Archaeology and Society


Course Objective

Students who have successfully completed this course will have:
1. acquired knowledge on the discourses of the value of (archaeological)
heritage for society and the paradigms for defining archaeology as
current practice;
2. developed sensitivity to the values and interests of different
stakeholders regarding archaeological heritage, and to the role of
archaeological professionals and heritage managers viz-a-viz these
values and interests;
3. acquired knowledge of European treaties and national (legal)
frameworks and regulations regarding archaeological heritage;
4. acquired knowledge of the roles and responsibilities in the
management of archaeological heritage, as well as insight in the job
market and archaeological workforce in Europe;
5. acquired knowledge of current issues in archaeological heritage
6. developed a critical attitude towards the role and organization of
archaeology within society and the agenda for the future.
7. developed concepts and skills to contribute to policies and
presentations in archaeological heritage management, education and
8. made important steps in the creation of your own professional
identity and attitudes regarding heritage and reached awareness of the
opportunities and limitations of Heritage Management for your own

Course Content

The modern archaeological world has grown rapidly beyond academic
practice and deals with conservation issues, land use planning, ecology,
sustainable development, tourism, leisure activities, heritage education
and peoples understanding of the past. This widening of scope and
practice gives rise to a wider job market and demands broader skill
sets. This course offers insight in these developments and, more in
general, in modern Archaeological Heritage and Archaeological Heritage
Management in a broad European context. On the one side, the course
offers a general insight into the way European countries have translated
the European treaties concerning Archaeological Heritage into national
policies. The students will learn how different basic (political)
choices made on a national level have profound impact on the way
archaeologists collect, analyse and publish their field data, how
archaeological work is being financed, as well as on how the results are
being communicated with the general public. On the other side, students
are being stimulated to develop their own view on the position of
archaeological heritage in the much broader field of Heritage
Management, by discussing more theoretical texts on these topics. In
this way, the students will be equipped with both practical knowledge
about the organization of European archaeology and an awareness of the
larger issues and tensions of the discipline of Archaeology within
present society.

Teaching Methods

The course is a 6 ECTS module and consists of two lectures and/or
seminars a week, and a group research assignment. Some lectures will be
delivered by archaeologists working in the public and private sectors.

Method of Assessment

The course will be assessed by a research assignment, using the learning
content of the lecture classes and associated literature. In case the
assignment is not passed, it can be re-submitted at the end of the
The class room discussions as well as two presentations (quick-off phase
and mid-term) of the course will be assessed and must be sufficient


Compulsory literature will be made available through Canvas

Target Audience

Accessible for MA students in all Archaeology programs, Classics
and Ancient Civilisations, Museum Studies, Heritage Studies and Art

Custom Course Registration

This module is taught at the UvA by dr. H. van Londen (UvA), dr. J.G. Aarts (VU) and prof. dr. G.L.M. Burgers (VU) (UvA subject code 140412226Y). Module registration with a UvaNetID at the UvA is required. Please note that course registration periods at the UvA and VU differ. For a ‘step-by-step guide to course and exam registration’ and the ‘dates for course and exam registration’ please consult the ‘course and exam registration’-page via the ‘A-Z list’ of your MA programme on

General Information

Course Code L_AAMAARC015
Credits 6 EC
Period P5
Course Level 400
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator dr. H. van Londen
Examiner dr. H. van Londen
Teaching Staff prof. dr. G.L.M. Burgers
dr. H. van Londen
dr. J.G. Aarts

Practical Information

You cannot register for this course yourself; your faculty's education office carries out registration

Teaching Methods Seminar
Target audiences

This course is also available as: