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The Archaeology of Greece and Rome


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 4
  • Convenor: Professor Jennifer Baird
  • Assessment: a 500-word object analysis (20%), a 1500-word excavation report analysis (20%), a 2000-word essay and a three-hour examination (40%)

Module description

This course explores the opportunities archaeology offers in studying the cultures and societies of ancient Greece and Rome. The period covered, roughly from the rise of the Greek city-states to the 'decline and fall' of the Roman Empire, saw the spread and transformation of classical civilisation beyond the Mediterranean into Europe, Asia and Africa. While this process has traditionally been studied through the narratives presented in ancient texts, the course will forefront aspects of ancient society that can be accessed through material remains, including cultural identity, daily life, economic practice, imperialism, the military, politics and religion.

The syllabus will introduce the range of evidence used for the study of classical civilisation, from archaeological features, artefacts and art, to architecture and landscape survey. We will assess the different methodological approaches that have been developed in recent scholarship, and apply them to case studies from a variety of regions and social contexts.

Indicative module content

Term 1: Greece

  • Approaching the archaeology of Greece and Rome
  • Greek city-states
  • Greek landscapes
  • The archaeology of Greek death
  • The archaeology of Greek religion
  • The archaeology of Greek households
  • Greeks and Barbarians
  • The archaeology of Greek economy
  • The archaeology of Athens
  • The archaeology of Sparta

Term 2: Rome

  • The Roman Empire and its provinces
  • The archaeology of the City of Rome
  • The archaeology of the Roman economy
  • The archaeology of Roman death
  • The archaeology of Roman slavery
  • The archaeology of Roman religion
  • The archaeology of Roman landscapes
  • The archaeology of the Roman military
  • Frontiers and neighbours of the Roman Empire

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • understand key issues in ancient Greek and Roman history
  • discuss the history, culture and politics of the ancient world
  • analyse both primary and secondary evidence
  • assess the conflicting claims made by primary and secondary sources.