Why should one take a class on Greek Archaeology?

I have asked archaeology concentrators and non-concentrators to comment on why should a student take a Greek Archaeology class? What does one hope to take away from such a course and how learning about the Greek past is relevant to our students’ lives? Tom and Sophie are taking the class this Spring  and share their thoughts.

Tom Pettengill:

Every academic subject has something unique to offer, and archaeology is no exception. Studying archaeology challenges you to look beyond what you see and urges you to make connections to see the bigger picture – to go beyond merely memorizing details. It forces you to look at objects or events not only from your perspective, but from the perspectives of those who created, used, and experienced it. You learn to ask why and how, but you also learn to imagine the lives and stories behind things that are now past their time. Archaeology teaches you how to analyze, but it also teaches you to use your imagination and to recreate a world that once was. For me, studying Greek archaeology will allow me to pursue all of the important benefits of archaeology, all the while learning about one of the most influential and interesting ancient cultures of all time.





The image I chose is the lighthouse of Alexandria. I took a course on Egyptology last semester, and this is one monument that really stuck in my mind. It depicts the melding of both Roman and Egyptian cultures and was a major landmark of the city. It demonstrates a civilization’s ability to grow and innovate into a more complex society. Also, lighthouses (to me anyway) have always symbolized a sort of mystery, knowledge, and fortitude – something that I’m sure we will all find within this class!

Sophie Cohen:

Homer’s tales, Plato’s teaching, Phidias’s architectural feats are just a few of the many notable examples from the Greek past. As an archaeology concentrator, a class on archaeologies of Greece is imperative. Looking at the history of archaeology, it is hard to ignore this awe-inspiring branch of Classical Archaeology that has captured the minds of scholars, artists, poets, and authors alike. Not only are the civilizations and cultures of the Greek past still admired today, but also they were respected in their time as some of the most advanced and well connected people. Some civilizations like the Mycenaeans had elaborate fortifications and burial sites while others like the Minoans had strong seafaring capabilities and far-reaching trade routes. Regardless of what their strengths were, they solidified themselves as powerful and influential people in their respective times.

As Brown students, we are constantly presented with architecture, sculpture, and customs in our lives that are influenced by these ancient civilizations. Whether it is the columns on some of our university’s buildings, or the upcoming Olympics, we are reminded of the archaeologies of the Greek past every day. Furthermore, a good archaeologist should not be exclusive – not choosing to study Greek history, in my opinion, would give an archaeologist an incomplete depiction of archaeology as a whole.



This picture shows a Minoan fresco found in the palace of Knossos. This further illustrates their seafaring ways and their knowledge of the Mediterranean aquatic life. The immense detail of this piece gives us, as archaeologists and students, a glimpse of the lavish palace and its artistic style.


If you want to visit the original post and read the comments on the entry, visit: http://blogs.brown.edu/arch-0420-2014-spring-s01/2014/01/27/why-should-one-take-a-class-on-greek-archaeology/


The Other Side of Immigration

The first seminar of the course on January 22nd was dedicated to a basic premise of the course that migration is a phenomenon of all times and that insights in modern contexts of migration may be helpful to understand ancient contexts.

To this end, we watched the documentary The Other Side of Immigration, which ‘challenges audiences to think about the many political, economic, and social causes and effects of mass migration in Mexico’ – (see http://theothersideofimmigration.com/). The following discussion led us to the view that migration is not a one-off event but may be cyclical or recurrent; it may be thought of as a process. For more talking points, see http://www.roygermano.com/immigration_discussion_questions.pdf.

This was followed up by a brief discussion of a well-known migrant in Classical Antiquity, namely Demaratus of Corinth and a brief exploration of the Aristonothos Krater.


Greek Archaeology Introduction

Greek Archaeology


                      ARCH 0420 Archaeologies of the Greek Past – Fotini Kondyli  

From Bronze Age palaces to the Acropolis in Athens and on the trail of Alexander the Great, this course explores the ancient Greek world through archaeology—using art, architecture, and everyday objects to learn about ancient Greek society, from the monumental to the mundane. It also considers how we experience ancient Greece today, including questions about archaeological practice, the antiquities trade, and cultural heritage. WRIT.

Follow the class’ blog on current views on Greek archaeology, discoveries, debates, politics and archaeology here: http://blogs.brown.edu/arch-0420-2014-spring-s01/

Course website: http://proteus.brown.edu/greekpast2014/Home

Meets: MWF 1:00-1:50pm, Rhode Island Hall 108

To view all blog posts for this class, click on Greek Archaeology at the top right of this page.

