This course is an encounter with eight great archaeological sites in Europe.
The web site will gather key resources about each, with plans, photographs,
and selections from publications. It will be the basis for exploration of each
site in turn through its excavation, its features and finds, the arguments over
its interpretation, and its place in our understanding of the archaeological
history of Europe.
Together these sites introduce the many dimensions of the latest of archaeological,
and indeed anthropological thought. This is a primary aim - the course is a
taster of archaeological research. The sites also raise some key questions about
our understanding of ancient societies. And they were far stranger than we might
imagine. The archaeological perspective foregrounds interdisciplinary study
- geophysics articulated with art history, source criticism with analytic modeling,
statistics with more open forms of interpretation.
Another overall aim is a simple one – enrichment and enchantment. I will
be treating these as sites of the imagination – the medieval castle as
much about notions of the gothic and romantic as a source of information about
life in feudal England, a prehistoric monument as much a stimulus to reflect
upon the nature of mysticism as a subject of contemporary archaeological fieldwork.
A rationale for this approach is that I am particularly interested in our relationships
with the past as well as the past itself. For me, this is what makes much archaeology
This web site is the main resource for the course. Photocopied readings and
supporting materials will also occasionally be made available – so you
can build up a folder of materials.
Assignments and assessment
There is a choice. And the second choice will take you to the forefront
of archaeological authoring!
First - you may create a site report of your own. Either of one of the course
sites – adding to, annotating, commenting upon course materials. Or a
report on a site of your own choice. The format is up to you – portfolio,
essay, web site, whatever.
Or, and this is the one I would like you to consider carefully! To join with
me in creating a site report using some new web-based software (called Traumwerk)
that is designed to enable collaborative work. I will provide all necessary
equipment and software.
>> go to Traumwerk
Or, to join with me in finishing a web-based site report on Knossos. Again all
the equipment and software is available.
go to Knossos
The difference between three and five units is simply to size of the report or contribution to the website.
Three units – 4500 words or equivalent. Five units – 7500 words
I will work with you over the quarter to make sure you manage your project well.
Contact and advice
Please feel free to e-mail, phone or write to me.
>> contact Michael
Bibliography – a start
Here are some general books that cover some of the themes of the course. I have chosen
ones that are attractive, reasonably readable and authoritative. I have not included much
latest thinking - I will introduce that through the course and as seems fit.
You might try an atlas. The classic Past Worlds: Times Atlas of Archaeology
is out of print, though you might find a second hand copy.
This is new:
Aston, M., and T. Taylor. 1998. Atlas of Archaeology. London: Dorling Kindersley.
On European prehistory try the following:
Cunliffe, B. Editor. 1994. The Oxford Illustrated Prehistory of Europe. Oxford:
Oxford University Press.
Darvill, T. 1987. Prehistoric Britain. London: Batsford.
Scarre, C. 1999. Exploring Prehistoric Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
A ‘top sites’ type approach.
Champion, T., C. Gamble, S. Shennan, and A. Whittle. 1984. Prehistoric Europe.
London: Academic Press. A standard text book, somewhat dull, but an authority.
Whittle, A. 1996. Europe in the Neolithic: The Creation of New Worlds. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press. An attempt to be different in thinking and writing
about early farmers.
For some attractive photography:
Daniel, G., and P. Bahn. 1987. Ancient Places: The Prehistoric and Celtic Sites
of Britain. With Photographs by Anthony Gasgoigne. London: Constable.
Fowler, P., and M. Sharp. 1990. Images of Prehistory. Cambridge: Cambridge University
On Knossos and the bronze age Aegean:
Preziosi, D., and L. Hitchcock. 2000. Aegean Art and Architecture. Oxford: Oxford
University Press. Excellent new approach, though it doesn’t really deliver
These next two are very readable as a background to the excavations at Olympia:
Stoneman, P. 1998. A Luminous Land: Artisits Discover Greece. Los Angeles: J.
Paul Getty Museum. Superb paintings and illustrations particularly from the
Stoneman, R. 1987. Land of Lost Gods: the Search for Classical Greece. London:
Hutchinson. The story of our interest in ancient Greece.
There are lots of books on Egypt. Barry Kemp's Ancient Egypt (1989) does not have the best pictures, but it does get into the heart and soul of the culture.