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Archaeology and the Ancient World

The concentration in Archaeology and the Ancient World provides an opportunity to explore the multi-faceted discipline of archaeology while examining the critical early civilizations of the so-called ‘Old World’– that is, the complex societies of the Mediterranean, Egypt, and Ancient Western Asia. Students will learn about the art, architecture, and material culture of the ancient world, exploring things of beauty and power, as well as the world of the everyday. Concentrators will also learn "how to do" archaeology - the techniques of locating, retrieving and analyzing ancient remains - and consider how material culture shapes our understanding of the past. Concentrators are encouraged to pursue research opportunities through summer fieldwork, museum experience, or independent study projects.

While the core focus of Archaeology and the Ancient World at Brown University is archaeology and art of the ancient Mediterranean, Egypt, and the Near East, this concentration encourages students to reach beyond this geographic area, to engage with Brown’s many strengths in history, epigraphy, art, ethics, engineering, religious studies, and the sciences – to name just a few. The concentration, with its three distinct but overlapping tracks, is intended to allow students flexibility in structuring their own path through this diverse field of study. All three tracks begin with the same foundation. Students are then expected to experiment with and define their own areas of specialty, establishing expertise in topics such as cultural heritage, archaeological theory, or materials analysis, or in particular regions or time periods.  The concentration is also designed to allow students to build progressively upon what they have learned, moving from introductory courses to upper-level seminars.  

It is expected that, in completing the requirements for this concentration, students will incorporate courses that offer new perspectives on the complex dynamics of social inequity, exclusion, and difference, and which encourage engagement with the community – both by enrolling in classes designated as Diverse Perspectives in Liberal Learning (DPLL) and through non-DPLL classes that explore similar themes.  Research opportunities, through summer fieldwork, internships, museum experience, or independent study projects, are strongly encouraged.

Within this concentration, the three tracks are:

  • Archaeology and the Ancient World: the most flexible of the concentration tracks, allowing students to explore any region or time period, and to develop their own areas of focus, such as museum studies, ethics and politics of the past, engineering and materials analysis, cultural heritage, or environmental studies.
  • Classical Archaeology: for those interested chiefly in the ‘classic’ civilizations of the Mediterranean (especially Greece and Rome), as well as for those interested in both earlier (prehistoric) and later (medieval) periods in that geographic region.
  • Egyptian and Near Eastern Archaeology: for those interested chiefly in the cultures of Egypt and the ancient ‘Near East’ – Anatolia, the Levant, Mesopotamia – from prehistoric through Islamic times.

Required Courses:

The student must take a total of 10 courses, including:

CORE REQUIREMENTS:4
All three tracks share four Core Requirements: two introductory courses providing an overview of archaeology’s two central aspects (field methodologies, and art history); and two introductory courses in the core geographical focus of the Joukowsky Institute (Classical/Mediterranean archaeology and Egyptian/Near Eastern archaeology).
One introductory course in archaeological methodology and/or scientific approaches, preferably:1
Field Archaeology in the Ancient World
or, as acceptable alternatives:
The Archaeology of College Hill
Past Forward: Discovering Anthropological Archaeology
One introductory course in ancient art history, preferably:1
Art in Antiquity: An Introduction
or, as other acceptable alternatives:
Introduction to Egyptian Archaeology and Art
Roman Archaeology and Art
One introductory ARCH course in Egyptian or Near Eastern archaeology, art, and/or architecture, for example:1
Egyptomania: Mystery of the Sphinx and Other Secrets of Ancient Egypt
East Meets West: Archaeology of Anatolia
One introductory ARCH course in Classical or Mediterranean­ archaeology, art, and/or architecture, for example:1
Troy Rocks! Archaeology of an Epic
Archaeologies of the Greek Past
TRACK REQUIREMENTS:
In addition to the Core Requirements above, each of the three tracks requires six additional courses, which allow students to define their own areas of geographic and/or topical specialty.
Archaeology and the Ancient World:6
One ARCH course, of any level, that focuses on a particular thematic or theoretical topic pertaining to archaeology, for example:1
Heritage In and Out of Context: Museum and Archaeological Heritage
Contemporary Issues in Archaeological Theory
One ARCH course, of any level, that focuses on a part of the world OTHER than Mediterranean, Egyptian, or Near Eastern, for example:1
An Archaeology of Native American Art
Buried History, Hidden Wonders: Discovering East Asian Archaeology
Two additional ARCH courses, on any aspect of archaeology and art, at the 1000 level (or above). Students are encouraged to use these upper-level courses to define a particular core specialty or track, such as a focus on archaeological theory, museum studies, archaeological ethics, materials analysis, cultural heritage, or climate change, for example:2
Who Owns the Classical Past?
The Human Skeleton
Two non-ARCH courses which EITHER relate to the study of the ancient world OR to the discipline of archaeology. Outside courses are chosen with the approval of the Concentration Advisor from appropriate 1000 level (or above) offerings in other departments such as, but not limited to: Anthropology, Classics, Egyptology and Assyriology, Environmental Studies, Geological Sciences, History, History of Art and Architecture, Religious Studies. One term of language study, in any relevant (usually ancient) language, may also be counted toward this requirement.2
Classical Archaeology:6
One course in ancient Greek or Roman history, for example:1
Mediterranean Culture Wars: Archaic Greek History, c. 1200 to 479 BC
The Fall of Empires and Rise of Kings: Greek History 478 to 323 BC
Roman History I: The Rise and Fall of an Imperial Republic
Roman History II: The Roman Empire and Its Impact
One course in either Ancient Greek or Latin, at a level beyond the first year of study, for example:1
Introduction to Greek Literature
Introduction to Latin Literature
Two courses in Mediterranean (prehistoric, Greek, Roman, medieval) archaeology and art, at the 1000 level (or above).2
One ARCH course, of any level, that focuses on a part of the world OTHER than Mediterranean, Egyptian, or Near Eastern OR focuses on a particular thematic topic pertaining to archaeology, for example:1
The Archaeology of Central Asia: Alexander in Afghanistan, and Buddhas in Bactria
Cultural Heritage: The Players and Politics of Protecting the Past
One non-ARCH course which EITHER relates to the study of the ancient world OR to the discipline of archaeology. Outside courses are chosen with the approval of the Concentration Advisor from appropriate 1000 level (or above) offerings in other departments such as, but not limited to: Anthropology, Classics, Egyptology and Assyriology, Environmental Studies, Geological Sciences, History, History of Art and Architecture, Religious Studies. 1
Egyptian and Near Eastern Archaeology:6
Two courses in Egyptian and Near Eastern archaeology and art at the 1000 level (or above).2
Two terms of course work in a pertinent ancient language (such as Akkadian, Coptic, Classical Hebrew, Middle Egyptian).2
One ARCH course, of any level, that focuses on a part of the world OTHER than Mediterranean, Egyptian, or Near Eastern OR focuses on a particular thematic topic pertaining to archaeology, for example:1
Archaeology of the Andes
Community Archaeology in Providence and Beyond
One non-ARCH course which EITHER relates to the study of the ancient world OR to the discipline of archaeology. Outside courses are chosen with the approval of the Concentration Advisor from appropriate 1000 level (or above) offerings in other departments such as, but not limited to: Anthropology, Classics, Egyptology and Assyriology, Environmental Studies, Geological Sciences, History, History of Art and Architecture, Religious Studies.1
TOTAL (including Core and Track Requirements): 10
1

