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MA Art & Archaeology Courses

This website is being updated frequently.  Please check back for the latest information


Ancient mosaics: making and meaning

Dr Will Wootton (King's)

Description: This is a dedicated MA course engaging with Greek and Roman visual and material culture through an in-depth examination of a single source of evidence, mosaics. It covers a large chronological period and geographical area, while exploring the value of mosaics for understanding aspects of the ancient world, the range of approaches employed in modern scholarship as well as the future direction of the discipline.   Though the prefered option is that students will take the 40-credit module, there are two 20-credit modules based on this module, which can be taken in semesters 1 and 2: 7AACK817 Greek and Hellenistic mosaics (Sem 1) (20 credits) 7AACK819 Roman mosaics: making and meaning (Sem 2) (20 credits)

Assessment: three essays of 4,000 words each.
Place: Classics B6, Wednesdays 11:00-1:00

Ancient Cyprus 

This dedicated MA module will explore human life on Cyprus from the first colonizations of the island. The gradual adoption of metal brought about changes to the technological and social life of the islanders, but it was not until the Late Bronze Age (c. 1600-1050 BC) that the island’s copper resources were fully exploited. Copper played a crucial role in the economic, social, political and ritual spheres during this and succeeding periods, including the Archaic (c. 750-475 BC) city-kingdoms. This module provides the opportunity for a diachronic analysis of island archaeology. Running themes include the nature and consequences of contact between cultures, trajectories of socio-political development and collapse, urbanism, and the role of rituals in socio-political dynamics.
Assessment: three essays of 4,000 words each.
Place: Classics TBC, Fridays 10:00-12:00

Greek Sculpture

Description: A review of the development of Greek Sculpture from c. 700 BC to the early Hellenistic period, focusing on issues of style, technique, patronage, genre and cultural context. The course develops students' visual skills in recognising and assessing details of technique and iconography, and fosters critical consideration between different forms of visual and textual evidence.Assessment: three essays of 4,000 words each.

Place: Classics B6, Mondays 3:00-5:00 + seminar to be  arranged after 1st lecture

Pompeii and Herculaneum: history, society and afterlife

For details see History Courses

Living in Byzantium: Material culture and built environment (c. AD300-1500)           

For details see Byzantine Courses

Religion and the Ancient Greeks

For details see History Courses


Undertaking research in Classical art and archaeology: materials and methods 

Dr Jari Pakkanen (RHUL)

Description: The seminar is compulsory for students taking the MA in Classical Art and Archaeology and supports the courses 7AACM700/CLASG099 Research Training and Dissertation in Classical Archaeology (KCL/UCL) and CL5000 Dissertation in Classical Art & Archaeology (RHUL). The aim of the seminar is to acquaint students with the wide range of research tools available for classical archaeologists and to advocate their regular use in research work. Students will be encouraged to develop a critical approach to the primary sources in their fields of study, and to be aware of the range of analytical approaches adopted at various points in the history of the discipline. Attention will be paid to the development of the writing skills necessary for advanced research work and for completion of the dissertation. The final title will be confirmed by mid-June. The dissertation must be between 10,000 and 12,000 words in length.

Course codes: KCL 7AACM700, RHUL CL5000, UCL CLASG099.

Place: 11 Bedford Sq., Room F1 (Fridays 2:00-4:00). However, the first session will take place 7th October at the Senate House, North Block, 3rd Floor, Room 349 (ICS Common Room) and the ICS library.

Archaeology of Athens and Attica

Dr Jari Pakkanen (RHUL) 

Description: The relationship between the centre and the periphery – or Athens and Attica, the city and the demes – is a theme that carries on through the course. We will consider, for example, the following questions: 1.     how are the religious and burial customs reflected in the archaeological record of the smaller communities and Athens? 2.     what types of manifestations did the administration and politics of the polis have in architecture? 3.     how did the city and the demes prepare for time of war? 4.     what were the urban and rural environments like? The first section gives a general introduction and then concentrates on the archaeology of prehistoric Attica. The second section concentrates on the demes: the topics will cover the principal deme settlements and sanctuaries are covered in the, the production sites, the harbours and the fortifications. The third section of the course has its focus on the centre: the Acropolis and its surroundings, the burials at Kerameikos, the civic centres of the Agora and the Pnyx. The final sessions are on the city walls and the long walls and relationship between city planning and private housing.

Assessment: Three essays, each of 4,000 words.

Place BA/MA lecture: Thursdays 1:00-2:00 ABLT3, MA seminar: Thursdays 3:00-4:00, both at Royal Holloway.

Understanding Pompeii & Herculaneum

Prof Amanda Claridge (RHUL)

Description: In-depth study of the material remains of Pompeii and Herculaneum (and the villas at Stabiae, Oplontis and Boscoreale) and their special value – but also their limitations – as primary sources for archaeologists and cultural historians.  We analyse both the general issues of preservation, excavation, and chronology, and a range of topics relating to the specific types of evidence for which the Vesuvian sites are renowned: the diversity in the size and composition of insula blocks, of individual houses, shops, bakeries, tombs, and bath-buildings, the locations, nature and significance of gardens, of  wallpaintings and mosaic/marble flooring, of fountain-, dining-, bathing- and cooking-installations, of lararia, the locations, forms and functions of portrait images, of animal and mythological sculptures and paintings, and of anthropomorphic furniture and fittings. We also take advantage of the opportunities to compare town, suburb, coast and country, the private and the public, the rich and poor, on their own local terms and in the wider context of Roman Italy.

The course aims to expand your knowledge of the different types of evidence from Pompeii and its sister sites, to give you a fuller understanding of the problems relating to this evidence and its interpretation, and some critical appreciation of recent scholarship on the more contentious issues. Your essays give you the chance to demonstrate such learning outcomes, to acquire the ability to summarise complex material clearly and to handle written, visual and material evidence in addressing specific themes.

Assessment: Three essays, each of 4,000 words.

Place  Wednesdays 12:00-1:00 (lecture), Windsor Building room 1.03, Royal Holloway.   Wednesdays 1:30-2:30 (seminar), Founder's West 14, Royal Holloway. *Six-day study visit to Pompeii, Herculaneum, Boscoreale, Stabiae & Naples is organised during RHUL Reading Week (1-7 November) is optional.


The UCL Institute of Archaeology offers a range of related modules in archaeology which can be studied as part of your MA degree.  These listed have been pre-approved for the Intercollegiate MA programmes:

  • Rethinking Classical Art: Sociological and Anthropological Approaches  - Jeremy Tanner: InstArch
  • The Aegean from the First Farmers to Minoan States (half module) - Cyprian Broodbank: InstArch               
  • The Late Bronze Age Aegean (half module) - Cyprian Broodbank: InstArch            
  • The Mediterranean world in the Iron Age (half module) - Corinna Riva: InstArch                                 
  • The Near East from Later Prehistory to the End of the Iron Age (half module) - Karen Wright: InstArch
  • The Archaeology of Early Egypt and Sudan (c. 10,000 – 2500 BC)  (half module) - David Wengrow: InstArch
  • Ancient Italy in the Mediterranean (half module) - Corinna Riva: InstArch

Fuller details of Institute of Archaeology modules can be found on the web at:

This website is being updated frequently.  Please check back for the latest information.