ARCH 1012 (c, FYS) The Archaeology of Ritual and Myth in the Ancient Mediterranean
Examines ancient religious traditions and practice through the study of artifacts from the ancient Mediterranean housed in the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. Students actively engage in the analysis of artifacts from Egypt, Assyria, Etruria, Greece, and Italy that represent aspects of ancient religious practice. Student writing assignments draw inspiration from select objects from the collection that include many examples of sculpture, pottery, and coins. Illustrated presentations and assigned reading provide the archaeological contexts for the artifacts under study, as well as explore the cultural narratives recounted in history and myth. Sites such as Giza, Kalhu, Delphi, Olympia, Athens, Pompeii, and Rome are explored as the settings for the rituals and myths that helped define the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean world. Class meetings take place in the Museum of Art.
Previous terms offered: Fall 2018.
ARCH 1014 (c, FYS) Living and Dying in Ancient Rome
The Roman house and tomb were a constant focus of public life. Consequently, what the Romans considered private appears to be public from our modern perspectives. Explores the construction of social identity in the Roman world by examining ancient concepts of both private and public by analyzing houses and tombs as evidence for personal and familial tastes, social practices, and social expectations. This course studies both literary and archaeological evidence in order to consider how Roman domestic and funerary art was meant to create an appropriate setting for the construction of social identity, as well as for the performance of religious rituals. Explores the material context of the Roman house by examining its layout, architectural features, and decoration, and also explores funerary monuments and the public display of works of art in private contexts. Material focuses on the ancient and well-preserved cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.
Previous terms offered: Fall 2019.
ARCH 1101 (c, VPA) Greek Archaeology
Introduces the techniques and methods of classical archaeology as revealed through an examination of Greek material culture. Emphasis upon the major monuments and artifacts of the Greek world from prehistory to the Hellenistic age. Architecture, sculpture, fresco painting, and other “minor arts” are examined at such sites as Knossos, Mycenae, Athens, Delphi, and Olympia. Considers the nature of this archaeological evidence and the relationship of classical archaeology to other disciplines such as art history, history, and classics. Assigned reading supplements illustrated presentations of the major archaeological finds of the Greek world. (Same as: ARTH 2090)
Previous terms offered: Fall 2019, Fall 2017.
ARCH 1102 (c, VPA) Roman Archaeology
Surveys the material culture of Roman society, from Italy’s prehistory and the origins of the Roman state through its development into a cosmopolitan empire, and concludes with the fundamental reorganization during the late third and early fourth centuries. Lectures explore ancient sites such as Rome, Pompeii, Athens, Ephesus, and others around the Mediterranean. Emphasis upon the major monuments and artifacts of the Roman era: architecture, sculpture, fresco painting, and other minor arts. Considers the nature of this archaeological evidence and the relationship of classical archaeology to other disciplines such as art history, history, and classics. Assigned reading supplements illustrated presentations of the major archaeological finds of the Roman world. (Same as: ARTH 2100)
Previous terms offered: Fall 2020, Fall 2018.
ARCH 1103 (c) Egyptian Archaeology
Non-Standard Rotation. Fall 2021. Enrollment limit: 50.
Introduces the techniques and methods of archaeology through an examination of Egyptian material culture. Emphasis is placed upon understanding the major monuments and artifacts of ancient Egypt from the prehistoric cultures of the Nile Valley through the period of Roman control. Architecture, sculpture, fresco painting, and other “minor arts” are examined at sites such as Saqqara, Giza, Thebes, Dendera, Tanis, and Alexandria. Considers the nature of this archaeological evidence, its context, and the relationship of archaeology to other disciplines such as africana studies, art history, anthropology, history, and classics. Course themes include the origins and development of complex state systems, funerary symbolism, contacts between Africa and the Mediterranean, and the expression of social, political and religious ideologies in art and architecture. Selected readings supplement illustrated presentations of the major archaeological finds of Egypt. Class meetings include artifact sessions in Bowdoin College Museum of Art. (Same as: AFRS 1105)
ARCH 2202 (c, IP) Augustan Rome
Upon his ascent to power after a century of war, Rome’s first princeps, Augustus, launched a program of cultural reformation and restoration that was to have a profound and enduring effect upon every aspect of life in the empire, from fashions in entertainment, decoration, and art, to religious and political habits and customs. Using the city of Rome as its primary text, this course investigates how the Augustan “renovation” of Rome is manifested first and foremost in the monuments associated with the ruler: the Mausoleum of Augustus, theater of Marcellus, temple of Apollo on the Palatine, Altar of Augustan Peace, and Forum of Augustus as well as many others. Understanding of the material remains themselves is supplemented by historical and literary texts dating to Augustus’s reign, as well as by a consideration of contemporary research and controversies in the field. (Same as: CLAS 2202, URBS 2402)
Previous terms offered: Spring 2020, Spring 2018.
