Fall 2024

(Jump to Spring 2025)

ARCH 0033  Past Forward: Discovering Anthropological Archaeology (ANTH 0500) 
Interested students must register for ANTH 0500.
This course offers a broad journey through the human past, from material culture crafted by our evolutionary ancestors to the remnants of the recent historic past. To facilitate this journey, the class explores the methods, concepts, and theories that anthropologists employ in the study of past peoples, places, and things. Case studies stretch across the globe. As a hands-on endeavor, archaeology focuses on tangible evidence. In this course, small-group discussion, laboratory, and field exercises will complement lectures, leading to an understanding of how anthropologists study the past and how that knowledge affects the present. Instructors: Parker VanValkenburgh and Laurel Bestock. MWF 10-10:50am.

ARCH 0100  Field Archaeology in the Ancient World
Always wanted to be Indiana Jones? This course, focusing on the Mediterranean world and its neighbors in antiquity, interprets field archaeology in its broadest sense. In addition to exploring “how to do” archaeology – the techniques of locating, retrieving and analyzing ancient remains – we will consider how the nature of these methodologies affects our understanding of the past. Instructor: Laurel Bestock and Parker VanValkenburgh. MWF 10-10:50am.

ARCH 0172  South Asian Art and Architecture (HIAA 0023)
Interested students must register for HIAA 0023.
This course is an introduction to South Asian Art & Architecture, from 2500 BCE until the present, and to Southeast Asian Arts connected to them through religion, trade, or conquest. We will explore a range of media—including architecture, painting, sculpture, textiles, and photography—to ask critical questions about the nature of images and their relationship to emotions, the environment, devotion, politics, performance, and other art forms, like literature, music, and dance. The course will include regular visits to the RISD museum (A). Instructor: Holly Shaffer. TTh 9-10:20am.

ARCH 0230  Myriad Mediterraneans: Archaeology, Representation and Decolonization
As debates rage about the Classical roots of Western society, the ancient Mediterranean itself is largely overlooked and continues to be seen in stereotypes. Because the ancient Mediterranean was not just white, male and colonizing, this course will explore the extensive archaeological evidence for cultural, gender, ethnic, economic and other forms of diversity during the first millennium BCE. Can archaeology contribute to current debates about decolonization? Conversely, can contemporary debates about indigenous ways of being shine a fresh light on ancient evidence? FYS. Instructor: Peter van Dommelen. TTh 9-10:20am.

ARCH 0396  Ancient Synagogues, Churches, and Mosques (JUDS 0050P)
Interested students must register for JUDS 0050P.
In this seminar we will examine the architecture and art of synagogues, churches, and mosques from antiquity through the present. We will learn how different building traditions evolved over time, and how sacred spaces reflect beliefs and practices of Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Of interest will be both unique regional and chronological trends—characteristics that are indicative of a specific religious community—but also the parallels and shared features common to all Abrahamic religions. Special attention will be given to questions of gendered space and the role of patriarchy and women’s agency in shaping religious architectures. Instructor: Katharina Galor. Th 4-6:30pm.

ARCH 0398  Arts of the Sacred and the Demonic in the Ancient Mediterranean (RELS 0405)
Interested students must register for RELS 0405.
From rural temple to urban shrine, to elegant synagogue or village church, from household prayer nook to adorned tomb, people in the ancient world honored, encountered, and experienced their gods. They practiced a piety in which human flourishing depended on gestures, rituals, and built articulations of devotion mediated by beauty. But holy powers could also be malevolent, so ancient art served to protect, warn, or ward off evil spirits. This course will explore the art, architecture, and material cultures of ancient Greeks, Romans, Jews, and Christians between the 6th century BCE and the 6th century CE. We will consider a wide variety of evidence, including texts, sculpture, frescoes, mosaics, architecture, and domestic artifacts, to explore the many ways in which these distinct but connected communities expressed their beliefs through visual representations and material practices. Instructors: Susan Ashbrook Harvey and Gretel Rodriguez. MWF 12-12:50pm.

