Introductory Seminars for First-Year Students

The Archaeological Imagination

ARCHLGY 43N
CLASSICS 43N

More than excavating ancient sites and managing collections of old things, archaeology is a way of experiencing the world: imagining past lives through ruins and remains; telling the story of a prehistoric village through the remains of the site and its artifacts; dealing with the return of childhood memories; designing a museum for a community. The archaeological imagination is a creative capacity mobilized when we experience traces and vestiges of the past; when we gather, classify, conserve and restore; when we work with such remains to deliver stories, reconstructions, accounts, explanations, or whatever. This class will explore such a wide archaeological perspective in novels, poetry, fantasy literature, the arts, movies, online gaming, and through some key debates in contemporary archaeology about human origins, the spread of urban life, and the rise and fall of ancient empires.

Meet the Instructor(s)

Michael Shanks

Michael Shanks is the Omar and Althea Hoskins Professor of Classical Archaeology. His teaching and research focuses on Mediterranean archaeology, the theory and philosophy of design, and heritage and the place of the past in the present. His books include Classical Archaeology: Experiences of the DisciplineArt and the Early Greek City StateTheatre/Archaeology (with Mike Pearson); Experiencing the Past: On the Character of ArchaeologyRe-Constructing Archaeology; and Social Theory and Archaeology (the last two coauthored with Chris Tilley).