Universiteit Leiden

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Monique van den Dries

Associate professor / department chairwoman

Dr. M.H. van den Dries
+31 71 527 2383

Monique van den Dries is associate professor at the Faculty of Archaeology and teaches archaeological heritage management. She is also Head of the Department of Archaeological Heritage and Society.

More information about Monique van den Dries

Curriculum vitae

She studied History (Faculty of Humanities) and Prehistory of North-western Europe (Faculty of Archaeology) at Leiden University, with specialisations in the application of IT and data management, in physical anthropology and in museum studies. After her doctoral studies in archaeology she further specialized by exploring the application of IT for archaeology (data management, GIS, artificial intelligence, e-learning) and by gaining a degree in communication and public relations. For her PhD-research at Leiden University (1990-1994) she applied artificial intelligence techniques for the analysis of use-wear traces on flint artefacts. This resulted in the construction of an expert system (‘WAVES’) for the training of university students in the methodology of use wear analysis, which was bought by universities in various parts of the world. This study was nominated for the W.A. van Es-prize.

Heritage management and governance

From 1995 onwards she gained fifteen years of practical experience and expertise in various management and governance aspects of Dutch archaeology. She worked as a policy officer for the Dutch Foundation for Archaeology (Stichting voor de Nederlandse Archeologie, later Erfgoed Nederland); she was the co-founder (in 1997) and subsequently editor of the archaeological professional magazine ArcheoBRIEF (now Archeologie in Nederland) for many years. Simultaneously, she was the project manager of ARCHWEB, in which she pioneered the use of internet communication and webdesign for archaeology and provided training to archaeological organisations. She continued her career at the State Agency for Archaeology (now Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed) in 2000 as project manager for online public outreach activities and for IT-projects. In 2002 she became inspector at the Dutch Inspectorate for Cultural Heritage (Erfgoedinspectie) and in 2006 chief inspector. At the Inspectorate her focus lay on quality management, communication, IT, and on the effect and effectiveness of heritage policies. She lead projects that assessed the quality of Dutch excavation reports and project outlines [see publications].

From 2003 onwards she had been asked to give annual guest lectures on Dutch heritage management at the Faculty of Archaeology (Leiden University) and in 2008 she was seconded from the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science to carry out postdoctoral work for professor Willem J.H. Willem’s Archaeology in Contemporary Europe-project (see projects) and to develop a Masters specialization (for international students) in the field of archaeological heritage management. In 2010 she was appointed by the Faculty of Archaeology as a permanent member of staff to coordinate the master and bachelor courses on archaeological resource management and heritage, to teach on various archaeological heritage aspects and to supervise student and PhD research in this field. The specialisation on heritage management has been set-up successfully and welcomes ever since a growing number of students from the Netherlands and various other parts of the world.


Van den Dries conducts research on several topics in archaeological heritage management, either with other colleagues in the context of externally funded projects (see projects below), or together with students as internship or thesis projects.

Her main research interests are:

  1. The societal values and public participation in archaeological heritage (public archaeology). This research focus on Public Archaeology and community involvement aims to gain insight in the perception and societal value of archaeology (like the connection with health, quality of life, well-being etc.), to understand the social and economic return on investment that public engagement can yield, and to improve the sector’s engagement with the public. It explores the application of concepts like community archaeology; oral history; participatory governance; corporate social responsibility, shared social values, crowd sourcing and citizen science, but also of digital technologies (e.g. E-learning) and social media.
  2. The (social and economic) impact of World Heritage Status and heritage tourism on local communities. This research focus on the social and economic effects (including gender, equality and human rights issues) and the impact of  World Heritage Listing and heritage tourism on local communities was so far focussed on Europe and the West Bank (Palestine), but other parts of the world are included too. It consists of exploring and measuring the implications of World Heritage status and tourism on local communities and looks into sustainability of management practices. This is part of the European NEARCH project that is funded by the EU.
  3. The effects and effectiveness of (national and international) heritage policies and legislation. The investigation and measuring of the effects of legislation and heritage policies includes for instance the conventions of the Council of Europe (Valletta/Malta Convention, Faro Convention), UNESCO and ICOMOS policies and the Dutch Monument Act. It concerns development-led archaeology and quality management of commercial archaeology and explores stakeholder involvement (developers) and participatory governance. It also looks into the effects of these current practices (and the global economic crisis) on the profession and in the sustainability of the dominant economic model for heritage management.

