Ancient Sources (Material Evidence) - Pompeii: Destruction, Discovery and Afterlife (CLA2514)

StaffDr Christopher Siwicki - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module aims to provide students with a thorough and detailed understanding of the archaeological site of Pompeii, including the nature of its destruction, the history of its discovery and excavation, and the issues raised by the preservation and conservation of the site. Students will learn about the particular difficulties of using the site as a source, what we can learn from it about life in the Roman world, and the reception and afterlife of the town. 

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the archaeological site of Pompeii
  • 2. Demonstrate an appreciation of the reception and cultural influence of the site from the eighteenth century onwards
  • 3. Demonstrate an understanding of the ways in which Pompeii can contribute to our knowledge of urban life in Roman Italy

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Demonstrate an understanding of critical approaches to ancient source material
  • 5. Conduct independent research in Classics and Ancient History
  • 6. Show developed skills in formal academic writing in Classics and Ancient History

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Shows skills in critical analysis
  • 8. Digest and organize diverse information to form a coherent argument
  • 9. Writing an analytical essay or report
  • 10. Conduct independent research
  • 11. Show teamworking skills through small group work
  • 12. Discuss issues with peer group

Syllabus plan

Topics may include the development of the city; the eruption; the aftermath and ‘rediscovery’ of the site; excavation and cataloguing; the use of the site as a ‘source’; preservation and conservation; reception and cultural influence; society; commercial life; streets and traffic; houses; graffiti; and prostitution and sexuality.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching activities11Lectures (11 x 1 hours)
Scheduled learning and teaching activities6Seminars (4 x 1.5 hour)
Guided Independent Study133Private study

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Source commentary251000 words1-10Mark and written comments
Exam752 hours1-10Mark and written comments

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Source commentarySource commentary1-10August ref/def period
ExamExam1-10August ref/def period

Re-assessment notes

Reassessment will normally be by exam.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

A full and detailed bibliography will be provided by the lecturer, but key reading will include:

Allison, P. 2004. Pompeian Households: an Analysis of the Material Culture (Los Angeles: University of California Press)

Beard, M. 2008. Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town (London: Profile)

Berry, J. 2013. The Complete Pompeii (London: Thames and Hudson)

Cooley, A.  2003. Pompeii (London: Duckworth)

Cooley, A. E. and M. G. L. Cooley, 2014. Pompeii and Herculaneum: A Sourcebook, 2nd edition (London and New York: Routledge)

Dobbins, J. J. and P. W. Foss (eds.), 2007. The World of Pompeii (New York: Routledge)

Laurence, R. 2007. Roman Pompeii: Space and Society. 2nd edition (New York: Routledge)

Wallace-Hadrill, A. 1994. Houses and Society in Pompeii and Herculaneum (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press)

Zanker, P. 1998. Pompeii: Public and Private Life (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press)

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Key words search

Roman history, Roman archaeology, Pompeii