MODULE DESCRIPTION 2017-18

SPRING SEMESTER 15 CREDITS
AAP6081 RETHINKING THE ANICENT ECONOMY
CO-ORDINATOR: PAUL HALSTEAD
OTHER TUTORS: UMBERTO ALBARELLA, CAROLINE JACKSON, JANE REMPEL, SUE SHERRATT

MODULE OUTLINE

This module, based on lectures and seminars, explores the nature of the ‘ancient economy’ of the Greco-Roman world. It focusses on the potential of an archaeological record, that is growing rapidly in scope, volume and resolution, to quantify and clarify issues hotly debated by ancient historians on the basis of a written record that, conversely, has much more limited potential for expansion..


BROAD ACADEMIC AIMS AND PRINCIPLES OF THE UNIT

This unit aims to:

  • introduce students to the conceptual and empirical debates surrounding the nature of the ‘ancient economy’ of Greco-Roman antiquity
  • contextualise the Greco-Roman economy by exploring the apparently radical transformations from the end of the Bronze Age ‘palatial’ system to the classical Greek polis and from the Roman empire to late antiquity
  • familiarise students with the role of formation processes in shaping the archaeological record
  • explore and critically evaluate the ways in which the methods, approaches and evidence of bioarchaeology and archaeometry may shed new and perhaps quantifiable light on the demography, health, levels of production and patterns of consumption of human populations in the Greco-Roman world
  • explore the problems and potential of integrating bioarchaeological and archaeometric data with textual, iconographic and ‘conventional’ archaeological sources

MEASUREABLE LEARNING OUTCOMES

By the end of this module students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of:

  • conceptual and empirical debates surrounding the ‘ancient economy’
  • the role of formation processes in shaping the extant archaeological record
  • the potential of bioarchaeology and archaeometry to shed light on the demography, health, levels of production and patterns of consumption of past human populations
  • the problems and potential of integrating bioarchaeological and archaeometric data with textual, iconographic and ‘conventional’ archaeological sources from the Greco-Roman world

EXAMPLES OF LECTURE/SEMINAR TITLES/TUTORIALS

Our lectures/seminars are highly participative and taught by leaders in their field.

  • Theorising ancient economies
  • Reconstructing economies and measuring economic performance in archaeology
  • Reading the material ‘record’: archaeological formation processes
  • The Roman animal economy: integrating textual, iconographic & zooarchaeological evidence for use of animals in the Roman world
  • The Roman animal economy: the Romanisation of animal husbandry & consumption in NW Europe
  • The spice of classical life: archaeobotany, cuisine & standard of living
  • The Classical Greek household
  • Feeding cities: surplus, intensification & extensification
  • Selection of assignment topics
  • Trade routes made visible? Interpreting the ceramic evidence
  • Technology, knowhow, progress?
  • Diet, health and standard of living: human skeletal evidence
  • Land division and land tenure in the Greek polis
  • Classical Greek household economies
  • Feeding cities: surplus, intensification & extensification
  • Roman glass production and trade
  • Economic, political and social transformation: from Mycenaean palaces to classical polis; and from late Antiquity to the early Middle Ages

STUDENT ATTENDANCE AND INDEPENDENT STUDY

Type

Hours

Lectures 9
Seminars 7
Tutorials 2
Independent Study (including preparation for assessments) 132

ASSESSMENT

Method

% of marks

Hours/Length

Essay 100% 3000 words