COURSE DESCRIPTION

From Small Archaeological Objects to History


Programme:

Comparative Studies of Ideas and Cultures (3rd level)

Modul:
Millenia between the adriatic and the Danube

Course code: 18 

Year of study: Without


Course principal:
Assoc. Prof. Janka Istenič, Ph.D.

ECTS: 6

Workload: lectures 60 hours, seminar 30 hours

Course type: general elective

Languages: Slovene

Learning and teaching methods: lectures, discussions classes

Objectives and competences

The notion “small archaeological finds” designates finds that were not integrated into architecture or other fixed structures at the time of their discovery. These finds are also referred to as “movable archaeological heritage.” Based on their material, these small finds can be classified as ceramic, metal, glass, amber, stone, and bone objects, as well as objects made from other materials that are very rare among archaeological finds; for example, wood, leather, textiles, and other organic materials. The best-researched groups of small finds are tableware, oil lamps, amphorae, brooches, weapons, metal vessels, coins, and inscriptions (on stone or on other material). Chronological determination of small finds was the main objective in past research on the Roman period. Although chronological questions are far from being completely answered, modern research is also directed towards studying small finds in the sense of technology, trade, and economics, as well as cultural and social history. Special research methods for small finds (except coins and inscriptions) are presented to students. The aim of this course is to acquaint students with selected problems of Roman material culture and the techniques that lead from a group of objects or from a single object to broad historical conclusions. The course is organized in an interdisciplinary manner.

 

Prerequisites

At least a passive understanding of German, English, Italian, and French is recommended.

 

Content (Syllabus outline)

Students learn about special research methods for small archaeological finds from the Roman period. Classification according to the material used is the most common: ceramics, glass, and metal. The study of Roman ceramics is presented by recognizing imported and well-defined local/regional products (primarily those in the south-eastern Alpine area). Emphasis is placed on procedures that enable the definition of local/regional ceramic products. Methods for classifying ceramic objects by production, form, and decoration are explained. Opportunities for interdisciplinary research (mineralogical and chemical analyses) addressing the origin of ceramic groups are presented and also carried out (given good circumstances). Metal objects are discussed according to their chronology, function, type of alloy, and so on. Research methods are presented that enable sensible typological arrangement of the material and interpretation of typology, function, and technology. The importance of studying material and decoration is emphasized, as well as the importance of archeometallurgical research. The characteristics of glass production in the Roman period are presented as well as modern research trends. Interdisciplinary research is encouraged, especially the connection between archeology and the natural sciences. Models of interdisciplinary research on ceramics and metal objects are presented (classification issues related to iron and non-ferrous metals).

  • Ceramics:
  • Recognition of imported and already defined local/regional products (mostly products that appear in central Europe)
  • Definition of local/regional ceramic products; methods of classifying ceramic objects according to production, form, and decoration
  • Problems relating to the origin of specific ceramic groups
  • Interdisciplinary investigations (mineralogical and chemical analyses)
  • Metal objects:
  • Typological arrangement and interpretation
  • Chronology
  • Function
  • Use of various alloys, techniques of production
  • Archaeometallurgical studies
  • Glass objects:
  • Typological arrangement and interpretation
  • Chronology
  • Function
  • Characteristics of glass production
  • Archaeometallurgical studies

 