Collaboration with external stakeholders

Some research activities are carried in collaboration with or for external stakeholders, like municipalities, heritage organisations, private companies and NGO’s, mostly on the basis of public surveys. Examples of such projects are evaluations with participants of the National Days of Archaeology of 2015 and 2016 (see publications), for which funding was offered by the Fonds voor Cultuurparticipatie. She also did a survey among the visitors of De Tijdtrap, Rotterdam (see publications), among the visitors of the Neolithic house at the Landesgartenschau of 2015 in Landau, Germany (publication under construction) and the visitors of Nigrum Pullum, which is part of Ipse de Bruggen, Zwammerdam (publication under construction). These studies are usually carried out as student projects.

Involvement in doctoral studies

Van den Dries is also involved in various doctoral studies. In 2017 she was the co-promotor of Brittany Groot’s doctoral research on ‘Selling Cultural Heritage’ and a member of the doctorate board of Martijn Manders’, who studied under water cultural heritage management in the Wadden Sea. Currently she supervises PhD-projects on heritage education (Eldris Con Aguilar), on the impact of archaeological activities on citizens (Krijn Boom), on the sustainable role of university training in a rapidly changing profession (Femke Tomas) and she is an external advisor to several studies on community engagement and tourism.

Through this large number of empirical researches, she has developed a unique research strand for Dutch archaeology and gathered an important collection of nearly ten years of data on the value of archaeology for society. Due to this extensive expertise, she is frequently invited to give guest lectures or (keynote) papers on these research topics, for example at meetings of WAC, EAA, ICAHM and EAC. She also publishes extensively on these topics in peer-reviewed journals, edited volumes and other books, either as single-author articles or in collaboration with many different scholars (see publications).

Projects (since 2010) - externally funded

ACE-project (2008-2012)

In 2008-2012 Van den Dries participated in the ACE-project (Archaeology in Contemporary Europe), which was funded by the Culture Programme of the European Commission. The network of 10 organisations undertook research and activities along four major thematic axes: 'Researching the significance of the past'; 'Comparative practices in archaeology'; 'The archaeological profession'; 'Public outreach: invitations to archaeology'.

One of the results was an inventory of the impacts of the global economic crisis on Dutch archaeological heritage management (see publications), another an edited volume on the effects of European archaeological policies and professional practices on local communities in the developing world, which Van den Dries produced with three colleagues (see publications).

Read more about the ACE-project.

E-Archaeology (2011-2012)

In 2011 Van den Dries took part in the e-learning project ‘E-Archaeology: Archaeological heritage in contemporary Europe’ that was funded by the Lifelong-learning Program of the European Commission. She provided educational material on the topic of community archaeology.

Read more about the E-Archaeology project.

Heritage Values-project (2013-2015)

On behalf of the Faculty of Archaeology, Van den Dries was one of the partners in the Heritage Values-project (2013-2015), a European Heritage Network funded through the EU’s Joint Programming Initiative called ‘Cultural Heritage and Global Change’. She supervised the dissemination of the achievements of the network.

Some of the results can be found at the project website.

