Loyola University Chicago

John Felice Rome Center

ClSt 334 Introduction to Classical Archaeology

Fall 2014




Instructor:   Dr. Giovanni SCICHILONE


Address:              Via Gran Bretagna, 20.  00196 ROME

Phones:               06 807 4936   (home, with answering machine; 9am - 9pm)

                            348 82 77 331 (mobile; 9am/9pm, except urgent matters )


E-mail:            giovanniscichilone@yahoo.it


With special, though not exclusive, reference to the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean, this course offers an updated appreciation of modern Archaeology with its scientific methodologies for the recovery, the interpretation and the presentation of the surviving evidence from the past. At the same time the students will have a chance to see a few key-points in the historical process that has brought our discipline to its present form. Beyond mass-myth and misconceptions, the course introduces and discusses fieldwork, finds, sites and museums as “tools” for research and knowledge, also in connection with the extremely complex problems met in the conservation and in the presentation of the evidence.





The first part of the course (lessons 1 to 5 and visit to the ISTITUTO SUPERIORE PER LA CONSERVAZIONE ED IL RESTAURO) aims to a synthetic presentation of the scientific nature of Archaeology today, far beyond the “treasure-hunt” aura still attributed to it. Special attention is given to its interdisciplinary nature, sharing the aims of all the Historical Sciences while using some of the most sophisticated methodologies and tools of modern Science.  The students will be introduced to the complex methodologies used not only to protect and interpret archaeological “data” but also to transform them into historical reconstructions and eventually in understandable educational messages accessible both in sites and museums. In this context, reference will be made some widely debated problems like the “commodification” of Cultural Heritage or the use of it for stressing (or actually fabricating) collective identities.

The second part of the course (lessons 6 to 10 and visit to the “AUDITORIUM”  of Rome) will guide the students to see how something like Archaeology has been born and how much mankind’s approach towards the past has changed, within the Mediterranean world, from ancient Greece to modern Europe. This overview of the historical processes of which modern Archaeology is the result will culminate with the discussion of two truly exceptional (though quite different)  case-studies from Athens and Rome (see Syllabus below).


The complex structure of the course will challenge the student’s ability to accept very different approaches taken, across time and space, to come to terms with our own and, for that matter, with other people’s past.   At the same time, the “transversal” views offered  will show how many sciences and disciplines and how many professions and technologies can actually contribute to “give a future to our Past”.



To present with adequate clarity the various points and to stimulate discussion, each lesson will be richly illustrated by original slides, drawings and diagrams from the instructor’s collection. Taking into account the complex scope and the composite structure of the course, as well as the demanding load of a three-hour weekly meeting, class-discussion, comments, questions and all kinds of active participation to class-work are crucial and especially valued by the instructor; the same applies to the on-site visits (see Syllabus below).  On specific topics and in connection with both of our on-site visits, specially-prepared content-items will be posted on our Sakai site.  Since no single printed source is available to cover all the topics under discussion (see Bibliography below), class-attendance is strongly recommended.  The instructor will be obviously available, whenever desired, to help in discussing individually any problems in connection with the learning process. In  general, individual meetings with the students are easily arranged and highly appreciated by the instructor.


Before the mid-term the students will choose, under the instructor’s guidance, the topic for an individual project in writing (a brief essay or a book-report for the equivalent of 4 to 6 typewritten pages) ideally reflecting a personal interest within the scope of the course. Such “home-projects” are to be given to the instructor, AT THE VERY LATEST,  by mid-November   (precise dates t.b.a.).


In this context it’s worth to remind students that will be given for granted their knowledge of our University’s policy on matters regarding Academic Integrity (see: http://www.luc.academics/undergraduate/catalog/standards.html)





(The readings referred to in the syllabus are available, as partial abstracts, in SAKAI        >  Resources  and, in hard copy, in our Library.    See Bibliography below).


Lesson 1                          Archaeology as a discipline: a tentative definition. The Archaeology of the Classical World as a specific field. Myth and reality in the perception of Archaeology. The interaction man-environment: clues for the archaeologist.

