A study of a specific topic in Mediterranean archaeology. Recent courses have treated such topics as Pompeii, the Archaeology of North Africa, and the Archaeology of Israel. May be repeated for credit with topic changes. Information on upcoming topics courses can be found on the department web page.
Fall Semester informationRebecca Schindler
310A: Tps: Who Owns the Past?
The preservation of the world's cultural heritage is increasingly under threat from modern development, environmental degradation, illegal excavation, and military operations. In this course we will examine the ethical and legal dilemmas inherent in dealing with the cultural productions of past populations. There are many stakeholders in the past. From governments and institutions, to descendant communities, archaeologists, and the general public, we will look at the rights and responsibilities that each group claims to have when it comes to using (and perhaps abusing) the past. Topics that we will address include (but are by no means limited to):
What is Cultural Property?: can the past be owned?
Preservation: what are we saving and why?
Research Ethics: what obligations do professionals (archaeologists, curators, etc.) have?
Stewardship: who should be responsible for the past?
Politics and War: what role should modern nation states play in preserving the past?
Meaning: what meanings do people attribute to the past?
As much as possible this course is run as a seminar. The focus is on discussion and critical thinking. Students will present and write-up individual research projects. In addition to the assigned readings, we will also work through a number of case-studies that present difficult ethical dilemmas.
Spring Semester informationPedar Foss
310A: Topics in Archaeology:Pliny and Pompei
Fall Semester informationPedar Foss
Early in the afternoon of 24 August, AD 79, Mt. Vesuvius exploded, and wiped off the map a series of towns and villas situated along the fertile coast of the Bay of Naples in Italy. In a touch of irony, that same disaster preserved the remains of its unfortunate victims to an extraordinary degree. This class examines the site of Pompeii (and its neighbors in the Bay of Naples: Herculaneum, Oplontis, Stabiae, etc.) as foundational to the disciplines of art history and classical archaeology. As the oldest continuously-excavated site in the world, Pompeii has been a laboratory for our understanding of the ancient Roman world as well as for the theories, techniques and approaches used in developing that understanding. This class studies both the sites themselves for what they can tell us about daily Roman life, and also the history of their discovery and the dissemination of objects and knowledge throughout Europe and America.