J-term Syllabus, 2014

*Please note that this page is subject to updates and revisions. [Last update, 8/30/13]

January 6-January 26, 2014


Objectives

This travel-study program will explore the Bronze Age societies that occupied Crete, the Peloponnese and the Greek mainland. These societies fall under the modern names of the Minoans (after, Minos, the legendary King of Knossos) and Mycenaeans (after the cite located approximately 15 km from the Bay of Argos between Mt. Ayios Ilias and Mt. Zara). The excursion will combine visits to archaeological sites and museums with readings from primary and secondary sources about the societies and their influence on subsequent cultures.

More specifically, at the end of this course students should be able to do the following with regard to the sites the program visits:

  1. Identify on a map the locations of the archaeological sites
  2. Relate the sites to specific objects, inhabitants, and events
  3. Know and understand the chronology of the Bronze Age as reflected in the archaeological record
  4. Demonstrate a familiarity with the structures and architectural elements associated with the Bronze Age cultures of the Minoans and Mycenaeans
  5. Identify, analyze, and interpret artifacts from specific sites by situating them in the sequence of habitation and relating them to objects from other locations

Course Requirements

Grading for this course will be based on the following components

Preparation and Engagment

To make your visits to archaeological sites and museums as productive as possible, you will need to prepare in advance by working through the assigned readings, participating in the preview and review sessions in the evenings, and mastering the compendium of basic and vital information.

Readings. The readings fall into three categories: primary sources (i.e., texts authored by ancient writers), secondary literature (i.e., works by modern scholars), and guides. For most days, you will be responsible for having read in advance a selection from the primary sources and one or more of the readings from the secondary literature. Readings from ancient authors and on the history of the Greek cities on our itinerary will provide cultural background that will support your interpretation of the material remains. The readings on art and archaeology will give you a technical understanding of the field and help you to view and discuss the objects with greater insight.

Assignments for each day will appear in green next to the “Readings” label. So, to cite one example, for the first day of the program and our orientation meeting in Santorini, you should have read the selections from the Iliad and the two chapters from William Biers’ The Archaeology of Greece. The amount of reading will vary from day to day, so you should look ahead and plan accordingly. As you will see, for our trip to the Mycenaean sites on Friday, January 17, you should have read the chapter from Biers on the Mycenaeans, Aeschylus’ Agamemnon and Libation Bearers, which we will discuss on site, Paul Cartledge’s chapter on Mycenae, and Pausanias’ description of his visit to the site sometime in the 2nd century CE. We recommend that you read as many of the literary selections as well as those from Biers’ The Archaeology of Greece and Cartledge’sAncient Greece: A History in Eleven Cities (reissued as Ancient Greece: A Very Short Introduction in 2011) before the trip, which will leave more time for studying the museum guides.

We have made every effort to have the readings build and complement each other, so the visits to sites and museums and the discussions will become more informed and nuanced as the trip unfolds. We strongly urge you to do as much reading in advance of the trip as possible.

Guides. For each site or museum, we have assigned a selection from one or more guides that will help you study and understand the organization and nature of the architectural remains or items in the collection. The guides generally contain a siteplan, so you should plan on taking them with you as you visit the sites and museums.

Preview and Review Sessions. These meetings will take place in the evening and serve two purposes. First, they will serve as briefings on the activities and objectives for the following day. They will often include videos of the sites and collections that will help organize and focus our work on the sites. In some cases, we will discuss specific structures or artifacts that we will emphasize or study in depth the next day, so you can begin consulting the guides in preparation for you work on-site. As you consult the guides and other secondary literature, you should inform yourself about the history of the site, the materials and architectural styles, dates of construction, and functions of the structures. For objects, you should collect information about the materials, dates, origins, functions, and the significance of the objects. Second, these meetings will enable you to reflect on your experiences and draw connections among the various readings, sites, and artifacts you studied that day and situate your observations in the context of the overall objectives of the program. To prepare for these sessions, you should document your engagement with the readings and your study at the sites by recording your observations, thoughts, and questions in a notebook. Your notebook should also contain notes from the sessions themselves.

