Discovering The Past: Histories Of Archaeology

'At first I could see nothing, the hot air escaping from the chamber causing the candle flame to flicker, but as my eyes grew accustomed to the light, details of the room within emerged slowly from the mist, strange animals, statues, and gold - everywhere the glint of gold.' Howard Carter's discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun captures the excitement of archaeology. This course examines how the past has been discovered and investigated from the speculations of antiquarians, to the spectacular excavations of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and into the twenty-first century, when new discoveries are just as likely to arise from analysis in the laboratory as adventures in the field.

Who is this course for

The course is suitable for people who have already completed the Introduction to Archaeology course. You should have an open mind and be prepared to contribute to discussion.

What does this course cover

1.The Discovery of Human Antiquity
2. The Piltdown Hoax: Discovery of an Archaeological Forgery
3. Henrich Schliemann and the Excavation of Troy
4. Evolutionary Theory and the Comparative Method
5. From Hierogylphs to Linear B: Deciphering Ancient Scripts
6. Arthur Evans and the Palace of Knossos
7. The Lives of Excavators: Women in Archaeological History
8. The Tomb of Tutankhamun
9. 'Ex Oriente Lux': The Diffusion of Culture
10. The Radiocarbon Revolution
11. Museum Visit and Reflections

What will it be like

Small group tasks, lectures, group discussion, anonymous feedback, individual feedback forms

What else do you need to buy or do

The conceptual background to history of archaeology is explored in texts including Tim Murray's recent 'From Antiquarian to Archaeologist' (2014), Bruce Trigger's 'History of Archaeological Thought' (2006) and Alain Schnapp's 'The Discovery of the Past'. The Bulletin of History of Archaeology supplies up-to-date, freely accessible accounts of recent research online. Books can be consulted through the Institute of Archaeology Library (UCL) for a small fee. Additional readings will be given on the handouts supplied each week in class.

What this course could lead to

Tutor to advise

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Got a Question about this Course?

Contact The Departmental Administrator.

Why come to Mary Ward Centre?

Mary Ward Centre is the adult education centre with a difference. We provide a wide range of subjects for people at all levels and run courses during the day, evening or weekend to suit your timetable.

Get inspired and enjoy excellent teaching in an environment where each individual’s learning experience is valued. That’s what makes Mary Ward Centre ‘the friendly place to learn.’