The Master's programme in Archaeology comprises 60 ECTS credits. Students from both specialisations follow three courses (18 ECTS) together. In addition, each specialisation has two exclusive courses (12 ECTS). There is also a possibility to follow specialised skills courses or individual internships (with a maximum of 12 ECTS). The programme ends with a thesis or end project (18 ECTS).
The objectives of the core modules that are followed by students of both specialisations are to explore themes that are relevant in modern archaeology. These courses incorporate case studies from European and Mediterranean archaeology.
Even though archaeology primarily is focused on material remains, you will make much use of historical sources as well. By discussing case-studies from the Mediterranean and Europe in various periods, you will become acquainted with the pitfalls and possibilities of combining material, pictorial and written sources.
In this course, the theoretical and practical basis of various digital approaches used in Archaeology will be treated, as well as their position within the discipline and the broader field of Heritage Studies. Students will learn to become ‘critical consumers’ of digital approaches in research practice as well as in science communication.
Doing research is a key skill in academic and in heritage archaeology. In this course, you will be trained in the first stages of a research process: the design of the research. You will work with staff members and experience which steps are needed to create a research project. You will cooperate in small groups, in which you will have a clearly defined role, so you will acquire specific (digital) skills.
In the specialisation courses you are taught the latest knowledge of specific fields and recent methods and skills in (digital) archaeology.
Human mobility and migration have become important themes in archaeology in the last decade. In this course, you will learn the main theoretical and methodological approaches to this theme. And you will learn to apply them to specific case studies in Europe and the Mediterranean.
Archaeology is never carried out in an ivory tower, but part of society. Archaeology as heritage deals with issues of group identity. In this course, you will learn about the archaeological infrastructures in different European countries and the choices that are being made in order to make archaeological remains visible in the present and in the future.
This course will introduce students to the theoretical principles of creating 3D visualizations and virtual reconstructions in research fields dealing with the human past (e.g., archaeology, heritage studies), and will foster the development of practical skills in 3D reconstruction. Students will learn the fundamentals of reporting on and justifying decisions made during the scientific process.
In this course, students will learn to apply specific digital methods and techniques at an advanced level to all aspects of current archaeological practice, from research design to data collection and analysis to presentation and sharing of research outcomes.
Modules with the explicit objective to acquire research skills and to work in a small team are taught in blocks 2, 3 and 4 for the specialisation of European and Mediterranean Archaeology. Together, these classes cover the full research process: from design, through data and analysis to research reporting. In these classes, you cooperate in small teams of students on research projects by ACASA Archaeology staff and focus either on European or Mediterranean case-studies. It is possible to drop the research sills course in block 3 in favor of an internship.
In blocks 1 and 2 alternative courses can be followed instead of the scheduled courses. These two courses allow you to incorporate knowledge and skills on heritage in your programme.
In this course, you will explore rural and urban Landscapes and the role that the past has in it. You will become familiar with heritage concepts, such as biography or contested landscapes.
In this course, you will explore the role of museums in presenting the past to the public. You will engage yourselves actively with the archaeological collection of the Allard Pierson in interdisciplinary groups with students from other programmes.
The specialisation in Digital Archaeology has several possibilities to do an internship, for example at the UvA’s 4D Research Lab. Students in European and Mediterranean Archaeology can follow an internship instead of the research skills course of block 3 in January, for instance at the Allard Pierson Museum, the City of Amsterdam, Dutch heritage institutions, or elsewhere.
You will learn essential skills for research including research design, data analysis and research reporting. You can further develop these skills through an individual assignment at one of the UvA/VU Amsterdam’s current research locations in the Netherlands or in the Mediterranean, at fieldwork projects in Greece. You can also do a fieldwork assignment in North-Western and Central Europe through research projects led by staff members. Archaeological fieldwork, which takes place in close cooperation with the local archaeological services and international partners, consists of excavations, field surveys, remote sensing, digital applications and landscape analysis.
The Master’s thesis is an important part of the programme, enabling you to conduct independent 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. A Master’s thesis seminar is offered to prepare you for the assignment. Thanks to the cooperation between the two universities a wide array of topics are available for supervision.
As an alternative for writing a Thesis, students in the specialisation Digital Archaeology and Heritage may also opt for a Master’s Project: an individual assignment (or group assignment) that is related to an archaeological or heritage research question and results in a digital product, such as e.g. a digital reconstruction or model, or a software application. The Master’s Project also includes an individual, written report, which not only describes the process of development and the results, but also discusses the starting points, approach and methods chosen, and reflects on these choices at a theoretical level.
Located within a UNESCO World Heritage site – the 17th-century canal ring – the University of Amsterdam is the perfect location to study historical archaeology and the role of heritage in society.Prof. dr. James Symonds
Students with excellent results during a Master’s programme are encouraged to continue their studies in one of our Research Master’s programmes. If you decide to switch programmes and are admitted before the start of the second semester, you will be able to transfer all credits earned in the first semester to your Research Master’s degree programme. In case you join later, the Examinations Board determines which courses qualify for the Research Master’s programme.
Within ACASA, there are two Research Master’s programmes, which would be suitable for a continuation of your studies: