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Archaeological Science Specialisation Course: Digital Archaeology


Admission requirements

  • BA or BSc degree in Archaeology or a closely related discipline;

  • Admission to the MSc Archaeology programme Archaeological Science;

  • Knowledge about and skills in Field Techniques and Geographic Information Systems on a level corresponding to the Leiden BA courses on these topics.


Digital data and tools have become an indispensable element of current archaeological practice. Used correctly, they help to make the archaeological workflow more efficient, versatile, safe, and transparent.

But Digital Archaeology is more than that. Recent developments in computational methods and techniques open up new ways of investigating the human past that have a transforming impact on how we create and share archaeological knowledge. Examples of these new approaches include:

  • Open Science and Citizen Science

  • Procedural Modelling

  • Simulation Modelling

  • Remote Sensing

  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

  • Archaeogaming

In this course, through a mix of lectures, practical exercises and reading/writing assignments, we will get acquainted with the theory and practice of selected approaches. The focus will be on current trends and challenges.

We will furthermore discuss the role of Digital Archaeology within the wider discipline. You will be required to write an essay on this or a related topic during the course. The essays will serve as a starting point for a group discussion during the final class.

This course is intended to give a broad overview of Digital Archaeology and its sub-fields. In-depth practical skills can be acquired in other MSc courses, e.g. Quantitative Methods in Archaeology or Data Analysis with Python.

Course set-up

Prior to or during each class, one of the topics listed above will be introduced through a (pre-recorded) lecture, followed by reading/writing or a practical assignment on the same topic. Then the students have one week to work on their assignments, until the next class during which the assignments will be presented and discussed. Depending on the number of participants, the assignments might be group assignments.

Course objectives

To provide students with a thorough knowledge of current issues in Digital Archaeology, and the role of digital data and computational tools within archaeology. At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Present an overview of current trends in Digital Archaeology;

  • Identify relevant data and tools for selected sub-fields of Digital Archaeology;

  • Conduct practical exercises in selected sub-fields of Digital Archaeology and present them to their peers;

  • Form an informed opinion on the role of Digital Archaeology on a theoretical level, and present and substantiate it in writing as well as in a group discussion.


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

  • Lectures, live or pre-recorded;

  • Practical exercises, partly in groups;

  • Plenary (group) presentations and discussion;

  • Essay writing.

Assessment method

  • (Group) presentations in class (50%);

  • Final essay (50%).

The final grade will be the average of the partial grades of the presentations and the final essay.
Only the final essay can be retaken, and only by students who submitted a final essay and received a fail grade. The topic of the retake essay will be different from the topic of the original essay.

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 final essay is due ca. 3 days before the final class, so it can be discussed in that class.

Reading list

  • Evans, T.L. & P. Daly (eds), 2005.* Digital Archaeology: Bridging Method and Theory*. London: Routledge;

  • Lock, G., 2003. Using Computers in Archaeology: Towards Virtual Pasts. London, Routledge.


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. K. (Karsten) Lambers.


  • Compulsory attendance;

  • Students are required to use their own laptops/computers for some of the weekly assignments that include practical exercises.