Universiteit Leiden

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Marike van Aerde


Dr. M.E.J.J. van Aerde
+31 71 527 1138

Marike van Aerde is a lecturer and researcher specialised in the archaeological evidence of ancient trade routes between the Indian Subcontinent, Egypt and East Africa up until the mid-1st millennium CE.

More information about Marike van Aerde

Office days

Thursday and Friday


Marike van Aerde is a lecturer and researcher specialised in the archaeological evidence of ancient trade routes between the Indian Subcontinent, Egypt and East Africa up until the mid-1st millennium CE. She was awarded her doctoral degree from the Faculty of Archaeology in Leiden in 2015, specialising in connectivity between ancient Egypt and the Roman Mediterranean. Since then she has expanded her research project and currently collaborates with a diverse team of young researchers and PhD and MA students.

The project, entitled ‘Routes of Exchange, Roots of Connectivity’, investigates ancient processes of connectivity in local detail and global scope, through the documentation, analysis, and interpretation of newly excavated, unpublished, and urgently threatened archaeological evidence. These data include ceramics, petroglyphs, architectural structures and other material finds from excavations and depots. The project so far has conducted statistical (database/GIS) and interpretative studies concerning sites in India (Gujarat, Maharashtra), Pakistan (Karakorum, Gilgit), and East Africa (Egypt, Horn of Africa). These studies form the basis for a wider synthesis, which considers questions of global interactions in the past, and the impact of these processes on societies on a transregional scope, across the Indian Ocean region.

Marike's team actively engages in archaeological heritage protection and knowledge-sharing. The project collaborates with Pakistani archaeologists and local communities to document unrecorded rock art in the Karakorum mountains. These petroglyphs are currently under threat of destruction, and the project helps initiatives to make this rock art widely accessible in digital form. Another example is the Open Access reference collection that Marike's team has compiled of unpublished pottery and glass sherds from Palmyra (Syria) and Petra (Jordan), two crucial trade cities of the ancient Silk Roads networks, in order to contribute to the preservation of archaeological heritage under threat.  

Marike and her students working in the Leiden pottery depot

Teaching activities

Marike's teaching output has been diverse, at both the Faculties of Archaeology and Humanities in Leiden, as well as the Honours Academy. Alongside archaeology, her courses often discuss a range of current issues, such as globalization, climate issues, and cultural heritage threats, against the scope of the ancient Silk Roads. Her teaching focuses on the facts and insights that students learn to derive from archaeological data, in order to understand the workings of complex networks of the past. Moreover, students have actively participated in the primary research phases of Marike's project, as well, through internships on ceramic datasets, fieldwork opportunities in Gujarat and the Karakorum, as well as conferences visits in, among others, Oxford, UK, and Alexandria, Egypt. The students in Marike's team maintain their own website, where they regularly write blogs and post videos about their work and experiences.

Curriculum vitae

In 2019-2020 Marike was awarded the LeidenGlobal seed grant for her research project. From 2016-2019 she held the Postdoctoral Byvanck Fellowship at Leiden University, which included an interdisciplinary teaching program at both the Archaeology and Humanities Faculties in Leiden. She has appeared regularly at international conferences, incl. the EAA, the Gandhara Connections conference series in Oxford, UK, and expert meetings in Alexandria, Egypt.

From 2010-2015, Marike’s PhD research was part of Professor Miguel John Versluys’ VIDI project 'Cultural innovation in a globalising society: Egypt in the Roman world'. Her doctoral thesis explored cultural connectivity between Egypt and the Roman world. 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) MA degree in Classics and Archaeology from Radboud University (2005), and as MA was awarded the Graduate School Research Scholarship from University College London (UCL, 2005-2008).


  • Faculteit Archeologie
  • World Archaeology
  • Classical and Mediterranean Archaeology

Work address

Van Steenis
Einsteinweg 2
2333 CC Leiden
Room number B1.14



  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Institute for History
  • Oude Geschiedenis

Work address

Johan Huizinga
Doelensteeg 16
2311 VL Leiden
Room number 1.06b



No relevant ancillary activities

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