Text and Material Culture

Module code: AR7052

In this module we will discuss and assess different types of source material available for the study of the classical world, formulating an ability to evaluate and analyse the range of archaeological and historical source materials encountered in studying the classical world.

You will critically assess the breadth, strength and weaknesses of different source materials, analysing, discussing and presenting in different formats the results of your research in the classical Mediterranean world. You will identify the value of the long-term chronological perspective in affirming the three pillars of sustainability – economic, social and environmental, and recognise the key cultural contexts within which they can be nurtured, examining historical and contemporary ethics in order to shape and implement a conscientious and informed approach to effecting a sustainable future. This module aims to build on your existing knowledge of the history and archaeology of the ancient world and to provide grounding in:

  • The sources available for the study of text and material culture.
  • Critically assessing the role of historiography in our understanding of the past.
  • Research skills and methodologies used to study the relevant evidence and theories.

Topics covered

  • Understanding of the relationship between texts and objects in contemporary understandings of the historical record.
  • Awareness of the various theoretical and historiographical issues surrounding approaches to the past.
  • Demonstration in both written work and group seminars a critical understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of textual and archaeological evidence for the study of the subject.
  • Critical evaluation of competing theoretical understandings of texts and objects past and the importance of them in their historical and cultural contexts.
  • Research of a well-defined topic and communicate the results effectively.
  • Critical evaluation of translated sources and documents, archaeological data, and secondary literature and their deployment effectively in combination as appropriate.


  • 11 hours of lectures
  • 20 hours of seminars
  • 6 hours of external visits
  • 263 hours of guided independent study


  • Essay, 2,000 words (40%)
  • Presentation, 1,500 words (10%)
  • Project, 3,500 words (50%)