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Architecture as a Source for Historical Reconstruction in the ancient Near East


Admission requirements

The course is designed for MA and ResMA students, as well as PhD candidates of Humanities and Archaeology. In case of oversubscription, ResMA and PhD-students are prioritized.


The aim of this course is to understand different discourses in southwest Asian archaeology regarding the studies of monumental and domestic architecture. We will investigate how architecture has been used within the discipline of archaeology to reconstruct past living conditions and to understand ideologies of ancient societies.
The course will be divided into three parts: theory, methods, and discourses. The first two parts on theories and methods teach the participants how to understand studies about architecture and provide a possible starting point for one’s own research. In the third part, we will discuss specific discourses of architectural studies in ancient southwest Asia, like the discussion about the connection between cultural complexity and monumental architecture. These insights will enable students to conceptualize and formulate their own research questions and to go beyond the current state of investigation. In the last session, we will visit the archaeological open-air museum Archeon to reflect on the use of architecture in knowledge transfer and to reflect on the course in general.

Course objectives

After the course, the participants should be able to:
*Identify and critically evaluate/assess common methods, theories relating to architecture in ancient societies;
*Identify and critically evaluate the most influential discourses about architecture in Southwest Asian archaeology;
*Formulate research questions regarding architecture in Southwest Asian archaeology


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method


*Written assignment, essays: 65%
*Oral presentation of keytexts: 25%
*Weekly reading task and class participation: 10%



The resit assignment will be determined in consultation with the lecturer.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

To be announced. The following publications offer a useful introduction:
Lefebvre (2009): The production of space. Malden: Blackwell Publisher.
Löw (2016): The Sociology of Space: Materiality, Social Structures, and Action.
Kent (1990): Domestic Architecture and the use of space. Cambidge: Cambridge university press.
Buccellati et al. (2019): Size Matters - Understanding Monumentality Across Ancient Civilizations. Berlin: transcript Verlag.


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.
General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Vrieshof


This course is part of the OIKOS program. If you want to take this course as part of OIKOS but are not a student at Leiden University, please contact for more information on how to enroll.