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FOR 106
Myth and Meaning

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How We Know What We Know About the Ancient World

ART, ARTEFACTS, and ARCHAEOLOGY: The scientific study of the life and culture of ancient peoples as by excavation of ancient cites, relics, artefacts (i.e., things "made by the skill of man" - not things found naturally in nature). Includes study of site plans (e.g., the layout of a temple's foundation blocks), architecture (temples, houses, palaces, citadels), trade and grave goods found on site (weapons, tools, clothing, jewelery, etc.), surviving art work (frescoes, mosaics, sculpture, vases and pots, architectural elements such as metopes), even skeletons of humans and animals...

HISTORY: recorded record of past events, generally literature-based, sometimes inscriptions in marble or metal...or even scratched into pottery fragments (e.g., Linear B tablets)

LITERATURE: written record of artistic expression through which we can make judgements (gingerly) about the culture in the proper context

inherent dangers: things do not speak for themselves...they need a context, and thus depend on us to give them meaning. A very small amount of ancient culture has survived these thousands of years...there are more blanks than facts in our collected record of the past. We must be careful about we connect the dots.


copyright 2001 Janice Siegel, All Rights Reserved
send comments to: Janice Siegel (jfsiege@ilstu.edu)

date this page was edited last: 06/29/2005
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