UNDERGRADUATE SEMINAR 2001
MIT UNDERGRADUATE COURSE – Fall 2001
Dr. Aaron Brody
Thursdays, 3-5pm, E51-361, MIT
Ancient Mediterranean cultures, such as the Egyptians, Canaanites, Minoans, Mycenaeans, Greeks, Phoenicians, Etruscans, and Romans are famous because their monuments, heroic tales, and rich tombs capture our imagination and are distant roots of Western traditions. In this seminar we will focus discussions on maritime aspects of each of these societies learning about the technology of ancient seafaring from the investigation of shipwrecks from both shallow and deep waters, and trade and economy from examination of their cargo. Ancient port cities will be considered as the prime areas of commerce and cultural exchange in the Mediterranean, as well as innovations in harbor construction. Great sea tales, such as The Odyssey, will be examined from a maritime perspective to help us flesh out the lives and shipboard culture of these ancient sailors. Field trips will include museum visits in the Boston area to learn about the material culture of these ancient seafarers through the artifacts themselves, and a trip to Robert Ballard’s Institute of Exploration. We will study the robotic technologies developed at MIT and Woods Hole and used in the investigation of ancient shipwrecks in deep waters of the Mediterranean.
Students are expected to participate actively in seminar discussions, based on weekly readings. Each student will also make a presentation to the group on an ancient shipwreck or nautical tale.
Aaron Brody is a lecturer in Archaeology and Technology in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society. His PhD (1996) is in Near Eastern Archaeology and Biblical Studies from Harvard University. His field work has been conducted primarily at Bronze and Iron Age harbor sites on the Mediterranean coast of Israel, and primary research interests include the religious beliefs and practices of ancient seafarers, deep water archaeology, and ancient maritime trade.