HistArt / ClArch
Introduction to Greek Archaeology

Angell Hall Aud. B
MWF 1:00 - 2:00pm
4 Credit Lecture

"Man (sic) is the measure of all things, of those that are how they are, of those that are not how they are not" the Greek philosopher Pythagoras proudly proclaimed in the 5th century BCE. This Greek placement of humans at the center of the universe led to an unprecedented focus on the human lot in life and how to improve it and celebrate it. As a consequence, ancient Greece has famously given us the Olympic games, democracy, the first written histories, and theatrical performance. These are all products of a Greek renaissance between the 8th and 4th centuries BCE. Less well known are the achievements of earlier inhabitants of Greece who flourished in the 3rd and 2nd millennia on the island of Crete and the Greek mainland. This course provides an introduction to these two successive and very different civilizations. We focus on the evidence provided by art, architecture and artifacts, asking what they have to tell us about some of the factors leading to cultural innovation, the adoption of new ideas, and finally the decline or loss of social and cultural complexity and of political independence. In particular, we explore how the lives of ordinary people were affected by changes including technological innovation; trade and the exploration of new lands; and the invention, loss and re-creation of a range of skills such as the production of figurative art, monumental stone architecture and writing. To interpret this evidence and address these issues we look at some of the different research traditions and methods employed in Greek art and archaeology over the past couple of centuries, down to the present day. The course aims to build students' abilities to assimilate, evaluate and manipulate primary source materials. The textbooks for the class are Richard Neer (2012) Greek Art and Archaeology and Reynold Higgins Bronze Age Greece, which are supplemented by articles for discussion sections available through CTools. D. 1