All formally cross-listed courses, regardless of home department, can be considered ARCH courses and can fulfill the relevant concentration requirement(s).  There is no limit on the number of cross-listed courses that can count toward the completion of a concentration. 

2

Students who are doing a double concentration are allowed up to two courses that are also counted toward (i.e., overlap with) their second concentration to fulfill Archaeology concentration requirements.

Fieldwork, Study Abroad, and Capstone Experiences

Students are strongly encouraged to consider participating in a field project, most typically after sophomore or junior year.  The Concentration Advisor and other faculty members can provide suggestions about how to explore and fund possible field projects. For each of the tracks, a capstone experience may be substituted for one of these required courses. With the permission of the Concentration Advisor, up to three successfully completed courses, from relevant and accredited study abroad programs, may be counted towards the concentration requirements.  Field school courses that provide formal university transfer credit, and official transcripts, may also be used to fulfill concentration requirements.

Honors Concentrations

An Honors concentration in any of these tracks requires the successful completion of all the standard requirements with the addition of an Honors thesis. For the preparation of this thesis, students will ordinarily enroll in ARCH 1970 during the first semester of the senior year and ARCH 1990 during the second semester of the senior year (these courses may not be taken S/NC, nor may they be used to satisfy the standard requirements of the concentration). In order to qualify for honors, students must have received more A’s than B’s in concentration courses completed.

Honors concentrations are recommended for students considering graduate work in the discipline of archaeology. Any student interested in a course of graduate study should speak to the undergraduate concentration advisor as soon as possible, not least for advice about additional forms of preparation. Graduate work in the archaeology of the ancient world, for example, requires knowledge of appropriate ancient, as well as modern, languages. Students should start work on acquiring these skills as early as possible.

The Honors Thesis

The Honors thesis is an extended essay, usually of between 40 and 60 pages in length, researched and written under the supervision of a faculty advisor and second reader during the senior year (during which the student must be enrolled in ARCH 1970 in the Fall and ARCH 1990 in the Spring semester).

Where appropriate, the advisor or the reader, but not both of them, may be in a unit other than the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World. The specific topic and approach of the thesis are worked out between the student and the thesis advisor, with assistance from the student's second reader. This process should begin in the latter part of the student's junior year.

A preliminary title and one page outline of the proposed Honors thesis is due to the Concentration Advisor and the thesis advisor by May 15th of the junior year.

The deadlines for thesis drafts, and for final thesis submission, will be agreed between the student and the faculty advisors. The deadline for final thesis submission typically should be on or before April 15th, and must be no later than the first day of Reading Period in the final semester of senior year.  Both a bound and an electronic version of the final thesis must be submitted to the Joukowsky Institute by May 1, via email to joukowsky_institute@brown.edu.

The completed thesis will be evaluated by the advisor and second reader, who will discuss its strengths and weaknesses in a joint meeting with the student; they will then make a recommendation concerning Honors, and also agree a grade for ARCH 1990.

The Honors concentrators will be asked to make a short public presentation about their work; this event will be organized by the Concentration Advisor, and usually occurs during or shortly after Reading Period.

Evaluation

The Director of Undergraduate Studies will review the student’s overall record, in addition to the thesis evaluations. If all requirements have been successfully met, the recommendation will be made that the student graduates with Honors.