ARCH 0420  Archaeologies of the Greek Past
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 mysterious to the mundane.  It also considers how we experience ancient Greece today, including questions about archaeological practice, the antiquities trade, and cultural heritage. WRIT. Instructor: Zachary Silvia. MWF 1-1:50pm.

ARCH 0528  Living on the Edge: Communities of the Roman Frontier
The Roman Empire was surrounded by over 3,100 miles of frontier that marked the end of Roman territory. These regions are often discussed solely from a military standpoint, but soldiers were only a small part of a much larger frontier community that included women and children, locals and foreigners, and Romans and non-Romans. This course explores how these communities, often marked by asymmetrical power relationships between the Roman State and local communities, developed, investigating social structures, religion, art and architecture, and economies in order to understand what it was like to live on the edge of the Roman world. Instructor: Tyler Franconi. MWF 11-11:50am.

ARCH 0755  Engineering and Technology in the Ancient World
Enter the world of Greek and Roman engineers whose monumental works and technologies impressed audiences, both ancient and modern. Explore the technologies of art and construction that led to some of the most extensive building programs undertaken by pre-modern states. Through case studies ranging from particular structural elements and technologies (e.g. columns, domes, cranes, catapults) to overall structural systems (palatial complexes, temples, infrastructure), this class investigates the history of materials, methods, and knowledge behind ancient innovations, and the role of art, architecture, and engineering in shaping socio-cultural and political identity. Instructor: Max Peers. MWF 2-2:50pm.

ARCH 1128  The Long Fall of the Roman Empire (HIST 1205)
Interested students must register for HIST 1205.
Once thought of as the "Dark Ages," this period of western European history should instead be seen as a fascinating time in which late Roman culture fused with that of the Germanic tribes, a mixture tempered by a new religion, Christianity. Issues of particular concern include the symbolic construction of political authority, the role of religion, the nature of social loyalties, and gender roles. Instructor: Jonathan Conant. TTh 2:30-3:50.

ARCH 1242  Amazonia from the Prehuman to the Present (HIST 1360)
Interested students must register for HIST 1360.
This course merging lecture and discussions will examine the fascinating and contested history of one of the world’s most complex fluvial ecosystems: Amazonia, in equatorial South America, from its pre-human history to the present day. The course will include readings and discussions on the region’s ecological origins; the social history of its diverse Indigenous and immigrant populations, including African-descended peoples; exploration myths and European colonial projects; and more recent efforts to exploit and protect Amazonia’s extraordinary natural and human resources. The course will use tools and resources from archaeology, anthropology, biology, and social and cultural history, and will also examine popular representations of the Amazon through novels, newspapers, podcasts, and film. Instructor: Neil Safier. MWF 2-2:50pm.

ARCH 1282  Mediterranean Culture Wars: Archaic Greek History, c. 1200 to 479 BC (CLAS 1210)
Interested students must register for CLAS 1210.
From the end of the Bronze Age to the end of the Persian Wars is a period of considerable change in the Mediterranean and beyond. The Greek polis challenges the powers of the ancient Near East. Over seven centuries we meet Greek writing, Homeric epic, and the first historian (Herodotus). But the Greek world lay on the edges of the Ancient Near East and this course tries to offer a more balanced approach than the typically Hellenocentric perspective of the standard textbooks. CLAS 1210 addresses political, social and economic history. Literary, epigraphical and archaeological cultures provide the evidence. WRIT. Instructor: Graham Oliver. MWF 10-10:50am.

ARCH 1481  The Silk Roads, Past and Present (HIST 1974A)
Interested students must register for ANTH 1974A.
The Silk Road has historically been the crossroad of Eurasia; since the third-century BCE it has linked the societies of Asia—East, Central, and South—and Europe and the Middle East. The exchange of goods, ideas, and peoples that the Silk Road facilitated has significantly shaped the polities, economies, belief systems, and cultures of many modern nations: China, Russia, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and India. This course explores the long history (and the mythologies or imaginations) of the Silk Road in order to understand how the long and complex pasts of the regions it touches are important in the age of globalization. P. Instructor: Cynthia Brokaw. Th 4-6:30pm.

