Spring Term

Primarily for Undergraduates

ARCH 0200  Sport in the Ancient Greek World (First-Year Seminar) [Register] [Course Website]
Athletics and sports were as popular and significant in the ancient Greek world as they are today, and so offer an excellent introduction to its archaeology and history. This class will discuss the development of Greek athletics, the nature of individual events, the social implications of athletic professionalism, women and athletics, and the role of sport in Greek education.   TTh 10:30–11:50.  Instructor:  John Cherry

ARCH 0410 Mediterranean Bronze Age [Register] [Course Website]
Snake goddesses and bull leaping, labyrinths and gold masks, Linear B and Homeric heroes: these are only some of the most famous things about the Minoan and Mycenaean cultures of Bronze Age Crete and Greece. This class will also explore questions about the historicity of the Trojan War, trade and exchange; ritual landscapes; the origins of writing; death and burial; the eruption of the Theran volcano; and the collapse of the Mycenaean palaces.   MWF 2:00–2:50.  Instructor:  Elissa Faro

ARCH 0520 Roman Archaeology and Art [Register] [Course Website]
Anyone who has ever watched “Gladiator”, “Spartacus”, “Life of Brian”, or “Bugs Bunny: Roman Legion Hare” has some image of Rome, the Romans and their empire.  This course, while exploring and assessing these influential popular preconceptions, introduces a more balanced view of Roman archaeology and art, examining not only the “eternal city” of Rome, but its vast and diverse imperial domain.  MWF 11:00–11:50.  Instructor:  Susan Alcock

For Undergraduates and Graduates

ARCH 1600  Archaeologies of the Near East [Register] [Course Website]
Writing, urbanism, agriculture, imperialism: the ancient Near East is known as the place where earliest agriculture flourished, cities were developed and writing was invented. This course offers a detailed examination of the region’s archaeological history and current archaeological practice, in connection with its political engagements including Western colonialism and the formation of nation states. The social and cultural history of the Near East from prehistory to the end of Iron age (300 BC) will also be discussed.   MWF 10:00-10:50.  Instructor: Omur Harmansah

ARCH1700  Architectural Sculpture of Ancient Greece and Rome [Register] [Course Website]
What would Times Square or Rockefeller Center have looked like in antiquity? What would have been advertised, and by whom? This course examines the themes, style, and contexts of the sculptural programs that decorated public buildings from the Greco-Roman world, their connections to other visual media and to the landscape, and their reflections of different cultural, civic, and elite identities.    TTh 2:30–3:50.  Instructor:  Diana Ng

ARCH 1800  Contemporary Issues in Archaeological Theory [Register] [Course Website]
This course will explore how archaeologists have placed material remains in the context of human practices, cultural processes and long-term history. Following a brief review of the history of the discipline as a social science, contemporary issues such as social complexity, technology and agency, ideology and narrative, gender and sexuality, production of space and construction of landscapes will be discussed. Case studies of archaeological materials will be drawn mostly from the ancient Western Asian and Mediterranean worlds.   Th 4:00–6:20.   Instructor: Omur Harmansah

ARCH 1850  Comparative Empires and Material Culture [Register] [Course Website]
The political, military, and cultural unit of “empire” has, by now, been the subject of numerous and varied studies. This seminar will explore the tangible effects of empires, that is, the art and architecture created when societies are engaged in what can be viewed as asymmetrical power relationships. In order to understand how conditions specific to empire influence the creation, dissemination, and reception of material culture, this course will examine the artifacts of four different empires—the Roman, the Chinese, the British, and the American—and their unique political, social, and cultural contexts. The creation of a ‘virtual exhibit’ of a range of illustrative artifacts is currently envisioned as an outcome of the class.  W 3:00–5:20.  Instructor: Diana Ng

Primarily for Graduates

ARCH2250 Island Archaeology in the Mediterranean [Register] [Course Website]
The Mediterranean is a world of islands, par excellence, and the island cultures that have developed there over the millennia have great archaeological distinctiveness. This seminar will consider the concept of insularity itself, in cross-cultural archeological, anthropological, and historical perspective.  We will then turn to the rich, specifically Mediterranean literature on island archaeology (exploring issues of colonization, settlement, interaction).  M 3:00–5:20.  Instructor: John Cherry

ARCH2400 Sacred Space: Archaeological and Religious Studies Perspectives [Register] [Course Website]
Innumerable cultures, past and present, have singled out specific locales and even whole landscapes as powerful vectors for communicating with the divine. This course will analyze such spaces for their ability to transform body, escape the material plane, and reconstitute social relations and bodily practice. Case studies will largely be drawn from the Mediterranean world and will employ an archaeological attention to the materiality of these sacred spaces. Key concepts will include: ritual practice, landscape production, memory and agency.   T 4:00–6:20.  Instructor: Ian Straughn


