History Through Art and Archaeology (CLAM100)
|Staff||Dr Christopher Siwicki - Convenor|
|Duration of Module||Term 1: 11 weeks;|
The module provides a framework for critical discussion of historical and socio-cultural themes through the analysis and interpretation of material and visual culture as well as other forms of archaeological evidence. It addresses key debates on the construction and transformation of ancient communities, exploring notions of identity, cult, language, economy as well as forms of settlement and political organisation. A closer look at art and architecture provides the basis for an examination of the ancient viewer, representations of the self and 'other', as well as ways of reading image and space. Overall the course aims to give students the tools to access those histories and ideologies which appear unattainable through the literary sources alone, allowing for the expansion of existing narratives and challenging the underlying models which inform our understanding of key historical and cultural processes and constructs.
ILO: Module-specific skills
- 1. understand and appreciate the qualities and methods of using material and visual culture.
- 2. work critically with different types of material/archaeological evidence, and to use them in effective combination as a tool of historical and socio-cultural analysis and reconstruction.
ILO: Discipline-specific skills
- 3. collate and analyse widely different types of evidence, much of which is incomplete and ambiguous in its significance.
- 4. draw independent inferences about the relationship of myth to its cultural and historical context.
- 5. reflect critically on the origins, development and significance of traditional stories in one's own and another culture.
ILO: Personal and key skills
- 6. apply key bibliographical skills, the latest forms of information retrieval, as well as word-processing skills.
- 7. think autonomously and analytically on the basis of written and visual sources and secondary literature.
- 8. construct and defend a sustained argument (both in written form and orally).
- 9. work with instructor and peers in an independent, constructive and responsive way.
Topics chosen from the following:
A) Archeo-Historical Section: Material culture and historical questions; Approaches and theories of interpretation; Explaining change: crisis, growth, migration and new trends
B) Visual Culture and Society: Visual theory and history of viewing; Reading imagery in pre-Classical (Egypt, Assyria) and Classical civilisations; Art and élite ideology; Material evidence and the non-élite; The visual culture of gender; Art and rulership; Representations of Greeks and foreigners; Ethnic identity in art and archaeology; Reception of Classical imagery in the West 1500 to today
C) Methods and Tools: Excavation techniques; Archaeological surveys; Organic material; Epigraphic evidence; Museology and display
Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)
|Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities||Guided independent study||Placement / study abroad|
Details of learning activities and teaching methods
|Category||Hours of study time||Description|
|Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities||15 hours||Intensive seminar and reading group teaching|
|Guided independent study||135 hours||Students working independently & in groups in preparation for seminars and essays|
|Form of assessment||Size of the assessment (eg length / duration)||ILOs assessed||Feedback method|
|Essay||4000 words||1-8||mark; written and oral comment|
|Oral presentation||c. 15-20 mins||1-9||mark; written and oral comment|
Summative assessment (% of credit)
|Coursework||Written exams||Practical exams|
Details of summative assessment
|Form of assessment||% of credit||Size of the assessment (eg length / duration)||ILOs assessed||Feedback method|
|Essay||80||4000 words||1-8||mark; written and oral comment|
|Presentation||20||20 mins||1-9||mark; written and oral comment|
Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)
|Original form of assessment||Form of re-assessment||ILOs re-assessed||Timescale for re-assessment|
Indicative learning resources - Basic reading
E. D’Ambra, Art and Identity in the Roman World (London 1998).
S.E. Alcock et al. (eds), Empires. Perspectives from Archaeology and History (Cambridge 2001).
G. Barker, A Mediterranean Valley (Leicester 1995).
M. Biddiss, M. Wyke (eds), The uses and abuses of Antiquity (1999),
R. Brandt, L. Karlsson, From Huts to Houses transformations of Ancient Societies (1997/ 2001).
R. Brock, S. Hodkinson, Alternatives to Athens varieties of Political Organization (Oxford 2000)
D. Buitron Oliver, The Interpretation of Architectural Sculpture in Greece and Rome (London 1997)
E. Chilton (ed.), Material Meanings. Critical approaches to the interpretation of material culture (Salt Lake City 1999).
J. Elsner, Art and the Roman Viewer (Cambridge 1995).
D. Fredrick, The Roman Gaze. Vision Power and the Body (Baltimore, London 2002).
E. Gombrich, Art and Illusion (Princeton 2000, 11th ed.).
E. Hall, Inventing the Barbarian (Oxford 1989).
I. Hodder, Symbols in Action. Ethnoarchaeological studies of material culture (Cambridge 1982).
P. Horden, N. Purcell, The Corrupting Sea (Oxford 2000).
S. Jones, The Archaeology of Ethnicity. Constructing Identities in the Past and Present (London 1997).
E.N.B. Kampen et al., Sexuality in Ancient Art (Cambridge 1996).
M. Marvin, The language of the muses: the dialogue between Roman and Greek sculpture (Los Angeles 2008).
R.T. Neer, Art & archaeology of the Greek World: a new history, c.2500-c.150 BCE (London 2012).
E.E. Perry, The aesthetics of emulation in the visual arts of ancient Rome (Cambridge [u.a.] 2005).
S. Shennan (ed.), Archaeological Approaches to Cultural Identity (London 1989)
M. T. Stark (ed.), The Archaeology of Social Boundaries (Washington and London 1998).
P. Stewart, Roman Art (Oxford 2004).
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Available as distance learning?
Last revision date
Key words search
Art, Archaeology, Material Culture