(For English, see below)
In het kader van het project Science4U komen middelbare scholieren van het Stedelijk Gymnasium in Leiden een aantal keer op bezoek bij het Economies of Destruction-team om te zien hoe archeologisch wetenschappelijk onderzoek in zijn werk gaat en zelf een onderzoeksproject uit te voeren. Afgelopen vrijdag was de enthousiaste groep voor het eerst op bezoek en hebben de scholieren kennis gemaakt met de centrale vragen rond bronstijddeposities, de vernietiging van waardevolle bronzen voorwerpen en de rol van het landschap hierin. Ook hebben zij de verschillende laboratoria aan de Faculteit der Archeologie bezocht om te kijken wat voor onderzoek er plaatsvindt en hoe dit gebeurt. De komende drie ochtenden gaan we o.a. de bronzen voorwerpen zelf en het landschap waarin ze gedeponeerd zijn nader onderzoeken. We zijn heel benieuwd welke ideeën de scholieren hebben over bronstijddeposities!

As part of the project Science4U, high school students from the Stedelijk Gymnasium in Leiden are visiting the Economies of Destruction team to see how archaeological research is carried out and to carry out a research project themselves. Last Friday, the enthusiastic group came for their first visit, and the students became acquainted with the central questions around Bronze Age depositions, the destruction of valuable bronze objects and the role of the landscape within these practices. They also visited the laboratories of the Faculty of Archaeology to experience what kind of research is taking place and how this is done. In the next three sessions, we are going to investigate the bronze objects and the landscape in which they were deposited. We are excited to hear the students’ ideas about Bronze Age depositions!

Text and pictures by Marieke Visser/Sabrina Autenrieth


Lunula XXIV in Brugge

This year’s metal ages conference Lunula took place in the wonderful  city of Brugge in Belgium. The programme contained presentations about current excavations in Belgium, new 14C dates, Bronze Age buttons, mysterious caves in Scotland, Belgian research history and many more interesting talks. After the presentations, the participants were invited to the reception in Brugge’s town hall. First the deputy major told the story about the Brugse Zot, one of the two beers brewed in the city center of Brugge, later everyone was able to enjoy one or more glasses of this delicate Brugge beer.

Text and pictures by Sabrina Autenrieth

Meet the team: Postdocs

Dr. Cătălin Popa

Catalin_PictureCătălin is a postdoctoral researcher in archaeology. He graduated from Babeș-Bolyai University in 2008 and obtained his MPhil and PhD from the University of Cambridge. Between 2014 and May 2016 he was a Dahlem Research School fellow in the TOPOI Excellence Cluster, Freie Universität Berlin.

Cătălin has a great interest in the identity puzzle, both prehistoric and contemporary. As part of his PhD research, he investigated large group identity in the Late Iron Age of Europe. Additionally, he has looked at the relationship between archaeology and nationalism, as well as the role of archaeology in the construction of contemporary regional and national identities.

Another of Cătălin’s interests lies in the area of computer applications in archaeology. He has developed a highly flexible algorithm for investigating prehistoric identity and created landscape models that consider humans’ sensorial capabilities.

In the Economies of Destruction project, Cătălin’s role is to develop a GIS model that can help us understand why particular places were chosen by Bronze Age people for depositional practices. What did prehistoric people perceive at these places? What elements of their landscape did they find significant when making their choices?

Dr. David Schoch

david - kopie.jpgDavid is a postdoctoral researcher in computer science at the Department of Computer & Information Science, University of Konstanz (Germany). He is specialized in network science and his main interest is developing methods to analyze (social) networks as well as general data scientific tasks. David graduated in business mathematics in 2012 at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Germany) and finished his PhD at the Chair of Algorithmics, University of Konstanz in November 2015.

His work in the project will focus on the network analytic part.
He will jointly analyze individual results in order to uncover regional dependencies and similarities of the deposition of metal.

Dr. Marieke Doorenbosch

SONY DSCMarieke is a postdoctoral researcher in archaeo- and palaeobotany. She is specialized in palynology and her main interest is to reconstruct landscapes based on pollen analyses. As a PhD student she was involved in the Ancestral Mounds project, for which she reconstructed the barrow landscape on the Pleistocene soils of the central and southern Netherlands.

In the Bronze Age prestigious objects were not deposited in cult places or temples, but in unmarked natural zones. However, there must have been certain characteristics of the physical landscape by which such a location could be recognised (aide-mémoire). To get a better understanding of why specific locations were selected for deposition, GIS models will be developed (by Catalin Popa) to reconstruct the depositional landscape and to determine which combination of landscape features best explain the location of metal depositions. Vegetation might have played an important role and therefore Marieke will model the vegetation in the areas where sufficient ecological data are available, to include vegetation in the GIS models.

Besides Economies of Destruction, Marieke is involved in the NWO project “The Avellino Event: cultural and demographic effects of the great Bronze Age eruption of Mount Vesuvius”.

Dr. Maikel Kuijpers

Photo_KuijpersMHGMaikel is assistant professor in European Prehistory at the Faculty of Archaeology. His main research topics are Bronze Age metallurgy, material culture, craftsmanship, and skill. He graduated from Leiden University in 2008 after which a PhD adventure at the University of Cambridge (UK) followed. Maikel returned at Leiden University in 2014.