Islamic Archaeology Introduction

Islamic Archaeology

Conquest to Conversion: The Formation of the Islamic World

 ARCH 1620  |  Tu/Thu 10.30-11.50  |  Rhode Island Hall 008

Corisande Fenwick 

How did a small group of tribes from Arabia create one of the largest empires the world has ever seen and how did their religion – Islam – come to be a major world religion?  This course challenges monolithic understandings of life in the early Islamic world by highlighting its vibrant cultures, sophisticated technologies, complex cities, monumental architecture and far-reaching commercial networks. Following in the footsteps of Arab-Muslim soldiers, scholars, traders, explorers and missionaries, we will move between Arabia, the imperial centres of Baghdad and Damascus and the furthest reaches of the Arab-Islamic world from Spain to sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Ocean. We will use the evidence of texts, landscapes, architecture and images to examine how an Arab empire emerged, to explore what it meant to be Muslim and/or Arab, and to understand social life in the first three centuries of Islam (600-900CE).

To view all blog posts for this class, click on Islamic Archaeology at the top right of this page.

Material Networks Introduction

Material Networks

The movement of people and objects has always stood at the heart of endeavors to understand the course and processes of human history. In the Mediterranean, evidence of such movements is particularly abundant, and issues like migration, colonialism and exchange have played prominent roles in archaeological, historical and anthropological discussions.

Migration and Material Culture

Migration and Material Culture

This course explores Mediterranean migration past and present through the lens of material culture by zooming in on the material surroundings of migrants and their host societies and by tracing the connections that they forged across the Mediterranean seas.

ARCH 2230  |  Wed 3.00-5.20  |  Rhode Island Hall 008

Peter van Dommelen

To view all blog posts for this class, click on Material Networks at the top right of this page.

Welcome to Archaeology at Brown

This site features updates on archaeology at Brown. The majority of these posts will be written by students in Archaeology and the Ancient World courses, but we may occasionally also highlight other archaeological news at the university, or of interest to our community.

In Spring 2014, students from three of our courses will be posting regular updates to this site. They would welcome comments and questions on these posts.

Brown Bag Talks for Spring 2013

Talks are held
Thursdays from 12:00-1:00 PM
Rhode Island Hall, Room 108
Brown University, 60 George Street, Providence, RI

January 31
Andrea Roppa (University of Leicester)

Divergent colonial situations? Nuragics and Phoenicians in Iron Age Sardinia

February 7
Sylvian Fachard (Joukowsky Institute, Brown University)

As Boeotian as it gets? Studying the walls of Eleutherai within their landscape.

February 21
Alyce de Carteret (Anthropology, Brown University)

The Red Shift: Insights into Polity Aesthetics from the Maya Site of El Zotz, Guatemala

February 28
M. Willis Monroe (Egyptology and Ancient Western Asian Studies, Brown University)

The Black Stone of Desire: Diorite Trade in the Persian Gulf, Unpacking a Commodity of Opportunity

March 7
Suzanne Pilaar Birch (Joukowsky Institute, Brown University)

Before the Neolithic…: Forager Lifeways in Mesolithic Croatia and the Transition from Hunting to Herding

March 21
Christian Marek (Classics, Brown University)

Political Institutions and language: the process of Hellenization in Western Anatolia

April 4
Rachel Engmann (Joukowsky Institute, Brown University)

Come and Take Back Your Stuff!: Excavating The Royal Museum of Central Africa, Colonialism and Postcolonial Realities in Belgium

April 11
Susan Herringer (Engineering & Joukowsky Institute, Brown University)

Investigations into Archaeometallurgy using Neutron Radiography and Tomography

TUESDAY, April 16
Marjon Steedman (University of Glasgow)

Romanization and Early Latin Inscriptions on Sardinia

April 18
Alexander Smith (Joukowsky Institute, Brown University)

Island Indigeneity and Empire: An Exploration of the Spanish Balearic Islands in Late First Millennium B.C.E.

April 25
Timothy Sandiford (Joukowsky Institute, Brown University)

Petihor’s Problem: Living and Working in the Northern Abydos Settlement Site, Upper Egypt

Brown Bag Talks for Fall 2012

Talks are held
Thursdays from 12:00-1:00 PM
Rhode Island Hall, Room 108
Brown University, 60 George Street, Providence, RI

September 13
Sturt Manning (Cornell University)

The Roman World and Climate: Context, Relevance of Climate Change

September 27
Amanda Lynch (Geological Sciences, Brown University)

The role of the Yorta Yorta people in clarifying the common interest in sustainable management of the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia

October 4
Fotini Kondyli (Joukowsky Institute, Brown University)

