West-European Archaeology research group

Our research group consists of a broad team with an international reputation in various fields of research. Our expertise extends to the study of Celtic-Germanic communities and their integration in the Roman empire; archaeological research on ancient cultural landscapes based on state-of-the-art GIS applications; and the theoretical and practical study of the role of archaeological heritage from the past for modern-day society and the society of the future. Our focus on the archaeology of conflict and mass violence from prehistorical times up to the Second World War is unique in the Netherlands.

Our focus areas

  • Integration of local communities in the Roman empire
  • GIS and computer-simulated models of economic and spatial relationships
  • Geo-archaeology and landscape studies
  • Archaeology of conflict and mass violence
  • Cult places and archaeology of religion and ritual
  • Numismatics and the ancient economy


  • Interdisciplinary focus, building bridges between historical sciences, cultural anthropology and natural sciences
  • Balance between theoretical and methodological innovation on the one hand and material studies and archaeological fieldwork on the other
  • Geographical focus on the Netherlands, but always from a European perspective

Institutional embedding
The research of the research group is embedded in CLUE+, the interfaculty research institute. Our team also actively contributes to the Environmental Humanities Center.

The research group provides bachelor’s education on the period spanning late prehistoric times up to Roman times in West Europe. In the master’s programme in Archaeology, we provide modules inspired by our own current research (Approaches to the Late Iron Age and Roman Countryside, Archaeology of Conflict, Objects of Religion), as well as the core course on Ethnicity for the research master’s programme, and the course in Latin Epigraphy in cooperation with the The Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome and the OIKOS research school.

Our excellent results in attracting external funding (especially from NWO) are testament to the quality of the research group. Our current projects are:

  • Finding the limits of the limes (Dr Philip Verhagen), studies the relationship between agrarian land use, settlement patterns and transport networks on the Roman borders.
  • Portable Antiquities in the Netherlands/PAN (Prof. Nico Roymans / Dr Stijn Heeren). This sizeable project started in June 2016, focusing on the systematic inventorization of all metal objects (jewellery, coins, weapons, etc.) from the bronze age up to the middle ages in the private collections of amateur archaeologists working with metal detectors. These private collections hold enormous scientific value, but have never been systematically documented. The PAN project aims to develop a national online database for metal objects that can be accessed by academics and heritage specialists, as well as the public.
  • Roman imperialist expansion and the use of mass violence during the conquest of Northern Gaul (Prof. Nico Roymans), aims to give an idea of the dramatic social impact of the Roman invasion on local indigenous communities in the Low Countries
  • Buried Landscapes of War: The archaeology and heritage of the Second World War in The Netherlands (Max van der Schriek), investigates the potential of a new field of research in the Netherlands from the perspective of landscape and heritage.
  • Decline and fall? Social and cultural dynamics in the Low Countries in the Late Roman Empire (Prof. Nico Roymans/Prof. Wim Declercq, Gent), aims to synthesize the social and cultural developments in the Low countries and environs in the Late-Roman period.

Staff members of the Archaeology of West Europe research group

Professors and academic staff

Prof. Nico Roymans (late prehistorical and Roman times in NW Europe, conflict archaeology)
Prof. Hans Renes (heritage of city and country, landscape history)
Dr Ton Derks (Roman religion, Latin epigraphy, Roman army)
Dr Joris Aarts (Roman numismatics, the ancient economy, archaeological heritage)
Dr Sjoerd Kluiving (landscape archaeology, geology, Anthropocene)
Dr Philip Verhagen (digital landscape modelling, avanced GIS-applications)
Dr Stijn Heeren (Late-Roman archaeology,metal detection, public archaeology, database systems)
Prof. Jos Bazelmans (endowed professor, the Foundations of Monument care)

Endowed professors
Prof. Jos Bazelmans (endowed professor, the Foundations of Monument care)

Support staff
Bert Brouwenstijn (archeological drawing, cartography, desktop publishing, 3D illustrations)
Jaap Fokkema (IT-support for archaeological fieldwork)
Anne van Hilst (field technician/ field coordinator/ depot management)
Benno Ridderhof (IT-support for the visualization of field data)


For over two decades, the research group has organized an annual symposium on current developments in Roman archaeology in the Netherlands and neighbouring countries.

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