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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: The Archaeology of the 'Greek Miracle' (PGHC11497)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course explores diverse methodological and theoretical perspectives to examine the "Greek miracle" - the cultural efflorescence which took place between 6th to 4th centuries BCE that we associate with ancient Greece. The course will draw on a wide range of archaeological evidence: architecture, sculpture, pottery, coinage. It aims to develop skills to critically evaluate varied sources, and reflect on cultural exceptionalism.
Course description The period between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE was fundamental in the creation of ancient Greek culture as we have come to know it: democracy; "modern" economic institutions (coinage, market places); nascent scientific reflection; classical art and architecture; growing literacy and literature. Explanations for this far-reaching cultural genesis, known as the "Greek miracle", have been very varied. In contrast to discredited essentialist notions of the superiority of "the Greeks", recent scholarship has emphasized the hybrid nature of emergent Greek society, which drew on preexisting local social and cultural forms, as well as borrowing extensively from other communities of the eastern Mediterranean. Most discussion of the "Greek miracle" has been undertaken from the perspective of ancient history, drawn primarily from ancient textual sources. But what of the archaeological imprint of this "miracle"? Can we identify the claimed economic revolution? How can we observe and explain the emergence of new forms of art and new forms of political organisation using archaeological evidence? Does that archaeological evidence tell us different stories from the received textual histories?

Skills such as the analysis and interpretation of archaeological objects and contexts, and the effective use of primary and secondary literature will be developed by means of seminar presentations, group discussions and guided reading.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate in seminar participation and in their course essay a detailed and critical command of the body of knowledge related to the period of the 'Greek Miracle' (e.g. the Greek World from the 6th to the 4th c. BCE);
  2. Demonstrate in seminar participation and in their course essay an ability to analyse and critically reflect upon relevant scholarship and primary source material, and conceptual discussions of the idea of the 'Greek miracle' through material culture;
  3. Demonstrate in seminar presentation, discussions, and in their course essay an ability to understand and apply specialised research on different types of source materials (architecture, sculpture, pottery, coinage);
  4. Demonstrate the ability to develop and sustain original scholarly arguments in oral and written form in seminar discussions, presentations, and their course essay by independently formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence considered in the course;
  5. Demonstrate in seminar participation and their course essay originality and independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers; and a considerable degree of autonomy.
Reading List
Barringer, J.M. (2014). The Art and Archaeology of Ancient Greece, Cambridge

Bresson, A. (2016). The Making of the Ancient Greek Economy. Institutions, Markets, and Growth in the City-States, Princeton & Oxford

Charalambidou, X. / Morgan, C. (eds.) (2017) Interpreting the seventh century BC. Tradition and Innovation, Oxford

Hall, E. (2016). The ancient Greeks: Ten ways they shaped the modern world, London

Hurwit, J.M. (2004). The Acropolis in the Age of Pericles, Cambridge

Metcalf, W. (2012). The Oxford handbook of Greek and Roman coinage. Oxford

Ober, J. (2015), The Rise and Fall of Classical Greece, Princeton

Osborne, R. (2018). The Transformation of Athens: Painted Pottery and the Creation of Classical Greece. Princeton

Papenfuss, D. et al. (2001). Gab es das Griechische Wunder? Griechenland zwischen dem Ende des 6. und der Mitte des 5. Jahrhunderts v. Chr., Mainz

Spivey, N. (1997). Understanding Greek sculpture: Ancient meanings, modern readings. London: Thames and Hudson.

Stewart, A. (1993). Greek Sculpture: Exploration (New ed.). New Haven

Wilson Jones, M. (2014). Origins of Classical Architecture: Temples, Orders, and Gifts to the Gods in Ancient Greece, New Haven & London
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Anja Slawisch
Tel: (0131 6)50 6693
Course secretary
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