ARCH 1544  Heritage in the Metropolis: Remembering and Preserving the Urban Past (URBN 1871A)
Interested students must register for URBN 1871A.
Urban heritage – from archaeological sites and historic architecture to longstanding cultural practices – is increasingly threatened by the exponential growth of cities around the globe. Most critically, the complex histories and lived experiences of the diverse communities who have inhabited and shaped cities are often in danger of being erased and forgotten today. This course examines how we might remember and preserve this urban past – and the tangible sites and artifacts that attest to it – ­in light of the social and political dynamics of cities in the present. Instructor: Lauren Yapp. W 3-5:30pm. 

ARCH 1630  Queering Ancient Egypt
Queering history is a means of challenging heteronormative narratives of the past. In this course, we will critically examine the archaeological evidence for concepts such as gender, sexuality, and the body in ancient Egypt. The goal of this class is to discover what archaeology can reveal about identity formation in the past, but also to explore how modern conceptions of identity impact our writing of history. Thus, this course will address both the marginalization of gendered identities in historical research about ancient Egypt, as well as the reception of ancient identities in contemporary society. Instructor: Robyn Price. TTh 2:30-3:50pm.

ARCH 1772  The Human Skeleton (ANTH 1720)
Interested students must register for ANTH 1720.
More than simply a tissue within our bodies, the human skeleton is a gateway into narratives of the past--from the evolution of our species to the biography of individual past lives. Through lecture and hands-on laboratory, students will learn the complete anatomy of the human skeleton, with an emphasis on the human skeleton in functional and evolutionary perspective. We'll also explore forensic and bioarchaeological approaches to the skeleton. By the course conclusion, students will be able to conduct basic skeletal analysis and will be prepared for more advanced studies of the skeleton from medical, forensic, archaeological, and evolutionary perspectives. Not open to first year students. Instructor: Andrew Scherer. MWF 12-12:50pm.

ARCH 1830  Fake! History of the Inauthentic
What is a fake? Who gets to decide what is authentic? Greek statues, Chinese bronzes, Maya glyphs. Have fraudulent objects always existed? Galileo’s signature, a centaur’s skeleton, Buddhas bearing swastikas. Are all fakes the same? If not, how are they different? Why do people make forgeries? This course revolves around the history of the inauthentic through a diachronic exploration of objects. Instructor: Felipe Rojas. TTh 1-2:20pm.

ARCH 1864  Paleoethnobotany: Ancient Agriculture to Criminal Investigations (ANTH 1740)
Interested students must register for ANTH 1740.
How can we use botanical evidence to understand the past, from cold cases to VERY cold cases? Which roles did plants play in ancient communities? What happens to plant remains after they become incorporated into the archaeological record, and what are the methods used to study these "ecofacts"? How do paleoethnobotanical interpretations contribute to our understanding of history and structure our public policy? How is botanical forensic evidence used in law enforcement investigations? This course trains students in laboratory methods and interpretations of botanical evidence through hands-on practice. We explore the major classes of plant remains likely to be encountered in forensic cases and archaeological sites; identify botanical residues and organize the data to make interpretable results; and address major issues within the discipline. Instructors: Kathleen Forste and Shanti Morell-Hart. TTh 10:30-11:50am.

ARCH 1881  An Introduction to GIS and Spatial Analysis for Anthropologists and Archaeologists (ANTH 1201)
Interested students must register for ANTH 1201.
This course serves as an introduction to the concepts, techniques, and (to a lesser extent, the histories) that motivate geographic information systems and their employment in anthropological and archaeological scholarship. GIS brings together traditional cartographic principles, computer-assisted analytical cartography, relational database design, and digital image processing and analysis to enable people to develop geospatial databases, analyze those databases, and use maps and other visual representations as part of this analysis. No previous work in GIS or computer programming is necessary. Previous computer experience with MS Windows operating systems is helpful. Instructor: Parker VanValkenburgh. TTh 9-10:20am.

