CX111-15 Encounters with Material Culture: Objects and Archaeology
This module will provide students with the tools required to approach and interpret the material culture of the ancient world, and to understand the different questions which can be asked of this material. It will look at how we approach and define ancient material culture, including the study of buildings, art-works, inscriptions and everyday objects. We will consider issues such as material, production and consumption, style, form and iconography, contexts of discovery and use, as well as the ways objects communicate and change over their lifetimes. The module will also act as a taster for the exploration of some of these aspects in more detail in our Honours-level modules.
The module aims to introduce students to some of the main areas relevant to the study of material culture from the ancient world. Students will learn how to describe objects, thinking about aspects such as production, material, style and iconography. They will also learn how to interpret drawings and reconstructions, as well as exploring some of the different roles objects play in different contexts. Assessment methods will develop skills in presenting and describing ancient objects, as well as communicating their significance to different audiences.
This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.
1: Introduction and the Art of Making
2: The Marble Trade in Antiquity
3: Understanding Ancient Architecture
4: Art 1: Style
5: Art 2: Iconography
7: Art 3: Contexts: Discovery and Use
8: Objects and Communication
10: Destruction and reconstruction
There will also be three seminars, developing specific skills of analysis.
By the end of the module, students should be able to:
- Describe ancient objects, considering aspects such as material, form, style and iconography
- Understand catalogues, drawings and plans of ancient material culture
- Set ancient objects into different contexts, thinking about how they communicate different messages.
- Communicate the significance of material culture for our understanding of the ancient world
Indicative reading list
ALCOCK S.E. & OSBORNE R. (ed.), Classical Archaeology, 2007.
Whitley, J. 2001. The Archaeology of Ancient Greece. Cambridge
Renfrew, C. and P. Bahn. 2017. Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice. Thames and Hudson (7th edition)
GREENE K., Moore, Th., Archaeology. An Introduction, 2010 (fifth edition; 1983, first edition by Greene, K.).
HODDER I., Reading the Past, Current Approaches to Interpretation in Archaeology, 1986/93.
M. Stansbury O'Donnell, Looking at Greek Art, 2011.
R. Neer, Art and Archaeology of the Greek World. 2019
S. Tuck A history of Roman Art, 2015.
Elsner, Art and the Roman Viewer
Newby-Leader Newby , Art and Inscriptions in the Ancient World
Elsner Imperial Rome & Christian Triumph
Cooley Cambridge Manual of Latin Epigraphy
Nevett Domestic Space
Stewart Social History of Roman Art
Henig,Handbook of Roman Art
Renfrew & Bahn, Archaeology Theories, Methods & Practice
Dodge H and Ward-Perkins B (eds.) 1992 Marble in Antiquity. Collected Papers of J B Ward-Perkins, London.
Hirt F 2010 Imperial Mines and Quarries in the Roman World: Organizational Aspects, Oxford.
Russell B 2013 The Economics of the Roman Stone Trade, Oxford.
Subject specific skills
By the end of the module students will be able to demonstrate the ability to :
Describe ancient objects, considering aspects such as material, form, style and iconography,
Understand catalogues, drawings and plans of ancient material culture,
Set ancient objects into different contexts, thinking about how they communicate different messages,
Communicate the significance of material culture for our understanding of the ancient world
- critical thinking
- problem solving
- active lifelong learning
- information literacy
- ICT literacy
|Lectures||9 sessions of 2 hours (12%)|
|Seminars||3 sessions of 1 hour (2%)|
|Tutorials||2 sessions of 1 hour (1%)|
|Demonstrations||1 session of 2 hours (1%)|
|Practical classes||(0%)||20 sessions of 1 hour|
|External visits||1 session of 2 hours (1%)|
|Private study||63 hours (42%)|
|Assessment||60 hours (40%)|
Private study description
No private study requirements defined for this module.
|Category||Description||Funded by||Cost to student|
|Field trips, placements and study abroad||
museum trip travel
You do not need to pass all assessment components to pass the module.
Assessment group A
|Attendance log||10%||10 hours|
% of recorded attendance, across both lectures & seminars
|Catalogue entry||50%||30 hours|
Catalogue entry for a building or object.
|poster presentation||40%||20 hours|
poster showing how objects can be used to study a specific aspect of the ancient world. Poster content work 75%, oral presentation 25% (ie 30/10% of overall assessment). Presentations will occur in a plenary session in Term 3; students with RAs will be able to record their presentation if necessary.
Feedback on assessment
Individual tutorials, Tabula feedback marking sheets
This module is Core for:
- Year 1 of UCXA-VV16 Undergraduate Ancient History and Classical Archaeology
- Year 1 of UCXA-VV18 Undergraduate Ancient History and Classical Archaeology with Study in Europe
This module is Core optional for:
- Year 1 of UCXA-Q82P Undergraduate Classical Civilisation
This module is Optional for:
- Year 1 of UCXA-Q820 Undergraduate Classical Civilisation
- Year 1 of UCXA-Q821 Undergraduate Classical Civilisation with Study in Europe
This module is Core option list A for:
- Year 1 of UCXA-Q800 BA in Classics
- Year 1 of UCXA-Q802 Undergraduate Classics (Latin) with Study in Europe