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Level 6

6AACAR01 Minoans and Mycenaeans

Credit value: 30
Module convenor/tutor 2019/20: Dr Ellen Adams
Teaching pattern: 20 x 2 hour classes (including museum trips)
Availability: Please see module list for relevant year
Assessment: 2 x 3,000 word essays (higher marked essay is weighted at 60%, while the lower is weighted at 40%)

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

Assessment Patterns pre-2019/20

Undergraduate: 3 hour exam (75%); 2,000 word essay (25%)

Graduate Diploma: 3 x 3,000-word essay (100%, essays worth 1/3 each)

The modules offered in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand, there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary between years.

In 1900, at the dawn of a new century, Sir Arthur Evans began digging at Knossos on Crete. In discovering the Minoan civilization, he opened a new chapter in Greek and European history. This culture culminated in the great palaces of the Second Millennium BC, over 1,000 years before the achievements of the classical Greeks. This remains the first known literate civilization on European soil. The discovery of the Mycenaeans on the mainland had already thrown up the possibility that Homer’s heroes had more foundation in history than previously assumed. The unexpected discovery in 1952 that the Mycenaeans spoke and wrote Greek then meant that ‘Greek’ history needed to be completely rewritten. Aside from this historical importance, both cultures have produced phenomenal monuments and works of art.

This module asks two key questions: who were these peoples, and what impact has their existence had, not only on the classical Greeks, but also on the modern West? In the first semester, we explore the art, archaeology and written sources of the Minoans and Mycenaeans. In the second semester, we first consider how the Greeks (mis)remembered their forebears, moving around the ruins of these great complexes, with further echoes haunting them in their myths. We then investigate how these cultures were discovered in the 19th and 20th centuries, changing irrevocably our understanding of Greek and European history. We will also assess how the Minoans and Mycenaeans are presented and displayed in British museums.

Suggested introductory reading

This is suggested reading and purchase of these books is not mandatory.

Cullen, T. (ed.) 2001.  Aegean Prehistory: A Review Fitton, L. 1995. The Discovery of the Bronze AgeFitton, L. 2002. The Minoans Hamilakis, Y. and N. Momigliano (eds). 2006. Archaeology and European Modernity: Producing and Consuming the ‘Minoans’Morris, S. and R. Laffineur (eds). 2007. EPOS. Reconsidering Greek Epic and Aegean Bronze Age Archaeology Preziosi, D. & L. Hitchcock. 1999. Aegean Art and Architecture Shelmerdine, C. 2008. The Cambridge Companion to the Aegean Bronze AgeAegean Prehistoric Archaeology
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