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Current Issues in Applied Archaeology


Admission requirements

Admission to the Master Archaeology programme Applied Archaeology.


Contemporary archaeology is multidisciplinary. Present-day archaeology is not just about doing scientific research, it is about applying archaeology. Besides executing research, archaeologists must be aware of protecting heritage, they are communicators, have a keen eye for the public and are able to make the public part of their research. They understand and are able to explain the relevance and impact of archaeological research.

In this course students are introduced to the broad spectrum of applied archaeology and the interrelatedness of the different disciplines therein.
Through lectures and related tutorials about current issues in applied archaeology students are confronted with the various scientific and societal frameworks for present-day archaeological practice.
From project-based field archaeology within a professional context, site and heritage management, to contributing to debates about global sustainable development goals.

Course set-up

Subjects (subjects can change per year):

1. What is Applied Archaeology?
This lecture introduces the multi, inter- and transdisciplinary character of applied archaeology: when are you applying archaeology? Is not all archaeology applied archaeology?

2. Archaeology = Heritage!
Different approaches to heritage management; site management, protection and monitoring; sustainable preservation and the long-term consequences.

3. The commercialisation of archaeological fieldwork!
Present-day archaeologists often execute project-based fieldwork, within a professional, commercial context. What are the pros and cons of executing fieldwork in a professional context? Is it a challenge or burden?

4. Being an ethical and professional archaeologist ‘Who owns the past’? Are archaeologists stewards of heritage? How do archaeologists deal with different memories/perceptions of conflict heritage?

5. Democratisation of the past!
About public archaeology, citizen science and community archaeology. Important questions: how do we reconstruct the past, who owns the past, why do we excavate?

6. Workshop Entrepreneurial Archaeology
Are archaeologists entrepreneurs? What are the opportunities for entrepreneurship in (archaeological) heritage?

7. The Past Matters!
About contributing to societal issues and challenges about e.g. climate change, and nature development and sustainable development goals; knowledge utilisation; social return on investment: the role of heritage and archaeology.

Course objectives

Ability to:

  • Define the field of Applied Archaeology in a global perspective;

  • Apply the methods and techniques of the Leiden/Saxion school of field and heritage archaeology;

  • Formulate a research proposal, translate this into a workable research approach and being able to execute this (in a professional context);

  • Be aware of the various discussions and innovations within archaeology and heritage (including technological developments and innovations) and being able to apply them;

  • Be aware of ethical issues of archaeological research and heritage management (in present-day societies);

  • Gain insight in the possibilities and opportunities of public archaeology, awareness and involvement;

  • Gain insight in the societal context of (applied) archaeology (law, spatial planning, spatial integration of archaeological sites, (project) management, policy, conservation monitoring of sites) and being able to reflect on the long-term consequences;

  • Formulate a properly argumented opinion on
    1) the social value/benefit of archaeology in general
    2) why we excavate
    3) 3) current societal issues;

  • Relate the different disciplines and aspects of contemporary archaeology.


Course schedule details can be found in MyTimetable.
Log in with your ULCN account, and add this course using the 'Add timetable' button.

Mode of instruction

2 x 2 hours per week (with two days in between). The first class each week consists of a formal lecture. In the second class each week an assignment will be discussed (e.g. by presentation, paper, discussion, etc.).

Assessment method

  • A pass for the first assignment. The grade is based on the next 6 group assignments (6×16,6% = 100%).

The assignments must be submitted through Turnitin.

A retake of an assignment is not possible, a fail for an assignment can be compensated by other assignments.

Assessment deadlines

All assessment deadlines (exams, retakes, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in MyTimetable.
Log in with your ULCN account, and add this course using the 'Add timetable' button. To view the assessment deadline(s), make sure to select the course with a code ending in T and/or R.

The weekly assignments have strict deadlines (2 hours before the start of each tutorial) and are made in small groups.

Reading list

To be announced on Brightspace, in the study manual.


Enrolment through MyStudymap is mandatory.

General information about registration can be found on the Course and Exam Enrolment page.


For more information about this course, please contact dr. R. (Richard) Jansen.


Compulsory attendance.