CLAN4106 Material Culture

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Honours option in Classics and Ancient History [Bachelor of Arts (Honours)]
This unit investigates the theoretical nature and methodological basis of classical archaeology and explores through a specific case study the means by which it can be exploited in the writing of history. It explores the origins, evolution and recent development of classical archaeology, defining its nature and particular strengths and limitations, and its current relationship with both archaeology and ancient history. The unit identifies the role archaeological evidence plays in reconstructing and explaining the Graeco-Roman past both where there are written records and for those aspects with few or none. The focus is on the primacy of the physical remains themselves and what they can contribute in their own right rather than as 'handmaidens of history'. The case study applies the lessons learned to a major archaeological site. The unit encourages students to identify the ways in which 'history' may be written through analysis and interpretation of seemingly mute artefacts and structures. Final emphasis is placed on how such research should be pursued in future through defining problems that material culture may help solve.
Students are able to (1) articulate their critique of set reading and develop their confidence and presentational skills; (2) interrogate objects, structures and even landscapes to reveal how the designers, makers and users may have thought; and (3) take a single specific feature of a single site, and go beyond simple description to ask such fundamental questions as: What was it for? Why is it there? What does it tell us about how people thought? What were its inspirations?.
Typically this unit is assessed in the following ways: (1) tutorial performance; (2) essays; and (3) a presentation. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Lara O'Sullivan
Unit Outline
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available at the University Co-operative Bookshop (from early January) and appropriate administrative offices for students to consult. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.