Monique van den Dries
The Faculty of Archaeology of Leiden University is the only archaeology faculty in the Netherlands. This independence makes it possible to pursue an efficient and stimulating policy in the fields of education and research, and to take advantage of new developments. The faculty is located in the Reuvens Building on the Reuvensplaats.
The ambition of the faculty is to develop into a prominent archaeological research and training centre at a European level. In European terms, the faculty is an averagely-sized institute, with a wide range of specializations and several specialist (laboratory) facilities. Leiden can pride itself on a long archaeological tradition, going back to Professor Reuvens at the beginning of the 19th century.
Apart from the traditionally strong Prehistory of Northwestern Europe and Classical Archaeology, Leiden offers (as the only university in the Netherlands) a specialization in the Palaeolithic, and in the archaeology of the civilizations of the Near East, Asia, and the Americas, as well as a number of archaeological sciences, such as pollen analysis, archaeozoology, computer applications, ceramology, and microwear analysis.
The variety of non-western language and culture studies within the Faculty of Arts (CNWS), and the presence in Leiden of the National Museums of Ethnology and Antiquities, as well as Naturalis, are also enhancing factors.
A clearly social responsibility of archaeology is the care of the material heritage of past cultures. International treaties (for instance Valetta) state that archaeological investigations should be carried out prior to large building projects. The faculty is active in this field via a commercial company. Hence, students get quickly involved in the practical side (traineeships) of archaeology, with attention to the managerial side of archaeological work. In addition, the faculty has agreements of cooperation with local archaeological services in the surroundings (Leiden, The Hague, Delft).
At present, the faculty has a strong market position in the Netherlands. In the last few years, the faculty has been able to welcome more than 80 new students annually. At present, the total number of students amounts to about 350.
Within the Faculty of Archaeology the Archaeological Heritage Management programme is a relatively young field of research. It was started in 2006 with the appointment of Prof.dr. W.J.H. Willems to the chair for international archaeological heritage management. Archaeological heritage management is a very broad field of research. It is concerned with the identification, protection, management and preservation of the material remains of human activity in the past (of whatever period and in whichever region of the world) and with the interaction that this involves with all kinds of stakeholders.
At present the research topics of the heritage management section of the Faculty of Archaeology vary from the modern management of archaeological resources (sites and finds) and requirements of sustainable development, to the challenges of commercial archaeology and the endeavour to find efficient methods of public engagement. This encompasses archaeological resources on both land and underwater.
Monique van den Dries
Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University