The Compendium of Basic and Vital Information. Developing an understanding of the material culture of ancient Greece will require the mastery of some basic information such as the archectural elements associated with Bronze Age sites and the orders that evolved during the Archaic period, terms and concepts used to establish and discuss chronology, the topography and geography of the region, and names and dates of significant people and events. You will also be responsible for identifying, analyzing, and interpreting a core set of sites, structures, and artifacts. We encourage you to use your journals to compile

Taking an active role in all of the activities and discussions and keeping a journal with your notes will constitute twenty percent of your final grade.

Presentations

In the outline of activities, assignments, and examinations below, you will note that for each site or museum we have scheduled a presentation. Each member of the class will be responsibile for one or more of these presentations, which will enrich and complement our work in that particular setting. You will receive your assigned topics in advance in consultation with the directors of the course. You should prepare your presentation as much as possible in advance of the trip, making use of resources available on the Sakai worksite for this course, on your individual campuses, and via the Internet. Here are some guidelines and notes for these presentations:

  • Each presentation should last approximately 15-20 minutes. You should aim for clarity and concision with the goal of providing information that will make the work on the site more productive and interesting.
  • Each presentation should, if possible, include an activity. For example, if your topic concerns flora, you should have the group identify and study some plants. Having your audience feel the texture of an acanthus leaf or smell the fragrance of myrtle leaves or wild lavender would make your presentation more effective and enrich your audience’s experience. The directors will offer some guidance on these activities.
  • Handouts are welcome particularly if the information you are sharing will be of significance at later stages of the program.
  • We will record these presentations, which will become part of the archived resources for the program, so you should be mindful that future cohorts of students may be viewing your presentation to enhance their experience on a similar trip.
  • We will ask you identify 3 to 5 concepts or facts from your presentation for inclusion among the items that will all participants will be responsible for learning.

This presentation will account for twenty percent of your final grade.

Team Projects

Option 1: Contributing to the “New Pausanias”

During the program, you will read selections from Pausanias’ Guide to Greece, one of the first surviving travelogues and along with the works of Marcus Vitruvius Pollio (Vitruvius) and Gaius Plinius Secondus (Pliny the Elder) one of the first art historical documents. Pausanias provides modern readers with an idea of how the sites appeared in the second century CE when he visited them. You will form a team of two or three members and create updated entries. They will then form part of materials, which subsequent students and visitors will use when visiting the sites, and should contain the following elements:

  • directions on how to get to the site which reflect current modes of transportation and routes along with data about distances and traveling time
  • verbal descriptions of significant architectural features (for the sites) or artifacts (for museums) (both ancient and modern) supplemented with digital imagery and appropriate metadata for the images (e.g., location, direction, and time of the image)
  • a commentary on at least one of the structures or works of art consisting of information about, for example, the construction or conservation of the artifact, how it was or is currently being used, its significance over time, or any activities associated with it.
This revised entry will account for twenty percent of your final grade.

Option 2: Curating a Museum Exhibition

You will visit a number of archaeological museums during the course. For this project you are to form a team with two or three other members of the course and develop an exhibition of works that will travel to the United States. The exhibition should focus on a particular aspect of ancient Greek culture and show how that aspect differed both over time and from one region to another. The exhibition must consist of at least twenty objects, for which you will write a catalogue. The catalogue should contain the following elements:

  • An introduction to the theme of the exhibition with a brief overview of the periods and regions from which you draw your artifacts
  • Descriptions for each object along with notes on how it contributes to the topic of the exhibition.
  • A museum label for each object.
You will work with a number of museum guides and catalogues which can serve as examples for you to emulate in this project. The same holds for musuem labels. You should pay attention to the labels you encounter in the museums and model your labels on those you found most helpful. This catalogue will account for twenty percent of your final grade.

Examinations

There will be two hourly examinations during the trip as outlined in the schedule below. Each examination will consist of two parts.  The first part will focus on the your familiarity with the readings, mastery of the information in the compendium, and your engagement with the material culture through your experiences on sites and in museums. It will typically present you with a selection concepts, terms, sites, structures, and objects and ask you to identify and discuss a subset of the items. It might also contain a map and ask you to locate the sites you have studied. In the second part you will answer one or more short essay questions that deal with broader issues of culture and society that we will develop through the reading, visits to the sites, and discussions. Each examination will account for twenty percent of your final grade.

Bibliography

The readings for the course will be available on the Sakai worksite for the program under “Resources.”

