Archaeology is the study of human activities as preserved in the material record, such as domestic and public buildings, rituals, mortuary practices, and the use of symbols. History of art explores painting, pottery, sculpture and mosaics, and the craftsmanship that produced these works. Traditionally, classical archaeology focused on the art history of Classical Greece and Italy, but has more recently branched out geographically and chronologically. Archaeology has also become more theoretical in recent decades, exploring the relationship between humans and their material environment. Furthermore, engagement in field projects is essential for the continuing health of the discipline. All trends are well represented here at King's.
Classical Art & Archaeology at King's
Classical art and archaeology are represented by a number of specialists at King's, who are mainly based in the Department of Classics. The range of areas they cover is extraordinary, from the Bronze Age Aegean to Byzantine Cyprus, Roman Britain to Persian monuments, and Greek pottery to Roman mosaics, while many other staff members employ art historical and archaeological methods in their work.
London has been a centre for the collection and display of ancient art and artefacts for many centuries, a cultural engagement that has in turn had a great influence on British heritage. There is a strong commitment at King's to exploring the role that ancient art and archaeology has had and continues to have in this local context of a global capital.
MA Classical Art & Archaeology
The MA programme consists of a wide range of optional modules and a research dissertation. The compulsory colloquium, Undertaking Research in Classical Archaeology, taken as preparation for writing the dissertation, provides particularly concentrated training in research techniques and methodology. Modules are taught both with texts in the original languages and with translated texts. If you intend to pursue further research in classical archaeology or art history, you may find particular value in the unique opportunities to acquire technical skills in the handling of documentary evidence provided by modules in Greek Papyrology, Greek & Roman Epigraphy, and Greek & Latin Palaeography.
As well as archaeological and art-historical topics, students can also choose modules from other MA programmes at King's, including Ancient History, Classics, and Late Antique & Byzantine Studies. Students also have the opportunity to study Latin and Ancient Greek.
The MA programme in Classical Art & Archaeology is organised on an intercollegiate basis, so that the programme offerings combine the expertise of staff in all three of the participating colleges - King's, UCL and Royal Holloway. It centres on the University's Institute of Classical Studies, which not only contains a world-class research library, but also hosts the richest programme of seminars, conferences, and occasional lectures for this subject area in the UK.
In the Department of Classics we run a research seminar series (which MA students are encouraged to attend), where you will learn about the current research of our academic staff and PhD students. There are also University of London research seminars organized through the Institute of Classical Studies, for example in Literature, Classical Archaeology and Ancient History, where you will be able to listen to and meet leading scholars from around the world. There is also the Late Antique & Byzantine Studies seminar, which is organized by the Centre for Hellenic Studies.
You will be assigned a personal tutor in the Department of Classics, who will advise you and help you decide which modules to take, and can answer any questions or concerns you may have whilst at King's.
During your first term at King's you will need to decide on your MA dissertation subject, if you have not done so before you arrive. The dissertation can be related to work you are doing for a taught module, or it can be in a completely different area. On the basis of your chosen subject area you will be assigned a supervisor within the Department of Classics who will discuss the topic with you, and oversee your work on it.