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The University of Southampton
Lifelong Learning

Aegean Bronze Age Archaeology

The Aegean Bronze Age is a dynamic and distinctive time period which forms the background to later Classical civilization and much Greek culture (and myth). 

Aegean figurine
Aegean figurine

This course will explore Aegean prehistory from the earliest times until c. 1100 BC.  It will focus on the origins of complex societies during the 3rd millennium BC and the dynamics of the Minoan and Mycenaean palatial state-level societies that followed. 

The course will cover the development of prehistoric society on Crete and consider the emergence of that civilization by looking at the key artistic and architectural achievements of Minoan society, such as the palace of Knossos, remembered in later myth as the home of the Minotaur. We will also explore the developments on the periphery of Crete, in the ‘minoanised' Aegean islands, such as can be seen through the stunning wall paintings of Thera on Santorini.

The focus will then shift to the emergence and dynamics on the mainland of Greece, specifically of the Mycenaeans, whose societies, economies and politics are examined through their material culture. We will also look at the wider Mediterranean world, the collapse and transformation of Aegean societies at the end of the Bronze Age and the generation of Homeric epic. Throughout the course, we will consider the role of Homer's epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey, which depict the heroic life of the Bronze Age of the Aegean, to see what might have been happening during the heyday of the Mycenaean and Trojan worlds.


Date: Wednesday evenings, starting 9 October 2013
Time: 7 - 9 pm
Duration: 12 meetings


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