Lesson 2                          The search for (and the production of) durable documents as the core-task of archaeological research. Methods, techniques and tools for Archaeology. Typical situations in archaeological fieldwork. (Abstract 1)

Lesson 3                          The physical survival of the evidence. Archaeology and the Sciences: approaches and concepts for the interpretation of data. The manyfold meaning of “datum” in Archaeology.(Abstract 2)

Lesson 4                          Recovery, decay and presentation of the evidence on-site: methods and problems. Research, Education and leisure in the post modern world. Issues in the legal protection of the Heritage at the international level. (Abstract 3)

Lesson 5                          The role of museums in protecting and presenting archaeological evidence – looking for a garden of Eden. The economic relevance of the Past: the “Heritage Industry” as a global phenomenon. (Abstract 4 )

VISIT TO THE ISTITUTO SUPERIORE PER LA CONSERVAZIONE ED IL RESTAURO, the leading scientific institution in Italy for the conservation and restoration of artworks and archaeological remains, as well as for the formation of experts in the field from different countries. The visit will focus on the conservation of the past as a modern profession and will include laboratories and facilities never accessible to visitors. On-site class, class-time (Introduction to the visit to be posted on SAKAI  >  Resources. Since the Istituto is never open to the public  no entrance fee is due)


Lesson 6                 The birth of an Archaeology in Ancient Greece. Past, identity and “monuments” through Greek sources. Greece & Rome: conquest, plundering, interaction. Rome and its empire as an art-market. The “end” of the Classical World.

Lesson 7                    Destruction and survival through the Middle-Ages. Of books, ruins and scholars – Florence, Rome and beyond. The Italian Renaissance and the Classical Heritage.

Lesson 8                          Archaeological collections in Europe and the ancestry of modern museums. The dawn of modern Archaeology: discoveries, exploration and research in the Mediterranean Region, circa 17th-19th century. (Abstract 5)

Lesson 9 and 10             The Acropolis of Athens as THE case-study for the transformation, the recovery, the study and the presentation of a world-famous archaeological site.  The case of the Parthenon marbles in London: “ruins”, “identities” and the making of History. (Abstract 6)

VISIT TO THE “AUDITORIUM” OF ROME.    The unexpected, extraordinary find of a very

meaningful archaeological site  in the context  of  the  largest and most advanced facility for music ever built in Italy (1994-2002, Architect  Renzo Piano).  Urban Archaeology and its compromises.                   On-site class, class time (Introduction to the visit to be posted on SAKAI  >  Resources . Please note that an entrance ticket of 5,00 € will be paid  )    





              Please find below the sources used for  the abstracts referred to in the Syllabus:


Abstract 1     Michael SHANKS, Experiencing the Past (on the character of Archaeology)

Abstract 2:   Time International, Oct.26, 1992 (on the immediate international perception of a unique archaeological “case”)

Abstract 3:   Newsweek & World Press Review, 1983 to 2004 (a selection of articles on archaeological plundering in Europe, in the Americas and in Asia)

Abstract 4:   Priscilla BONIFACE & Peter J. FOWLER, Heritage and Tourism in the Global Village

Abstract 5:   Roger MILES & Lauro ZAVALA, Editors, Towards the Museum of the Future. New European perspectives.

Abstract 6:   Richard STONEMAN, Editor, A literary companion to travel in Greece



                        The  abstracts  above,  with  their  full  references, are  accessible           through  SAKAI  >  Resources  and, in hard-copy,  in our Library.  




GRADING:   The final grade for this course will be calculated in accordance with the

                     following percentages:



                                          “Home Project”.....................................................20%

                                          Active class participation.................................... 10%

                                          Final test...............................................................40%





The grading-scale adopted will be:


                                          (A)   93-100         (A-)   89-92       (B+)  86-88      (B)   81-85

                                          (B-)   78-80          (C+)  75-77        (C)  71-74,5     (C-)  68-70,5

                                          (D+)  63-67,5       (D)  60-62,5      (F)  59  and  below












Taking into due account, as soon as issued, the finalized calendar for the semester, all important dates and deadlines for the students in this course will be listed in the final version of this syllabus.









Valid for the Fall Semester of the Academic Year  2014-2015