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 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.
Fall Semester informationRebecca Schindler
310A: Tps:The Archaeology of Cult
Through investigation of the material remains of cult practice, this course seeks to understand how past human cultures interacted with the divine world. We will begin with a critical review of the major anthropological and archaeological theories on the interpretation of religion and ritual activity. Over the course of the semester we will apply these theories to the evidence from the ancient Mediterranean, from prehistoric settlements in Anatolia, to the Panhellenic sanctuaries of ancient Greece, to the temple complexes of the Roman world and the advent of Christianity. Cult sites in the ancient world not only served as loci for ritual performance, but also as places of political and economic power. Different categories of evidence -- from marble sculptures to the remains of animal sacrifices -- reflect the worship practices of diverse members of the community, challenging us to understand how ancient religion permeated all levels of society. The methodological problems inherent in the interpretation of the archaeological evidence for cult practices also present an opportunity for us to examine our own assumptions and biases about religion in non-monotheistic cultures.