Primary Sources
Aeschylus Oresteia: Agamemnon, Libation Bearers, Eumenides.
Herodotus Histories 6.48-140 (First Persian War)
Pausanias Guide to Greece.

1.1.1-1.30.4 (Athens)
1.32.3-6 (Marathon)
2.15.1-2.25.9 (Argolid)
3.11.1-3.20.8 (Lakonia)
9.5.1-9.17.5 (Thebes)
Secondary Readings
Biers, William R. The Archaeology of Greece: An Introduction. 2nd ed. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1996.

“Archaeology in Greece” (13-22)
“The Minoans” (23-61)
“The Mycenaeans” (62-96)
Cartledge, Paul Ancient Greece: A History in Eleven Cities. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. [Reissued as Ancient Greece: A Very Short Introduction by Oxford University Press in 2011.]

“Cnossos” (11-22)
“Mycenae” (23-34)
“Argos” (35-45)
“Sparta” (70-86)
“Athens” (89-112)
“Thebes” (131-142)
Crowley, Janice L. “Mycenaean Art and Architecture,” 258-288. In The Cambridge Companion to the Aegean Bronze Age. Edited by Cynthia W. Shelmerdine. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.
Dakouri-Hild, Anastasia “Boeotia,” 614-630. In The Oxford Handbook of The Bronze Age Aegean (ca. 3000-1000 BC). Edited by Eric H. Cline. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.
“Thebes,” 690-711. In The Oxford Handbook of The Bronze Age Aegean (ca. 3000-1000 BC). Edited by Eric H. Cline. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.
Doumas, Christos “Akrotiri,” 752-716. In The Oxford Handbook of The Bronze Age Aegean (ca. 3000-1000 BC). Edited by Eric H. Cline. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.
French, Elizabeth “Mycenae,” 671-679. In The Oxford Handbook of The Bronze Age Aegean (ca. 3000-1000 BC). Edited by Eric H. Cline. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.
Laffineur, Robert “Thorikos,” 712-721. In The Oxford Handbook of The Bronze Age Aegean (ca. 3000-1000 BC). Edited by Eric H. Cline. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.
Manning, Sturt W. “Chronology and Terminology,” 11-28. In The Oxford Handbook of The Bronze Age Aegean (ca. 3000-1000 BC). Edited by Eric H. Cline. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.
“Protopalatial Crete: Formation of the Palaces,” 105-120. In The Cambridge Companion to the Aegean Bronze Age. Edited by Cynthia W. Shelmerdine. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.
Maran, Joseph “Tiryns,” 722-734. In The Oxford Handbook of The Bronze Age Aegean (ca. 3000-1000 BC). Edited by Eric H. Cline. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.
Nagy, Gregory “Pattern-Weaving Back into the Bronze Age.” In Homer the Preclassic. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009.The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2013.

“Hour 7: The Sign of the Hero in Visual and Verbal Art” (169-234)
“Hour 8. The Psychology of the Hero’s Sign in the Homeric Iliad” (235-274)
“Hour 16. Heroic Aberration in the Agamemnon of Aeschylus” (462-483)
“Hour 17. Looking Beyond the Cult Hero in the Libation Bearers and Eumenides of Aeschylus” (484-496)
Pullen, Daniel “The Early Bronze Age in Greece,” 19-46. In The Cambridge Companion to the Aegean Bronze Age. Edited by Cynthia W. Shelmerdine. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.
Shelmerdine, Cynthia W. and Bennet, John “Mycenaean States: Economy and Administration,” 289-309. In The Cambridge Companion to the Aegean Bronze Age. Edited by Cynthia W. Shelmerdine. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.
Wilson, David “Early Prepalatial Crete,” 77-104. In The Cambridge Companion to the Aegean Bronze Age. Edited by Cynthia W. Shelmerdine. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.
Wright, James Clinton “Early Mycenaean Greece,” 230-257. In The Cambridge Companion to the Aegean Bronze Age. Edited by Cynthia W. Shelmerdine. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.
Younger, John G. and Rehak, Paul “The Material Culture of Neopalatial Crete,” 140-164. In The Cambridge Companion to the Aegean Bronze Age. Edited by Cynthia W. Shelmerdine. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.
“”Minoan Culture: Religion, Burial Customs, and Administration,” 165-185. In The Cambridge Companion to the Aegean Bronze Age. Edited by Cynthia W. Shelmerdine. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.
Guides
Aravantinos, Vassilios The Archaeological Museum of Thebes. Athens: EPG Eurobank S. A. and John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, 2010.
Barber, Robin Blue Guide: Greece. 6th edition. London: A & C Black, 2003.

