Michael Shanks
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Eight great archaeological sites in Europe

Sophomore seminar
Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10
160 - 127 (not 50-51P as advertised)
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 so fascinating.

Course materials
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 or equivalent.

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 Press.

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 the goods.

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 nineteenth century.
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.
After a couple of lectures about the history of archaeology and a sketch of European prehistory and ancient history, the course will run through the eight sites I have chosen. There wilI also be time for review and discussion. I list a few books here to get us going. Depending on the shape of the group, I will add to these.

Each week of the eight sites will involve a look at the site itself, the excavations and publications (first lecture), and a discussion of the context of problems/issues (second lecture). There will be plenty of opportunity for questions and class discussion - so come along with your interests and queries!

Week 1
Tuesday September 28
>> Introduction 1 – Archaeology in Europe - a short history

Thursday September 30
>> Introduction 2 - A short archaeology of Europe
To set the scene with a basic framework of dates, periods, ideas etc.

Week 2
Tuesday October 5
Thursday October 7
Stonehenge – stones in a prehistoric landscape
Mystery, mysticism and an archaeological answer to the meaning of Stonehenge. Mother goddesses and druids. Romantic landscapes and a sense of the English countryside. An anthropological perspective on prehistoric architecture.
Chippindale, C. 1994. Stonehenge Complete, Second edition. London: Thames and Hudson.
Chippindale, C., P. Devereux, P. Fowler, R. Jones, and T. Sebastian. 1990. Who Own's Stonehenge? London: Batsford.
Bender, B. 1998. Stonehenge: Making Space. Oxford: Berg.

>> lecture and notes

Week 3
Tuesday October 12
Thursday October 14
Gavrinis – megaliths, dark rituals and ceremony in prehistoric Brittany
The megalithic phenomenon in northern and Atlantic Europe. Landscape sculpture among the first farmers of western Europe – sites of feasting and dark dealings with the bones of the dead.
Generally on megaliths:
Bradley, R. 1998. The Significance of Monuments: On the Shaping of Human Experience in Neolithic and Bronze Age Europe. London: Routledge.

>> lecture and notes
>> notes - standing back and interpreting the megalithic phenomenon

Week 4
Tuesday October 19
Thursday October 21
El Amarna - city of Akhnaten
OK so this is on the Nile in Egypt. But I couldn't resist bringing it into the course - I did some work on it this summer and the place just blew my mind!
Kemp, B. 1989. Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a civilization. New York: Routledge. Barry Kemp is the latest to excavate the site.

>> lecture and notes

Week 5
Tuesday October 26
Thursday October 28
Review week

please have a look at the readings
please visit the Traumwerk web site and have a look at Knossos
>> go there

Week 6
Tuesday November 2
Thursday November 4
Knossos – labyrinthine ‘palace’ of the Aegean bronze age
Sir Arthur Evans and his art deco vision of a lost civilization. The workings of his golden culture. A tour round the ‘palace’. New light on the enigmas of the Aegean bronze age.
MacGillivray, J. A. 2000. Minotaur: Arthur Evans and the Archaeology of the Minoan Myth. New York: Hill and Wang.
A new biography.
Farnoux, A. 1996. Knossos. New York: Harry Abrams.
A beautifully illustrated and short read.

>> Knossos
>> second site - Knossos 1921

Week 7
Tuesday November 9
Namforsen - bronze age rock carvings in the north of Sweden - a glimpse of shamen in prehistoric everyday life.

Thursday November 11
Housesteads Roman fort – bleak outpost on Hadrian’s Wall, at the northern margins of empire
Spectacular traces of a monumental undertaking at the height of Roman power combined with archaeological insight into daily life in Roman Britain.

Week 8
Tuesday November 16
Thursday November 18
Dunstanburgh Castle – feudal lords and the archaeology of medieval England
Ruins in a picturesque ‘Turner’ landscape and the medieval castle in northern England revealed through modern excavation. The feudal lord and the life of the hunt.

Week 9
Tuesday November 23
Review of the course so far and assignment preparation

Thursday November 25 Thanksgiving

Week 10
Tuesday November 30
Thursday December 2
Olympia – sanctuary of Zeus and wonder of the ancient world
The remains of a monumental temple in an Arcadia dreamed by academics in a new German republic at the end of the nineteenth century.

Week 11
Tuesday December 7
Thursday December 9

Week 12
Friday December 10 4.00 pm Assignment due
Fall 2004