Readings

  • Bishop M. C. in J. C. N. Coulston. 1993. Roman military equipment, London.
  • Beiträge zum römischen Oberwinterthur – Vitudurum 1-9. Monographien der Kantonsarchäologie Zürich, Zürich 1984-2002.
  • Brogiolo, G. P. in G. Olcese. 2000. Produzione ceramica in area Padana tra il II secolo a.C. e il VII secolo d.C. Nuovi dati e prospettive di ricerca. Documenti di Archeologia 21, Mantova.
  • Craddock, P. T. 1995. Early Metal Mining and Production, Edinburgh.
  • Flügel, Ch. 1999. Der Auerberg 3. Die römische Keramik. Münchner Beiträge zur Vor- und Frühgeschichte 47, München.
  • Feugère, M. 1993. Les armes des Romains. Paris.
  • Forschungen in Augst 1-34. Römermuseum Augst 1977-2003.
  • Istenič, J. 1999-2000. Poetovio, zahodna grobišča I-II. Katalogi in monografije 32-33, Ljubljana.
  • Istenič, J. 2000. A Roman late-republican gladius from the River Ljubljanica (Slovenia). Arheološki vestnik 51: 171-182.
  • Istenič, J. 2003. A uniface medallion with a portrait of Augustus from the River Ljubljanica (Slovenia). Germania (Mainz) 81/1: [263]-271, 273-276.
  • Istenič, J., Daszkiewicz, M., Schneider, G. 2003. Local production of pottery and clay lamps at Emona (Italia, regio X). Rei Cretariae Romanae Fautorum Acta 38: 83-91.
  • Istenič, J., Schneider, G. 2000. Aegean cooking ware in the Eastern Adriatic. Rei Cretariae Romanae Fautorum Acta 36: 341-348.
  • Olcese, G. 2003. Ceramiche comuni a Roma e in area romana: produzione, circolazione e tecnologia (tarda età repubblicana – prima età imperiale). Documenti di archeologia 28, Mantova.
  • Oxé, A., Comfort, H., Kenrick, Ph. 2000. Corpus Vasorum Arretinorum, 2nd ed. Antiquitas Ser. 3, 41, Bonn.
  • Strong D., Brown, D. ur. 1976, Roman Crafts, London.
  • Istenič, J. 1994. The “Emona” glass beakers. Arheološki vestnik 45: 95-98.
  • Istenič, J. 2001. An early mould-blown pyxis from Poetovio (Slovenia). Instrumentum 13: 23-24.
  • Petznek B. 1997-1999. Römerzeitliche Gebrauchskeramik aus Carnuntum. Carnuntum Jahrbuch 1997: 167-323; 1998: 261-404; 1999: 193-319.
  • Tomber R. in Dore, J. 1998. The National Roman fabric reference collection. A handbook. Museum of London Archaeology Service Monograph 2, London.

 

Assessment

Active participation in lectures and discussion classes, preparation of a term project, and an exam. Assessment: 

  • The ability to analytically understand individual problems, ability to select a bibliography, ability to exercise analytical and critical thinking, ability to form an argument, and a high level of written language will be demonstrated in the term project. 
  • The oral exam assesses what students have learned through lectures, through reading and analysing the literature, and their ability to understand and present the issues covered.

MODULE GENERAL ELECTIVE COURSES

Archaeological Analyses of Iron Age Non-Ceramic Finds ǀ

Assoc. Prof. Anton Velušček, Ph.D.,

ECTS: 6

Archaeology of Early Medieval Period ǀ

Assist. Prof. Benjamin Štular, Ph.D.,

ECTS: 6

From Small Archaeological Objects to History ǀ

Assoc. Prof. Janka Istenič, Ph.D.,

ECTS: 6

Interdisciplinary Research of Archaeological Sites ǀ

Assoc. Prof. Anton Velušček, Ph.D.,

ECTS: 6

Roman Towns between the Adriatic and the Danube River ǀ

Assoc. Prof. Jana Horvat, Ph. D.,

ECTS: 6

Romanization ǀ

Assoc. Prof. Jana Horvat, Ph. D.,

ECTS: 6

The Neolithic and Eneolithic Periods in the Northern Adriatic ǀ

Assoc. Prof. Anton Velušček, Ph.D.,

ECTS: 6

The Pile-Dwelling Period in the Southeastern Alpine Region ǀ

Assoc. Prof. Anton Velušček, Ph.D.,

ECTS: 6

Tool Hoards of the La Tène and Roman Periods ǀ

Assoc. Prof. Jana Horvat, Ph. D.,

ECTS: 6