Memory and Power at the Borders of the Byzantine Empire

October 11
Tesse D. Stek (Leiden University)

State Organization and Cult Places in Latin Colonies

October 25
Andrea Matranga (Pompeu Fabra University, Spain)

Mankind’s Best Mistake: How The First Farmers Accepted Subsistence Living in Exchange for Stability

November 1
Elizabeth Murphy (Joukowsky Institute, Brown University)

November 8
Cinzia Pappi (Egyptology and Ancient Western Asian Studies, Brown University)

Recent Excavations at Satu Qala in Northern Iraq

November 15
Alba Serino (University of L’Aquila)

The Cistercian Order in Middle Age: a topographic approach to the study of Cistercian landscape developments in France and Italy

November 29
Cristina Corsi

Radiography of the past. Integrated non-destructive approaches for studying complex archaeological sites

Brown Bag Talks for Spring 2012

Talks are held
Thursdays from 12:00-1:00 PM
Rhode Island Hall, Room 108
Brown University, 60 George Street, Providence, RI

February 2
Kevin Smith (Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology)

Symbols of Power and the Color of Belief: Legitimation, Place, and State Formation in 13th Century Iceland

February 23
Julia Troche (Egyptology and Ancient Western Asian Studies)

Education and Virtual Reality: An Exemplar of a Ptolemaic Temple

March 1
Thomas Garrison (Anthropology and Joukowsky Institute)

Re-Thinking Regional Analysis in Lowland Maya Archaeology

March 8
Eben Gay (Engineering)

REVEAL: Excavation Tools for the Twenty-First Century

March 15
Felipe Gaitan-Ammann (Anthropology)

Good to Show, Good to Eat: Traveling Pots in the Spanish Golden Age

March 22
Carrie Murray (Joukowsky Institute)

Investigating Cultural Interaction and Identity Formation through Material Culture and Social Practices at the Greek Colony of Emporion

April 5
Timothy Sandiford (Joukowsky Institute)

A City No Less than Thebes? A Report on the Northern Abydos Settlement Site (Upper Egypt) 2011-2012 Season

April 10 (TUESDAY!)
Leonardo López Luján (Museo del Templo Mayor, Mexico City)

Cosmology in Teotihuacan and Recent Archaeological Work at the Pirámide de la Luna

April 12 (THURSDAY!)
Sarah Ralph (Harvard University)

Performing Violence in Iron Age Europe

April 19
Felipe Rojas (Joukowsky Institute)

Signs of God, Signs of Men: Ancient Interaction with Foreign Scripts in the Mediterranean

April 26
Christoph Bachhuber (Joukowsky Institute)

The Early Bronze Age at Zincirli (Ancient Sam’al) in Southeastern Turkey: a Platform to Consider ‘Hurrian’ Monumental Modifications of Settlement Mounds

May 3
Jessica Nowlin (Joukowsky Institute)

Reorienting Orientalization: Iron Age Central Italy Beyond the ‘Princely’ Tombs

May 10
John “Mac” Marston (Anthropology)

Towards a Regional Perspective on Agricultural Sustainability in the Imperial Eastern Mediterranean

Brown Bag Talks for Fall 2011

Talks are held
Thursdays from 12:00-1:00 PM
Rhode Island Hall, Room 108
Brown University, 60 George Street, Providence, RI

September 15

Professionalization: How to Write a Syllabus

September 22
Serena Love (Brown University)

The Mudbrick Architecture of Çatalhöyük

September 29
Sarah Craft (Brown University)

Dynamic Landscapes: Early Christian Pilgrimage and Travel Infrastructure in Anatolia

October 6
Brad Sekedat (Brown University)

The Places Hadrian Didn’t Go. Rural Quarries in Western Anatolia

October 13
Ömür Harmansah (Brown University)

Springs, caves and the Anatolian countryside: Yalburt Yaylası Archaeological Landscape Research Project, Field Seasons 2010-2011

October 20

October 27
Manuel Sánchez-Elipe Lorente (Universidad Compultense de Madrid)

West-central African archaeology: Iron Age burials in Corisco Island (EquatorialGuinea)

November 3
Kristine Bøggild Johannsen (Thorvaldsens Museum)

Thorvaldsen and Antiquity

November 10
Christopher Geggie (Brown University)

Greco-Roman Bilingualism and Identity: A New Interpretation of CIL 6.14672

November 17
Nicolas Lamare (Université Paris-Sorbonne)

Monumental Fountains in Roman North Africa

December 1
Rachel Mairs (Brown University)

The Second-Century BC ‘Invasion’ of Bactria: Should We Revisit ‘Nomadism’, ‘Migration’ and ‘Ethnicity’?