ARCH 2204 (c, IP) Buried by Vesuvius: The Archaeology of Roman Daily Life
Destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79, the archaeological remains of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and the neighboring sites around the Bay of Naples are unparalleled in their range and completeness. The study of this material record reveals a great deal about the domestic, economic, religious, social, and political life in ancient Italy. Examines archaeological, literary, and documentary material ranging from architecture and sculpture to wall painting, graffiti, and the floral remains of ancient gardens, but focuses on interpreting the archaeological record for insight into the everyday life of the Romans. In addition, explores the methods and techniques employed by archaeologists since the sites were “rediscovered” in the sixteenth century. Archaeological materials are introduced through illustrated presentations, supplementary texts, and sessions in the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.
Previous terms offered: Fall 2020.
ARCH 2206 (c) Hispania Antiqua: The Archaeology of Ancient Spain
Non-Standard Rotation. Fall 2021. Enrollment limit: 35.
Surveys the early history of the Iberian peninsula through its material culture and highlights the interplay between the geography of Spain and diverse patterns of human settlement. Begins with the study of the indigenous Iberian peoples in Spain during their Late Neolithic and Bronze Ages and then examines the impact made by the arrival of traders and colonists from Phoenicia and the Greek world. Connections to Africa highlight the period of Carthaginian occupation starting in the sixth century B.C.E. and leading up to the Roman conquest in the third century B.C.E. Under Roman control the number and complexity of settlements increased and, as early as the first century B.C.E., the Spanish provincial elite began to play active roles in Roman commercial and political life. Concludes with the decline of Roman control in late antiquity and the changes for the peninsula brought about after the invasion of the Visigoths.
ARCH 2207 (c, IP) Who Owns the Past? Contemporary Controversies and Contested Narratives
Focuses on the meaning and significance of artifacts, archaeology sites, monuments, and art from a diversity of perspectives. Students learn about disagreements regarding who owns antiquities and ethnographic objects. They consider the ethical, cultural, and legal considerations of where heritage materials are housed, and whether they should be published and exhibited, and if so, by whom. They examine the impact of politics, conflicts, and war on cultural heritage sites and monuments, and learn about the illegal trafficking in antiquities and art. Students wrestle with museums’ colonial legacies and consider how decolonizing practices are transforming museums and interpretations of the past. Case studies cover a broad array of museums, cultures, and nations. Readings, class discussions, visits by guest speakers, and hands-on work with objects are augmented by visits to the college’s two museums. (Same as: ANTH 2105)
Previous terms offered: Fall 2020, Fall 2017.
ARCH 2209 (c, IP) The Limits of Empire: Archaeology of the Roman Frontier
The Roman frontier, or "limites" in Latin, occupied an important place in the history and imagination of the Romans. Dangerous, mysterious, but enticing, the borders of the Roman Empire were active areas of cultural and economic exchange. Examines archaeological evidence to provide a view of what was foreign to the Romans and also how Roman culture was seen by others. Traces the historical development of the Roman frontier and explores important sites from across the ancient world including Hadrian’s Wall in the United Kingdom, Palmyra and Dura Europos in Syria, Leptis Magna in Libya, Volubilis in Morocco, and Chersonesos in the Crimea. Selected readings, including ancient texts in translation, supplement illustrated presentations of the major archaeological finds. Class meetings include artifact sessions in the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.
Previous terms offered: Spring 2019.