“The Monuments of Ancient Greece,” by Nicolas Coldstream (13-31)
“History of Athens” (89)
“2: The Acropolis” (91-95)

[Note: the information about the Acropolis Museum is no longer accurate, since the new museum opened in June 2009. Please refer to The Acropolis Museum: Short Guide, as noted below.]

“3: The Areópagus, Mouseíon, Pnyx, and Hill of the Nymphs” (95)
“4: From Síntagma Square to the Kerameikós and the Academy” (97-98)
“5: The ‘Theseíon’ and the Agorá” (99-104)
“17B: Via the Mesogeia” (144-153)
“21: From Athens to Marathon. Rhamnous” (160-167)
“26: Corinth to Mycenae (Mikínes), Argos, and Návplio” (211-221)
“27: Myceane (Mikínes)” (221-232)
“28: Návplio, Tiryns (Tírintha) and the Argive Heraíon (Iraío)” (232-243)
“41: Athens to Thebes (Thíva). Central Boeotia (Viotía)” (346-352)

Blegen, Carl W. et al. A Guide to The Palace of Nestor: Mycenaean Sites in its Environs, and the Chora Museum. Princeton: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 2001.
Cameron, Pat Selections from Blue Guide: Crete. 7th edition. London: A & C Black, 2003.

“A history of Crete” (37-55)
“Herákleion” (62-99)
“Knossos” (99-120)
“Phourni” (124-128)
“Phaistós” (147-154)
“Ayía Triáda” (154-159)
“Khaniá” (352-372)

Camp II, John McK. The Athenian Agora: A Short Guide. Athens: American School of Classical Studies Athens, 2003.
Caskey, John L. and Blackburn, E. T. Lerna in the Argolid. Athens: American School of Classical Studies Athens, 1978.
Davaras, Costis The Palace of Malia. Translated by W.W. Phelps. Athens: Hellenic Ministry of Culture Archaeological Receipts Fund, 1994.
Gournia. Athens: Hellenic Ministry of Culture Archaeological Receipts Fund, 1989.
The Palace of Zakros. Athens: Hellenic Ministry of Culture Archaeological Receipts Fund, 1989.
Demakopoulou, Keith & Divari-Valakou, Nikoletta The Mycenaean Citadel of Midea. Athens: Hellenic Ministry of Culture Archaeological Receipts Fund, 2010.
Eleftheratou, Stamatia, ed. Acropolis Museum: Short Guide. Athens: Acropolis Museum, 2011.
Hadzi-Vallianou, Despina Phaistos. Translated by W.W. Phelps. Athens: Hellenic Ministry of Culture Archaeological Receipts Fund, 1994.
Kaltsas, Nikolaos The National Archaeological Museum. Athens: EPG Eurobank S. A. and John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, 2007.
Kavvadias, George and Giannikapani, Eutychia, eds. South Slope of the Acropolis: Brief history and tour. Athens: Hellenic Ministry of Culture, 2004.
Steinhauer, George Marathon and the Archaeological Museum. Athens: EPG Eurobank S. A. and John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, 2009.
Trianti, Ismini The Acropolis Museum. Athens: EPG Eurobank S. A. and John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, 1998.
Zafeiropoulou, Diana, ed. The National Archaeological Museum. Athens: Hellenic Ministry of Culture Archaeological Receipts Fund, 2005.

Online Resources

The Acropolis Museum

Herakleion Archaeological Museum (part of the Odysseus website sponsored by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism)

Virtual tour of Knossos (a project of the British School at Athens)

National Archaeological Museum in Athens

Prehistoric Archaeology of the Aegean (a site developed by Jeremy Rutter and sponsored by Dartmouth College and the Foundation for the Hellenic World)

The Pylos Project, part of the Minnesota Archaeological Researches in the Western Peloponnese (MARWP)

Archäologische Forshungen in Tiryns (a joint project of Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg and the German Archaeological Institute)

UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Monuments