Master in Archaeology: Archaeology of North Western Europe


Program Description

In the Master’s degree programme Archaeology of Northwestern Europe, you will investigate over 3,000 years of European archaeology and focus on the cultural dynamics of one of these two key European eras: Late Iron Age and Roman Period or the Medieval and Early Modern Period.

The programme offers you the rare opportunity to explore European archaeology through the study of landscapes, material culture and documentary sources, but also through integration processes in the Roman Empire. Close links exist between the teaching subjects and the results of current fieldwork and other research projects.

Two European Eras
In this Master’s programme you can choose between two regional archaeological eras. The focus area Late Iron Age and Roman Period explores the integration of Celtic/Germanic societies of the Iron Age into the Roman Empire. The field of study Medieval and Early Modern Period focuses on the origins and developments of medieval trade and exchange, the growth of Amsterdam and the expansion of European capitalism with the colonisation of the New World.

Why study Archaeology in Amsterdam?

  • This Master’s degree programme is offered by two universities. The University of Amsterdam and VU Amsterdam combined their expertise on the field of ancient history and archaeology in the Amsterdam Centre for Ancient Studies and Archaeology (ACASA). This merging of specialists from various academic disciplines creates a stimulating environment for collaboration and study.
  • A world-class education: the UvA is specialized in Archaeology of the Middle Ages and is ranked highest in the Netherlands.
    VU Amsterdam has a leading position in the field of late prehistory and the Roman era in Northwestern Europe.
  • The opportunity to study historical archaeology at leading research universities in Amsterdam, a vibrant European hub with a rich historical and cultural heritage.
  • The programme has forged strong ties with a number of archaeological institutions, such as the Allard Pierson Museum.
  • You will have hands-on experience in one of the UvA/VU Amsterdam’s research excavations or field survey projects.

This is what you will be doing
The Master's programme Archaeology of Northwestern Europe comprises three core courses and two shared courses. You can tailor the programme to your own interests by choosing an elective from a wide range of Master’s programmes. Each student must either do a research tutorial or an internship, and complete an individual Master’s thesis.

Programme structure
The programme comprises 60 ECTS credits:

  • 18 credits for Core courses
  • 12 credits for Shared courses
  • 6 credits for Electives
  • 6 credits for Tutorial
  • 18 credits for a Master’s thesis

The programme offers two focus areas from which you can choose:

  1. The Late Iron Age and Roman Period
  2. The Medieval and Early Modern Period

1. The Late Iron Age and Roman Period:
You will explore the integration of Celtic and Germanic societies of the Iron Age into the Roman Empire. It combines results from recent fieldwork and material culture studies with recent debates about regionality, globalisation and interconnectivity.

Core courses
- Approaches to the Late Iron Age and Roman Countryside
- Money in the Ancient World
- Ceramics in Archaeology

2. The Medieval and Early Modern Period:
You will explore the roots of modern Europe and the transition from the medieval world to the early modern world. The results of recent fieldwork are combined with current debates about the growth of global trade, migration, colonialism, and globalisation.

Core courses
- From Feudalism to Capitalism
- Archaeology of Global Amsterdam
- Biography of Landscapes

Shared courses:
- Cutting Edge in Archaeology: Human Mobility
- Archaeology, Heritage and Society

An elective can be chosen from a wide range of courses, in related fields such as archaeology, heritage studies, history, ancient studies or classics.

This Master’s programme includes an individual tutorial, in which you can either conduct your own archaeological research, head out to undertake fieldwork or do an internship at a museum or heritage institution.

You will learn essential skills for doing fieldwork, like analysing, reporting and presenting field data, but also managing and conducting fieldwork. You can develop these skills through a tutorial at one of UvA/VU Amsterdam’s current research locations in the Netherlands and in the Mediterranean, at fieldwork projects in Italy (Satricum and Muro Tenente), Turkey (Troy) and in Greece (Karystos and Halos). Archaeological fieldwork, which takes place in close cooperation with the local archaeological services, consists of excavations, field surveys, remote sensing and landscape analysis.

An important part of the programme, the Master’s thesis enables you to conduct original research under the supervision of one of the staff members. The subject of the thesis must be mutually agreed upon by the student and the academic adviser.

Last updated Nov 2019

About the School

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 150 English taught programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to 23,00 ... Read More

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 150 English taught programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to 23,000 students from all over the world. Students and staff of 130 nationalities create a dynamic international academic community. The University distinguishes itself in research and education through four interdisciplinary themes: Human Health and Life Sciences, Science for Sustainability, Connected World and Governance for Society. Read less