His research aims to uncover the role of the craftsperson in depositional practices. To what extent do skill and quality play a role in the selection of objects for depositions? Is there a specific production recipe followed for those objects meant for deposition? And if so, how should we understand production of objects with an idea of destruction in mind?

Bronze Age Forum in Exeter

Last weekend, the project was presented by David Fontijn and Maikel Kuijpers at the Bronze Age Forum (7-8 November 2015) at the University of Exeter. It was an interesting weekend with many interesting talks on ongoing research into the Bronze Age and a great opportunity to meet other researchers in the field. Here are some photos taken this weekend.

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David and Maikel presenting at the Bronze Age Forum in Exeter

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Reception at the Guildhall                                       University of Exeter Campus

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Exeter Cathedral and its surroundings

Text and pictures by Marieke Visser/Sabrina Autenrieth

Meet the team: PI

Prof. dr. David Fontijn

David FontijnDavid Fontijn is professor in the archaeology of Europe and applicant and PI of ‘Economies of Destruction’. He has published extensively on metalwork deposition in the European Bronze Age, and on ‘ritual landscapes’. He is author of the award-winning book ‘Sacrificial landscapes’ and co-author and co-editor of ‘Transformation through Destruction’ (edited with S. van der Vaart and R. Jansen).

Vondst van het jaar / Find of the year

Op donderdag 15 oktober is de Vondst van het Jaar 2015 gepresenteerd door prof. dr. David Fontijn en dr. Sebastiaan Knippenberg bij de Faculteit der Archeologie aan de Universiteit Leiden. De vondst is afkomstig uit West-Friesland en dateert uit de Bronstijd. David Fontijn is geïnterviewd en de onthulling van de vondst is gefilmd door regionale en nationale televisieploegen. Bekijk hier foto’s van achter de schermen en van de onthulling van de vondst! Meer foto’s zijn te vinden op Instagram.
Hier kun je de televisie-uitzending van RTVNH bekijken en hier het artikel van de NOS.

Vondst van het jaar (3) Vondst van het jaar (5)

On Thursday the 15th of October, the Find of the Year 2015 was presented by prof. dr. David Fontijn and dr. Sebastiaan Knippenberg at the Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University. The hoard find comes from West-Frisia and dates to the Bronze Age. David Fontijn was interviewed and the presentation of the find was filmed by local and national television crews. Here are some behind-the-scenes photos and photos of the presentation of the find.

More photos can be found on Instagram!
Watch the news item on regional television here and read the article in the national news here.

Text and pictures by Marieke Visser/Sabrina Autenrieth

Vondst van het jaar / Find of the year

Wat zou er in het koffertje zitten? Op donderdagmiddag 15 oktober zal de Vondst van het Jaar onthuld worden bij de Faculteit der Archeologie aan de Universiteit Leiden! Houd de website in de gaten voor meer informatie.


Who knows what’s inside the suitcase? On Thursday the 15th of October, the Find of the Year will be revealed at the Faculty of Archaeology at Leiden University! Stay tuned for more information.

Nationale Archeologiedagen / National Archaeology Days

Vrijdag 16, zaterdag 17 en zondag 18 oktober vinden de Nationale Archeologiedagen plaats! Op 60 locaties in Nederland kun je het verleden ontdekken. Bij de Faculteit der Archeologie aan de Universiteit Leiden kun je tijdens de vraag-maar-raak-dagen op zaterdag en zondag je prangende vragen over archeologie stellen aan een archeoloog of je vondsten laten dateren en analyseren. Bekijk het programma voor meer informatie:


On Friday the 16th, Saturday the 17th and Sunday the 18th of October, the National Archaeology Days will take place at 60 locations in the Netherlands. At the Faculty of Archaeology at Leiden University, you can meet archaeologists to ask your archaeological questions or learn more about your finds. Check Leiden University’s website for more information (in Dutch):

Text by Marieke Visser

Meet the team: PhDs

Sabrina N. Autenrieth (M.A.)


Sabrina studied Pre- and Protohistory at Kiel University (Germany) specializing in Neolithic house structures, megaliths and material culture.

The aim of Sabrina’s research within this project is to identify a potential correspondence between the rise and fall of watery depositions and dry-land depositions, the inner structure of depositions, as well as to reveal whether objects deposited in dry lands represent a practice steered by ideas and motivations contrasting from those of river depositions.

Follow Sabrina’s research on Alchemy of the Past

Leah Powell (M.Phil)

Leah unearthed a passion for Archaeology & Anthropology at the University of Bristol (UK) and later pursued this at the University of CambridgScreen Shot 2015-09-14 at 19.42.19e (UK) where she specialised in the material culture of the British Bronze Age.

During the Economies of Destruction project, Leah will be focusing on the region spanning from Southeast Britain to Northwest France and attempt to investigate the relationship between these two landscapes across the English Channel. Leah also hopes to examine more deeply the complex tradition of Early Bronze Age metalwork deposition in these areas, which includes hoards, burials, depictions and single finds.

Marieke Visser (M.A.)

Marieke studied Archaeology at Stockholm University (Sweden), specialising in the Prehistory of Northern Europe and Osteoarchaeology.

Within the Economies of Destruction project, she will study the rise of metalwork depositions in West Denmark (Jutland), North Germany and the Northern Netherlands. One of the aspects she will investigate is the differences between deposition practices in watery places and in burials in the region.