Tell Balata Archaeological Park Project, Palestine (2010 - ongoing)

In 2010 she became a partner in the Tell Balata Archaeological Park-project, that was initiated and lead by dr. Van der Kooij (Leiden University) and dr. Hamdan Taha (MOTA-DACH, Ramallah). The project aims to contribute to the safeguarding of Palestinian cultural heritage and the enhancement of the local economic situation through tourism development. It was a joint venture with UNESCO. Together with students and dr. Van der Linde several fieldwork projects were carried out in Palestine, which focussed on engagement with the local community members in Balata. These activities related to tourism, promotion, education, oral history etc. They yielded an oral history booklet, a Teacher’s handbook, a Site Management plan and several other publications (see publications). Community research has continued since, mostly in the context of the NEARCH project. Recently a survey among the community was conducted on the social and economic value of the park for the local community. A publication is under construction.

See for more information the university project website, or the Tell Balata homepage.


Nexus 1492

In 2012 Monique van den Dries participated in the research proposal of the NEXUS 1492-project, an ERC Synergy project grant of the European Research Council. After this prestigious project was granted, she acted as co-promotor of one of the PhD’s in the project on heritage education in the Caribbean context, Eldris Con Aguilar. She also supervised or supported some of Eldris’ other publications and productions.

NEARCH (2013-2018)

Since 2013, Van den Dries represents the Netherlands as the Dutch research partner in the NEARCH project on ‘New scenarios for a community involved archaeology’ (funded by the Culture 2007 Programme of the European Commission), which centres around the societal value of archaeology. In the context of this project, she initiated and supervised a PhD-research on the impact of archaeological activities in (local) communities, with the aim to learn how this impact can be measured as a social return on investment and how it can be predicted for new activities. This study was carried out by PhD-student Krijn Boom (MA). He is due to defend his dissertation, called ‘Imprint of Action: the economic and sociocultural impact of public activities in archaeology’ in 2018.

Other research looks into sustainable approaches of community involvement at World Heritage Sites. A public survey was conducted in this context at the West bank (Tell Balata) (publication under construction) and preliminary results were discussed during an international workshop on sustainable development that was organized by Van den Dries at the Faculty of Archaeology in 2015.

Another main activity of the NEARCH project was to conduct a large scale survey among 500 Dutch participants on their perception of heritage and archaeology, and to compare it with other European countries and with a Dutch public survey of twenty years ago (see publications).

In January 2018 the results were presented in university news article (in Dutch).

Economies of Destruction (2015-2020)

In 2014 she assisted in the application of the NWO VICI ‘Economies of destruction’ of Prof.dr. Fontijn. As a ‘heritage advisor’ to the project, her role centres around innovative dissemination strategies, which will be developed towards the final stage of the project.

See the project website for more information.

Other activities

In 2009 and 2012 Van den Dries was elected to the executive board of the European Association of Archaeologists (EAA), in which she operated as vice-president between 2010 and 2015. During this period she served the EAA’s scientific committee, its jury of the Student Award, and she participated on behalf of the EAA in the Discovering the Archaeologists of Europe project (2012-2014).

Currently, she serves the editorial (advisory) boards of the Journal of Community Archaeology and Heritage, the Society of American Archaeologists’ journal Advances in Archaeological Practice, and the Faculty of Archaeology’s Inter-Section: Innovative approaches by Junior Archaeological Researchers.

She serves the Faculty of Archaeology’s board of examiners (as examination specialist) since 2011 and in 2015 she was appointed as external examiner by University College London.

She has been appointed member of the curatorium of prof. Halbertsma, who holds a chair (Extraordinary Professor) in the field of Museum Archaeology, and the curatorium of prof. D.J. de Vries, who holds a chair in the History of Building.

She is a member of Interpret Europe and a research member of the Centre for Global Heritage and Development.

Associate professor / department chairwoman

  • Faculteit Archeologie
  • Archaeological Heritage
  • Archaeology and Cultural Politics

Work address

Van Steenis
Einsteinweg 2
2333 CC Leiden
Room number B206




  • Stichting Archeologie & Publiek Bestuurslid, Bestuurlijke activiteiten
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