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New Techniques in Archaeological Research of the Levant

6 ECTS credits
150 h study time

Offer 2 with catalog number 4014539FNR for all students in the 2nd semester at a (F) Master - specialised level.

Information about this course is applicable on academic year 2017-2018.

2nd semester
Enrollment based on exam contract
Grading method

Grading (scale from 0 to 20)

Can retake in second session
Taught in
Faculty of Arts and Philosophy
Responsible organisation
History, Archaeology, Arts, Philosophy and Ethics
Educational Team:
Activities and contact hours
  • 13 contact hours Lecture
  • 65 contact hours Independent or External Form of Study
Course content

The course provides an overview of the archeology, material culture and history of the cultures of the Levant (Canaan, Phoenicia, Syria ...) and their interactions with and impact on neighboring regions (Cyprus, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Anatolia ...). Recent developments in archaeological fieldwork and current research on the material culture of the Levant are further explored, by discussing and evaluating concrete applications of state-of-the-art techniques and technologies (methodology - scope - potential – current issues).

This overview is covered in a first section of the course, consisting of lectures. These are complemented with 8 hours of guest lectures and interactive workshops. For the previous academic years, for example, the following guest speakers have presented their research in the fields of:

- Drones and aerial photography for survey and excavations (Dr. Bruno Overlaet, RMAH)
- New imaging technologies in archaeology (Drs. Hendrik Hameeuw, RMAH-KU Leuven)
- Dendroprovenance and strontium isotope analysis (Dr. Sara Rich, Southampton)
- Glass technology (Dr. Peter Cosyns, VUB)

The third section (4 hours) consists of individual case studies presented by the students, confronting and associating the subject matters treated in the first two sections of the course (lectures and workshops). More specifically, the students present a chosen Levantine site (excavation history, major finds, imports and contacts with other cultures, regional importance) and critically evaluate a paper they will have to read on a particular method (for example on drones, petrography, carbon dating ...). They report to fellow students in the form of a PowerPoint presentation and submit a short written report. This third section presents 50% of the final grade.

Course material
  • Course text (Required): Nieuwe technieken in het archeologisch onderzoek van de Levant, Nota’s te nemen door de studenten.
  • Digital course material (Required): Tekst- en beeldmateriaal wordt uitgedeeld tijdens de les en/of ter beschikking gesteld via het teleleerplatform PointCarré.
Additional info

Guest lectures are supplemented with visits to laboratories, but these displacements take place within Brussels (VUB campus or Royal Museums of Art and History).

Programme Objectives

General competences

General competences:

Scientifically based critical attitude:

- Knowledge and understanding of the different approaches to the archeology of the Levant and to intercultural connections in this region (including the most important scientific studies, current debates, technological developments and interdisciplinary research)
- Individual critical reflection on the application of new techniques and technologies in the field and in laboratories by means of interactive workshops, guest lectures, case study assignment (student presentations).

Specific skills:

Gain insights into:

- the history and archeology of the Levant, from the Early Bronze Age to the Persian period, including recent developments in scientific research (theory and practice);
- the issue of interacting cultures in the region and how this is reflected in the material culture of Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Cyprus, Turkey and Egypt;
- the dynamics created in recent years by the application of new archaeometrical, surveying and registration methods, particularly in the study of interacting cultures in the Levant (origin, composition and dating of materials, 3D imaging ...).


General competences for Master students:

Learning outcomes - Content

1. A Master of Art Studies and Archaeology has an indepth and critical insight into major trends, pivotal moments and the most relevant witnesses of European art history and archaeology, from prehistory to the present.

2. A Master of Art Studies and Archaeology has an indepth understanding of the iconographic, stylistic and technical aspects of artistic and material culture.

3. A Master of Art Studies and Archaeology combines this knowledge with a knowledge of the broad cultural and social context and has an indepth understanding of how artistic production and material culture act as drivers for changing cultural, social, economic and ideological values.

4. A Master of Art Studies and Archaeology has an indepth understanding of the historical and current relationships between heritage, institutions and society.

5. A Master of Art Studies and Archaeology has an indepth understanding of current heuristic and analytical research techniques connected with the chosen specialisation.

Learning outcomes - Skills

6. A Master of Art Studies and Archaeology can formulate independently a problem and the corresponding research questions within the fields of the history of art, archaeology or critical heritage studies.

7. A Master of Art Studies and Archaeology examines primary sources independently and produce a critical, international literature study on a specific problem.

8. A Master of Art Studies and Archaeology selects and uses, independently, adequate qualitative and/or quantitative research methods to provide a response to specific research questions.

9. A Master of Art Studies and Archaeology is an interdisciplinary researcher who can integrate into his/her own research the knowledge, understanding and/or skills of other disciplines in a critical fashion.

10. A Master of Art Studies and Archaeology reports orally and in writing on his/her research findings in Dutch and in English to various target groups.

11. A Master of Art Studies and Archaeology has indepth experience of and a critical approach to the exhibition practices, heritage conservation, field research and/or materials study corresponding to the chosen specialisation.


12. A Master of Art Studies and Archaeology facilitates dialogue and the involvement of present-day stakeholders through intermediation and cultural brokerage.

Learning outcomes - Attitudes

13. A Master of Art Studies and Archaeology has a critical, investigative and ethical attitude reflecting intellectual curiosity and honesty and a positive attitude towards life-long learning.

14. A Master of Art Studies and Archaeology is inventive, creative and has learnt to find his own path, with an open mind and free of prejudice.

15. A Master of Art Studies and Archaeology is prepared to apply humanist values to promote the sustainable development of social well-being. He/she is a citizen of the world, who can take on the current and future challenges of a globalising society.

16. A Master of Art Studies and Archaeology can deal independently with complex problems, reflect on his own thinking and actions, is flexible and can cooperate in a multidisciplinary environment. He/she is also prepared for a broad spectrum of professional opportunities where he can take on suitable responsibilities.


The final grade is composed based on the following categories:

  • Oral Exam determines 50% of the final mark.
  • SELF Presentation determines 50% of the final mark.

Within the Oral Exam category, the following assignments need to be completed:

Schriftelijk examen with a relative weight of 1 which comprises 50% of the final mark.

Note: schriftelijk examen over de leerstof die tijdens de hoorcolleges is aan bod gekomen.

Within the SELF Presentation category, the following assignments need to be completed:

Presentation case study with a relative weight of 1 which comprises 50% of the final mark.

Note: individuele uitdieping en presentatie van een casestudy.

Additional info with regard to grading

The 2nd session is a new exam in which the student must answer two questions in detail on the subject matter thought during the course.