ARCH 1882  Introduction to Geographic Information Systems for Environmental Applications (EEPS 1320)
Interested students must register for EEPS 1320.
This class serves as an introduction to Geographic Information Science (GIS). This innovative field explores the relationships between spatial information and a vast array of spatial data types. Through lab work and foundational lectures, this course covers the guiding principles behind various facets of GIS including the nature of spatial data, map projections, spatial model building, spatial analysis, and cartographic production. You will have the opportunity to explore cutting-edge GIS techniques and apply them to real-world problems across multiple disciplines. Throughout the course, you will be challenged to think spatially and practice basic GIS concepts and theory to enable you to make useful and meaningful contributions to various disciplines through spatial analysis and techniques. By evaluating the relationship between different spatial information, you'll develop a better understanding of how the world interacts and gain tools to make a difference. Instructor: Seda Salap-Ayca. TTh 1-2:20pm.

ARCH 1884  Remote Sensing of Earth and Planetary Surfaces (EEPS 1710)
Interested students must register for EEPS 1710.
Geologic applications of remotely sensed information derived from interaction of electromagnetic radiation (X-ray, gamma-ray, visible, near-IR, mid-IR, radar) with geologic materials. Applications emphasize remote geochemical analyses for both terrestrial and extraterrestrial environments. Several spectroscopy and image processing labs. EEPS 1410 (Mineralogy), PHYS 0060, or equivalent recommended. Instructor: Ralph Milliken. TTh 9-10:20am.

ARCH 1900  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 and the John Brown House). Instructors: Leah Neiman and Candace Rice. W 3-5:30pm.

ARCH 2006  Principles of Archaeology (ANTH 2501)
Interested students must register for ANTH 2501.
Examines theoretical and methodological issues in anthropological archaeology. Attention is given to past concerns, current debates, and future directions of archaeology in the social sciences. Instructor: Shanti Morell-Hart. W 3-5:30pm.

ARCH 2245  Rural Landscapes and Peasant Communities in the Mediterranean  
The broad aim of this course is to explore rural settlement and agrarian production in the Mediterranean, both in the ancient and the recent past. The archaeological starting-point is provided by the numerous scatters of surface remains that archaeological surveys across the Mediterranean have collected and that are usually interpreted as 'farmsteads' broadly datable to Classical Antiquity. We will look well beyond these scatters to examine the social and economic significance of rural settlement through comparison with ethnographic and historical rural studies from across the Mediterranean and to explore household and community organisation as well as agrarian production in Classical Antiquity. Instructor: Peter van Dommelen. M 3-5:30pm.

 

Spring 2025

(Jump to Fall 2024)

ARCH 0030  Art in Antiquity: An Introduction
What went into the creation of the Parthenon? Who lived in the Tower of Babel? Why do we still care? This course offers an introduction to the art, architecture, and material culture of the ancient world. Things of beauty and of power will be explored, from Egyptian pyramids and Near Eastern palaces, to the 'classical' art of Greece and Rome. MWF 2-2:50pm.

ARCH 0309  Human Evolution​ (ANTH 0310)
Interested students must register for ANTH 0310.
Examination of theory and evidence on human evolution in the past, present and future. Topics include evolution and adaptation, biocultural adaptation, fossil evidence, behavioral evolution in primates, human genetic variation and contemporary human biological variation. Instructor: Andrew Scherer. TTh 9-10:20am.

