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Archaeology generally explores what can be learned about people based on their personal or cultural objects, but this lecture series explores what can be learned about a group of people based upon their physical surroundings.
Why does a population to plan and design their city in a certain way? What do those choices tell us about the people? How does the design continue to influence and impact the population living there? How do cities from different eras compare? How do cities from the same civilization differ from each other? How do different social and economic classes differ within the same city?
The professor looks at things like geographic location, building materials, civil engineering, socio-economics of neighborhoods, zoning issues, municipal infrastructure and resource accessibility to gain knowledge about its inhabitants.
Each city lecture illustrates an aspect or universal theme of city living or lessons about the evolution of urban planning, or gives us insight about the inhabitants and what we can learn about them based on how they lived.
The professor’s lecture style is more conversational than academic and occasionally he is more enthusiastic than organized. Even so, I thought his delivery worked well with the subject matter, which might be very dull with the wrong type of narrator. I found his enthusiasm contagious and enjoyed thinking about how my modern city life compares and contrasts with those in some of the ancient cities.
Ancient Cities Featured In This Course
Çatalhöyük—First Experiment in Urban Living
Jericho and Its Walls
Uruk—City of Gilgamesh
Kahun—Company Town in the Desert
Work and Life at Deir el-Medina
Knossos—Palace, City, or Temple?
Akrotiri—Bronze Age Pompeii
Mycenae, Tiryns, and the Mask of Agamemnon
Athens—Civic Buildings and Civic Identity
Athenian Domestic Architecture
Hippodamian Planning—Miletus and Ephesus
Olynthus—A Classical Greek City Preserved
Wonder and Diversity at Alexandria
Pergamon—The New Theatricality
The Good Life in Rome
The Lives of the Poor in Rome
Ostia—Middle-Class Harbor Town
Timgad—More Roman Than Rome
Karanis—On the Fringes of the Empire
Constantinople—The Last Ancient City
18 of 18 people found this review helpful
Sounds like a great course, but I think you need to watch the video version. It's really hard to draw anything useful from the course when it isn't possible to see the ancient architecture he is discussing.
To paraphrase an old joke, talking about music is apparently like talking about architecture.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful