Classical Archaeology: An Introduction. History and methods

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This introductory class is mainly devoted to undergraduate students; no prerequisites are requested.


The class provides a survey of classical archaeology, through the lens of the most eminent scholars, the theoretical approaches and its methods, analyzing the crucial turning points from a historiographic point of view. The introductory session is dedicated to the theory of art in the ancient world as attested in the literary and philosophical sources; then a survey on ancient and modern collections and the beginning of archaeological investigations at Herculaneum (1738) and Pompeii (1748), and the discovery of Ancient Greece. Another section will investigate some of the most eminent scholars and their contributions to the discipline - pottery, architecture, sculpture -, starting from J.J. Winckelmann's Geschichte der Kunst des Alterthums (Dresden 1764) up to the most important archaeologists, not only Italian, of the past century.

Educational aims

The class provides historical, cultural, spatial and chronological coordinates for a historiography of the classical archaeology and art history, discussing the main contributions and the impact on the advancement of the discipline.

Bibliographical references

S.E. Alcock - R. Osborne (eds.), Classical Archaeology, Malden (MA) 2007.

P.E. Arias, Quattro archeologi del nostro secolo: Paolo Orsi, Biagio Pace, Alessandro della Seta, Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli, Pisa 1976

M. Barbanera, L’archeologia degli italiani, Roma 1998.

P.C. Bol (Hg.), Die Geschichte der antiken Bildhauerkunst, I-IV, Mainz 2002-2010.

M. Cometa, Il romanzo dell’architettura. La Sicilia e il Grand Tour nell’età di Goethe, Roma-Bari 1999.

M.G. Picozzi (a cura di), Ripensare Emanuel Loewy, Roma 2013.