 2010-2015, Marike’s PhD was supervised by Prof.Dr. Natascha Sojc and part of Prof.Dr. Miguel John Versluys’ VIDI project 'Cultural innovation in a globalising society: Egypt in the Roman world'. Her doctoral thesis examined connectivity and exchange between Egypt and Rome. Fieldwork included campaigns at the Palatine Hill in Rome and material analyses in collaboration with the Soprintendenza Archeologica di Roma, the Royal Dutch Institute in Rome (KNIR), and The British Museum in London. Marike also holds a (cum laude) Master’s degree in Classics and Archaeology from Radboud University (2005), and was awarded the Graduate School Research Scholarship from University College London (UCL, 2005-2008).
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