Dries Tys

Key Research Interests

•    Early Medieval trade & connections

•      Medieval urban origins

•      Early medieval rituality

•      Coastal landscapes and societies

M.A. Archaeology (University of Ghent, 1994)


M.A. History (University of Ghent, 1996)


PhD. Historical Archaeology (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, 2003)


Dries Tys graduated in 2003 with a PhD dissertation on the medieval landscape of coastal Flanders (as PhD fellow of the Research Foundation Flanders - FWO). Between 2003 and 2005, he was a post-doctoral fellow of the FWO researching the materialization of power in the urban and rural landscapes of Flanders. In 2005, Dries Tys became Lecturer in Medieval Archaeology at the VUB and Senior Lecturer in 2014. He was Head of the Department of Art Studies and Archaeology from 2010 to 2015 and Program Director between 2008 and 2017.

At the VUB, he teaches courses in the field of Medieval Archaeology, Landscape Archaeology and Archaeological Methods and Theory as well as the General Introduction to Archaeology.

His research focuses on the development of medieval landscapes and settlements in relation to social formations and strategies of social reproduction. One of his main research themes is the study of landscapes of state formation between the Frankish period and the Feudal period, with attention to the landscape of social inequality, the start of urban settlements and the coastal environment (embankments).

Aside from the Make-Up of the City project, Dries Tys is also an integral member of  the Belspo Excellence of Science project "Crumbel: Cremations, Urns and Mobility - Ancient Population Dynamics in Belgium". This project is an interdisciplinary collaboration between natural scientists of VUB, ULB, UGent, and KIK/IRPA, where cremation burials from the Neolithic period to the Early Middle Ages will be studied from a bioarchaeological (isotope studies and osteoarchaeology) perspective and a cultural perspective (burial rites).

Since 2012, Dries Tys has been a member of the Committee of the Medieval Europe Research Community (MERC) and in 2015 he became the Chair of this international group that promotes connections between medieval archaeologists and other archaeologists in Europe and elsewhere. MERC, today, is an important community associated with the European Association of Archaeologists (EAA).

Devos, Y., Wouters, B., Vrydaghs, L., Tys, D., Bellens, T. & Schryvers, A. 2013. A micromorphological study on the origins of the early medieval trading centre of Antwerp (Belgium). Quaternary International, 315. 167-183.


Tys, D. 2013. The Medieval embankment of coastal Flanders in context. In: Thoen, E., G.J. Borger, A.M.J. de Kraker, T. Soens, D. Tys, L. Vervaet & H.J.T. Weerts (ed.), Landscapes or Seascapes?: The history of the coastal environment in the North Sea Area considered. Comparative Rural History of the North Sea Area (CORN), vol. 13. Turnhout: Brepols, 199-239.


Loveluck C. & Tys D. 2006. Coastal societies, exchange and identity along the Channel and southern North Sea shores of Europe, AD 600-1000. Journal for Maritime Archaeology, 1(2), 140-169.

Main Publications