Mediterranean Interconnections

This course aims to give an understanding of the ancient Greek world through its relationship to the sea, how sailing technology developed, how ships performed, how geography, the weather and sea condition shaped the known world, to show how networks and relationships were built and maintained and the real risks and rewards facing ancient Mariners and civilisations. This was a ‘small’ Greek world, dominated by coastal city-states, political alliances, immigration, bloodlines and war. Throughout the Bronze Age populations expanded, palaces flourished, civilisations rose, culture and artefacts became globalised. Greek trade and political networks stretched across the Aegean, central Europe, to Egypt and far into Asia. The rise of these first European civilisations, the Minoans and Mycenaean’s was centred on and entirely shaped by the Aegean Sea. Not a friendly sea, but one notorious for fierce and unrelenting winds, dangerous straits and unpredictable open waters, and home to friends, enemies and the unknown. This course encompasses: study of key maritime interconnections in the Aegean throughout the Bronze AgeKey theories for Maritime Archaeology, including the liminal zone between land & sea-scapes; the development and performance of maritime technology, through the study of iconographic, epigraphic and physical (shipwreck) evidence; study of key coastal settlements and maritime networks: how they developed and were maintained; introduction to network analysis and modelling to build optimal models of maritime interconnections; investigation into cognitive connections to the sea to help understand the ‘lived’ experience. The course will be taught through a mixture of lecture and seminar, where students will work in small groups to study an important maritime site (coastal or wreck) in detail, create a ‘portfolio’ and present work back to the group.

Gary Pratt
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