ARCH 0322  Somewhere Back in Time: Archaeology, the Ancient World, and Heavy Metal Music
Iron Maiden’s “Alexander the Great”, Ex Deo’s “The Rise of Hannibal”, Septic Flesh’s “Prometheus” – few musical genres are as interested in history as heavy metal. The sounds, lyrics, images, films, and live performances of many bands from around the world center on stories and mythologies from past cultures. This class examines these phenomena from an archaeological and historical point of view, centering discussion on the music and its stories while contextualizing these modern elements within an archaeologically and historically accurate past. Instructor: Tyler Franconi. MWF 12-12:50pm.

ARCH 0679  The Ocean in Global History (HIST 0150J)
Interested students must register for HIST 0150J
This course plumbs the depths of the ocean's past to investigate how the planetary hydrosphere and its creatures have imprinted themselves upon the social, political, and cultural character of diverse human communities as sources of sustenance and power, cosmology and knowledge, conveyance and death. Topics to be considered include Austronesian seafaring traditions in the ancient Indo-Pacific; maritime empires, piracy and human trafficking in the age of sail; industrial fisheries and the establishment of oceanography as a scholarly discipline; and the political ecology of a warming ocean in the era of climate crisis. Instructor: Gabriel Rocha. TTh 1-2:20pm.

ARCH 0775  Farm to Table: Foodways and Gastro-Politics in the Ancient Near East
This course provides an introduction to the culture, economy, and politics of food in the ancient Near East. We will not only investigate the day-to-day mechanics of food production, cooking, and consumption; we will also develop an appreciation for changing food fashions, for the etiquette of eating and drinking, and for the complex world of gastro-politics. We will even explore the ancient kitchen using our own hands, mouths, and stomachs as a guide. Instructor: Kathleen Forste. MWF 11-11:50am.

ARCH 1214  The Viking Age (HIST 1210A)
Interested students must register for HIST 1210A.
For two centuries, Viking marauders struck terror into the hearts of European Christians. Feared as raiders, Norsemen were also traders and explorers who maintained a network of connections that stretched from North America to Baghdad and who developed a complex civilization that was deeply concerned with power and its abuses, the role of law in society, and the corrosive power of violence. This class examines the tensions and transformations within Norse society between AD 750 and 1100 and how people living in the Viking world sought to devise solutions to the challenges that confronted them as their world expanded and changed. Instructor: Jonathan Conant. MWF 2-2:50pm.

ARCH 1233  Ancient Maya Writing (ANTH 1650)
Interested students must register for ANTH 1650.
Nature and content of Mayan hieroglyphic writing, from 100 to 1600 CE. Methods of decipherment, introduction to textual study, and application to interpretations of Mayan language, imagery, world view, and society. Literacy and Mesoamerican background of script. Instructor: Stephen Houston. MWF 1-1:50pm.

ARCH 1234  Lost Languages (ANTH 1820)
Interested students must register for ANTH 1820.
Humans make many marks, but it is writing that records, in tangible form, the sounds and meanings of language. Creating scripts is momentous; writing facilitates complex society and is a crucial means of cultural expression. This course addresses the nature of writing in past times. Topics include: the technology of script; its precursors and parallel notations; its emergence, use, and "death"; its change over time, especially in moments of cultural contact and colonialism; writing as a physical object or thing; code-breaking and decipherment, including scripts not yet deciphered; and the nature of non-writing or pseudo- or crypto-scripts. Instructors: Felipe Rojas and Stephen Houston. MW 3-4:20pm.

ARCH 1487  Environmental History of East Asia (HIST 1820B)
Interested students must register for HIST 1820B.
This is a lecture course on the environmental history of East Asia from prehistory to the present aimed at students with no background in either Asian or environmental history. Because little has been written about Korean or Vietnamese environmental history, it will mostly concern China and Japan, for which there are good textbooks. The course will also incorporate weekly primary source readings, or analysis of artifacts. Instuctor: Brian Lander. TTh 1-2:20pm.