The following courses, listed in other departments, may be of interest to students concentrating in Archaeology and the Ancient World and may fulfill certain concentration requirements. Please check the course listings of the sponsoring department for times and locations.
American Civilization:
AMCV 1520 Technology and Material Culture in America: The Urban Built Environment (Malone)
ANTH 1260 Indigenous People; Birds (Krech)
ANTH 1600 Hunter/Gatherer Adaptation (Gould)
ANTH 1623 Archaeology of Death (Rubertone)
ANTH 1710 Biological Issues (Gould)
ANTH 2500C GIS and Remote Sensing in Archaeology (Garrison)
CLAS 0520 Religion and Magic in Ancient Greece (Boedeker)
CLAS 0660 The World of Byzantium (Papaioannou)
CLAS 1220 The History of Greece from Archaic Times to the Death of Alexander (Fornara)
CLAS 1750I Highways and Byways in Antiquity (Alcock and Bodel)
Comparative Literature:
COLT 1811R Modern Identities and the Mediterranean (Pourgouris)
EGYT 1210 Archaeology of Ancient Egypt (Hikade)
EGYT 1480 Ancient Egypt in the Global World (Hikade)
Environmental Studies:
ENVS 1800 Land-use Change in the Developing World (Hamburg)
GEOL 1330 Global Environmental Remote Sensing (Mustard)
GREK 2000B Greek Epigraphy (Scafuro)
History of Art and Architecture:
HIAA 0010 Introduction to the History of Art and Architecture (Muller)
HIAA 0210 Chinese Painting during the Song Dynasty (Bickford)
HIAA 1410A Topics in Islamic Art: Islamic Art and Architecture on the Indian Subcontinent (Landrus)
HIAA 1440A Visual Culture of Medieval Women (Bonde)
HIAA 2860B Topics in History of Photography: Photographic Origins (Nickel)
Judaic Studies:
JUDS 1450 The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls (Galor)
Medieval Studies:
MDVL 0360 Medieval Perspectives
Modern Culture and Media:
MCM 1700N Open Source Culture: Art, Technology, Intellectual Property (Tribe)
Religious Studies:
RELS 1620 Disability in Antiquity (Olyan)


Fall Term

Primarily for Undergraduates

ARCH0420  Archaeologies of the Greek Past
Beginning with the destruction of the Bronze Age palaces, through the classical age of Greek art and architecture, to the conquests of Alexander the Great, this course provides a general survey of Greek archaeology and art.  It will address questions of how archaeology helps to (re)construct ancient Greek society, and it will capitalize on the energies and mystique of the Greek past – from the monumental to the mundane.  MWF 11:00–11:50.  Instructor: Christopher Witmore

ARCH0600 Introduction to Islamic Archaeology
Muslim societies are built upon a rich archaeological heritage of architecture, artifacts, and sites that stretches more than a millennium and spans a region from Spain to China. This course explores that heritage across time and space for what it can tell us about the various societies that make up the Muslim world of the past. Through examination of various sites as well as hands-on work with a collection of artifacts, this course examines the social worlds of this important religious and cultural tradition.  MWF 10:00–10:50.  Instructor: Ian Straughn

For Undergraduates and Graduates

ARCH1150 Urbanism in the Archaeological Record
This course investigates ancient cities in the comparative context of several archaeological regions. Considering contemporary approaches to urban space, we will explore urbanism in the ancient Near East, Egypt, and Aegean with comparative examples from pre-hispanic Mexico and China. We will explore the spatial and socio-economic structuring of cities in relation to festivals, state spectacles, monumental building projects, and other commemorative practices, investigating layered urban topographies saturated with collective pasts.  TTh 10:30–11:50.  Instructor: Omur Harmansah

ARCH1500 Classical Art in the RISD Museum
The RISD Museum’s collection of Greek, Etruscan and Roman art will be studied firsthand and in light of recent scholarship in art history, archaeology and museum studies.  The course will explore original contexts for museum objects; issues of cultural property and museum ethics; conservation and restoration; design and education components of exhibitions; and notions of historical interpretation in museum display.  W 3:00–5:20.  Instructor:  Gina Borromeo

ARCH1650 The Etruscans: Italy Before the Rise of the Romans
The Etruscan people dominated the Italian peninsula for centuries before the Romans became a Mediterranean power, but left behind little textual evidence of their culture. Focusing on architecture, artistic production, and funerary practice, we will study the “enigmatic” Etruscans and their contacts with the Greeks and early Romans, and consider their impact on Rome and on modern Italian archaeological scholarship.   TTh 2:30-3:50 pm.  Instructor:  Diana Ng

ARCH1900 The Archaeology of College Hill
A training class in field and laboratory techniques.  Topics include the nature of field archaeology, excavation and survey methodologies, archaeological ethics, computer technologies (such as GIS), and site and artifact analysis and conservation.  Students will act as practicing archaeologists through the investigation of local historical and archaeological sites in the College Hill area  (e.g. the First Baptist Church of America).  This course is restricted to advanced undergraduate students, and permission to register will be given by instructor after the first class meeting.  M 3:00–5:20.  Instructor: Katherine Marino

Primarily for Graduates

ARCH2100 Things! The Material Worlds of Humanity
This course explores the relationships between people and things. From archaeology to material culture studies, from philosophy to science studies, we will examine a wide variety of approaches to the world of objects, artifacts, and material goods. Perspectives will include materialist approaches, consumption studies (including notions of fetish), phenomenology, social constructivism, cognitive approaches, actor-network-theory, and more.   T 4:00–6:20.  Instructor: Christopher Witmore

ARCH2300 The Rise (and Demise) of the State in the Near East
Discourses on state formation dominate archaeological explorations of Mesopotamia in association with social complexity, urbanization, long-distance trade, and development of writing. Archaeological evidence from the 4th-3rd millennia BC was incorporated into narratives of state from chiefdoms to empires, and linked to its ideologies and political economies. We will unpack this preoccupation with states in academic practice, while exploring case studies from Mesopotamia, Anatolia and the Levant from 9000 to 2000 BC.   Th 4:00–6:20.  Instructor: Omur Harmansah

ARCH 2500 Art and Archaeology of Civic Identity
Every urban community in the Greco-Roman world presented itself in a specific way to other communities and to foreign entities. Looking at coins, public monuments, programmatic sculpture, and epigraphic and textual evidence, we will address different concerns related to the formation and propagation of civic identities. Comparative material from other historical periods and theoretical and anthropological literature on group identity, social cohesion, and empire will contextualize the visual and archaeological evidence.  M. 3:00-5:20 pm.  Instructor: Diana Ng