Greece before History: The Art and Archaeology of Greek Lands ca 3500 to 700 BCE
This course explores the origins, character and collapse of complex societies of the Late Bronze Age in the Aegean (the area centered in Modern Greece). We also ask to what extent those societies may have set the stage for the better-known civilization of Classical Greece. Beginning with the Early Bronze Age, we look at how a variety of different factors culminated in the sophisticated Late Bronze Age "palatial" centers of the Minoan (Cretan) and Mycenean (Greek mainland) worlds. We study a range of aspects of topics including power structures, economy, belief systems, and trading links, including with the neighboring civilizations of the Near East and Egypt. At around 1200 BCE, there was widespread collapse affecting Late Bronze Age civilizations across the Mediterranean. We consider some possible causes in the context of the Mycenean and Minoan evidence. Following our story through the Greek Iron Age to the brink of the Archaic period (the period at which the city-states of the Classical period began to emerge), we ask whether aspects of Bronze Age society may have survived the collapse. Our sources of evidence will include architecture, artifacts, mortuary practices and the distribution of sites within the wider landscape. We also explore recent work on documentary sources, including the linear B (Mycenean) tablets. Emphasis will be placed on engaging with modern scholarship, evaluating the archaeological evidence and using it to present a coherent argument. Assessment will consist of three in-class tests and a final paper. The course texbook will be C. Runnels and P. Murray (2001) Greece Before History, which will be supplemented by articles available on CTools.
Category for Concentration Distributions: D. Europe and the U.S., E. Latin America and the Caribbean, 1. Ancient