ARCH 1536   Archaeological Ethnographies: Heritage and Community in the Mediterranean (ANTH 1126)
Interested students must register for ANTH 1126.
Archaeologists study objects and (socio-cultural) anthropologists investigate culture is how stereotype and conventions have long had it. As material culture studies have increasingly blurred these boundaries, the distinction is entirely meaningless when it comes to archaeological heritage. Taking its cue from material culture studies, this course explores how local communities experience the material remains from the past and (re)incorporate them into their contemporary lives. Instructor: Peter van Dommelen. F 3-5:30pm.

ARCH 1771  Archaeology of Death (ANTH 1623)
Interested students must register for ANTH 1623.
Examines death, burial, and memorials using comparative archaeological evidence from prehistory and historical periods. The course asks: What insight does burial give us about the human condition? How do human remains illuminate the lives of people in the past? What can mortuary artifacts tell us about personal identities and social relations? What do gravestones and monuments reveal about beliefs and emotions? Current cultural and legal challenges to the excavation and study of the dead are also considered. Instructor: Patricia Rubertone. MWF 10-10:50am.

ARCH 1852  Material Culture Practicum (ANTH 1621)
Interested students must register for ANTH 1621.
Combines theory with hands-on study of material culture in historical archaeology. Students gain skills and experience in identifying, dating, recording, analyzing, and interpreting artifacts and conduct individual or team research projects. Instructor: Patricia Rubertone. W 3-5:30pm.

ARCH 1630  Fighting Pharaohs: Ancient Egyptian Warfare
When and why did the ancient Egyptians engage in war? Who was fighting? What were their weapons like and what were their military strategies? What were the political situations that caused them to go to war? How did warfare impact Egyptian society? In studying Egyptian history and society through the pervasive motif of war, we will gain an understanding of the forces that shaped Egyptian culture. Instructor: Laurel Bestock. TTh 2:30-3:50pm.

ARCH 1892  Non-Destructive Archaeology: Reconstructing the Past from Geophysics to Drones
Archaeology is not just digging! As archaeologists have become more cautious about excavation, technological developments have transformed our ability to detect the past. We can now analyze entire settlements through the aid of drones, spy satellites, magnetometers, and ground penetrating radar. Yet such technologies come at a social and ethical cost – particularly pertaining to indigenous rights, private property, and mass surveillance. Through hands-on training, lectures, and discussion, this course explores the methods and theory behind archaeological remote sensing and geophysics, and the legal framework and ethical issues around these approaches. Instructor: Zachary Silvia. TTh 1-2:20pm. 

ARCH 2265  Nature and Society in the Ancient World
What is ‘nature’? Is human society separate and distinct from the ‘natural’ world, or a closely-entwined part? Historical investigations often simplify this relationship to one-sided explanations of social or environmental determinism, missing the lived reality of people in their landscapes. This class explores the ecological reality of the ‘natural’ world in Antiquity, using archaeological, historical, and palaeo-environmental data to investigate these questions, focusing especially on the Roman and late-Roman periods. Instructor: Tyler Franconi. W 3-5:30pm.

ARCH 2290  Empire: Global Perspectives (HMAN 2402)
Interested students must register for HMAN 2402.
Empires — ancient, early modern, and contemporary — have profoundly shaped the distribution of wealth and power in the modern world. However, imperial formations are strikingly diverse, and many of the entities that scholars now call “empires” were not understood as such during their own times. This collaborative humanities graduate seminar explores that diversity and examines how empires rise, fall, and perdure. While taking a global, comparative perspective, we also attend to local processes, analyzing how landscapes, objects, and people were bound up with imperial trajectories in such contexts as the ancient Mediterranean, Persia, China, the Andes, the Early Modern Atlantic, and the contemporary world. We afford particular attention to local peoples' relationships with empires, environmental history, political economy, historiography, and imperial art and material culture. Instructors: Candace Rice and Parker VanValkenburgh. F 9-11:30am.

 

Additional Course Information

You may also visit Courses@Brown listings for up-to-date information on courses and room assignments. Check under: Area of Study: "Archaeology and the Ancient World