Universiteit Leiden

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Marike van Aerde


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

Marike is a Postdoc researcher and lecturer, focussing on the archaeology of the early networks of Afro-Eurasian trade connectivity via land and sea, also known as the ‘ancient Silk Roads’ and maritime trade routes.

More information about Marike van Aerde


Marike is a Researcher and Lecturer, focused on the archaeological evidence of trade routes, via land and sea, between the Indian Subcontinent, East Africa and the Mediterranean, also known as the early ‘Silk Roads’ and maritime routes, of the 1st millennium CE. Her project takes a bottom-up approach by means of documenting, interpreting and connecting sites and materials, and includes a strong component of student participation. Research findings and progress are regularly discussed in her ‘Silk Roads’ seminar and Honours Academy course.

With her ongoing research project entitled ‘Routes of Exchange, Roots of Connectivity’, Marike sets out to connect as well as expand the archaeological records of networks across the Indian Subcontinent (incl. fieldwork in India and Sri Lanka). A second focus point is the documentation and interpretation of currently threatened petroglyphs along the Karakorum mountain range, Pakistan, in order to study the role of Buddhism in line with the first expansion of trade routes through the Himalayas (initial fieldwork summer 2019). Thirdly, the project examines the diversity of ceramics datasets from East Africa (incl. Egypt, Aksum), in particular the presence of Indian pottery at these sites, and explores how connecting these datasets helps reconstruct early Afro-Eurasian maritime routes from a comprehensive archaeological basis.  

The project is also part of LID, the new inventory of the Leiden pottery depot, which encourages students to work with materials from important Silk Roads sites from the Levant and Arabian Peninsula (incl. Petra and Palmyra).

Marike and her students working in the Leiden pottery depot

Curriculum vitae

From 2017-2019 Marike 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 research was part of Miguel John Versluys’ VIDI project 'Cultural innovation in a globalising society: Egypt in the Roman world'. Her dissertation 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 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



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