CL3TE-Technology in the Ancient World

Module Provider: Classics
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2014/5

Module Convenor: Prof Annalisa Marzano


Summary module description:

This module aims to introduce students to the various issues concerning technology in the Greek and Roman world. The module will not only address the type of discoveries, technological developments, and the extent of their practical applications found in the Classical world, but also engage with the question of what place people with specific technical knowledge, such as architects and engineers, occupied in society. The topic will be addressed from a variety of perspectives: discussion of the available sources, of the major theoretical topics, analysis of archaeological data and, where relevant, of comparative ethnographic material.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that the student will be able to:
- Identify the range of available evidence and historical issues related to the topic.
- Appraise how these changed over time, and under the influence of what factors.
- Analyse primary sources and modern scholarly approaches.
- Recognize a variety of evidential types, their potentials and limitations.
- Identify how the topics addressed in the module relate to broader ancient historical questions.
- Locate and assemble material on the subjects of study.
- Organize their materials and articulate arguments effectively in writing.

Additional outcomes:
The module also aims to encourage the development of oral communication skills and the student's effectiveness in group situations. Students will also develop their IT skills by use of relevant web resources.

Outline content:
This module will examine the nature of ancient technological knowledge and the practical applications which affected everyday life. Examples span from technology applied to food production to ensuring an effective water delivery system for Roman baths. The module will be organized thematically; discussion of the Hellenistic period and the studies carried out at the Museum of Alexandria will be important, although not all the discoveries (such as steam power) found practical applications in antiquity. One of the challenges of this topic is that it requires the combination of literary sources (which are not really systematic on this topic) with the study of archaeological finds and the results of the analysis of the archaeological sciences. Topics of study will include mining technology, pottery production, engineering, and modes of transmission of technical knowledge.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
This module will be taught by lectures and seminars, with two contact hours a week.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 16
Seminars 4
Guided independent study 180
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Other information on summative assessment:
Other information on summative assessment:
(1) One essay of about 1,500 words, due in by 12 noon on Thursday of week 6 (35%)
(2) A written essay proposal, due by 12 noon on Friday of week 8 (10%)
(3) One essay of about 3,000 words on a topic devised by the student and approved by the convenor, due in by 12 noon on the first Tuesday of Spring Term (55%)

Relative percentage of coursework: 100%

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:
    40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-examination in September. Coursework will be carried forward if it bears a confirmed grade of 40% or more. Otherwise it must be resubmitted by 1 September.

    Last updated: 8 October 2014

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