ARCH 2211 (c, IP) Archaeology of the Aegean Bronze Age
Explores the ancient civilizations located around the Aegean Sea during prehistory from the end of the Neolithic period to around 1000 BCE. Study focuses on the Cycladic, Minoan, and Mycenaean cultures within their wider Mediterranean context, including their contacts with the neighboring cultures of Anatolia, the Levant, Egypt, and South Italy. These Bronze Age societies left a rich material record of palaces and funerary complexes, frescoes and vase paintings, and other artifacts that together shed light on the people living around the ancient Aegean. Their culture also inspired the creation of later myths and literature (e.g., the Iliad and the Odyssey). Presentations explore ancient sites such as Thera (Santorini), Knossos, Phaistos, Mycenae, Tiryns, Hattusa, and Troy. Course themes include the origins and development of complex state systems, funerary symbolism, and the expression of social, political, and religious ideologies in art and architecture. Archaeological materials are introduced through illustrated presentations, supplementary texts, and virtual sessions in the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.
Previous terms offered: Spring 2021.
ARCH 3301 (c, IP) The Endangered Past: Archaeology and the Current Threat to Cultural Heritage
Archaeological exploration has exposed a rich array of sites and artifacts that can be experienced first-hand by an ever-growing number of visitors. This exposure has placed unprecedented pressures on countries to provide access while ensuring the protection of this important cultural heritage. Economic challenges, mass-tourism, and political strife challenge our effort to preserve the past. The heightened visibility of these remains coupled with their connections to ancient traditions has also attracted the ire of forces intent on obliterating the past. Examines the state of cultural heritage focusing on ancient sites in the Mediterranean and the Near East, including sites in Syria, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Egypt, and Libya. Explores the factors that have placed archaeological sites in jeopardy and examines possible solutions to these challenges. Sessions in the Bowdoin College Museum of Art incorporate select examples of the ancient collection that are connected to areas of the ancient world at risk. In this setting, explores the role of museums as custodians of the past and how current events have informed the discussions around cultural patrimony.
Previous terms offered: Spring 2021.
ARCH 3303 (c) Greek and Roman Colonies
Explores the process, characteristics, and impact of Greek and Roman colonization in the Mediterranean world. Study covers settlements established by the Greeks beginning in the eighth century BCE, as well as colonies founded by Rome in Italy and throughout their empire. Topics include among others the motives for colonial foundations, site selection, commercial interests and economic viability, interaction with native cultures, relationship with the “mother country,” political status of the colony and their inhabitants, the founding myths of colonies, the literary and artistic accomplishments of these colonists.
Previous terms offered: Spring 2018.
ARCH 3304 (c) Pottery in Archaeology: Ceramic Arts in the Ancient Mediterranean
Examines the importance of pottery in the archaeology of the Ancient Mediterranean through the study of Egyptian, Greek, Etruscan, and Roman ceramics in the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. Ranging in date from Predynastic Egypt to the waning years of the Roman Empire, the Bowdoin collection presents over 4000 years of ceramic evidence that serves as a basis for study of ancient technology and artistic design, as well as economic and social history. Through select reading and direct analysis, students examine the techniques employed by ancient potters to shape, decorate, and fire ceramics while using tools important in the study of ceramics, including methods of scientific analysis, artifact conservation, and restoration. In addition, students contribute to the online catalogue of the ancient collection while engaging in their own original research. Classes are held in the Bowdoin College Museum of Art,with course assignments and final project based on ceramics in the collection.
Previous terms offered: Spring 2019.
ARCH 3320 (c) The Culture of Spectacle in Antiquity and Beyond
Investigates the political, economic, cultural, and social aspects of the notion of “spectacle” in the ancient Classical world. Competition and performance in front of a public audience characterized both Greek and Roman societies. By focusing on Greek athletic games, and theatrical representations in both Greece and Rome, as well as Roman gladiatorial combats, this course explores the purpose and function of ancient mass media spectacles capable of attracting an extensive crowd, while addressing themes such as class, gender, violence, humor, and religion. We will rely on the reading of primary literary sources (such as Pindar and Martial), as well as the analysis of the full range of archaeological evidence (i.e., wall paintings, mosaics, architecture, sculptures, finds, and graffiti) to reconstruct the ideologies and historical practices involved with ancient sports and public entertainments.
Previous terms offered: Spring 2020.