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Products for grant AKB-265638-19

Ancient Practices: An Interdisciplinary Minor
Mont Allen, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale

Grant details:

Ancient Artistic Practices (AD 350) (Course or Curricular Materials)
Title: Ancient Artistic Practices (AD 350)
Author: Mont Allen
Abstract: The grandeur of ancient objects is stunning. But there is so much more to them than just their beauty. Have you ever wondered how these astonishing things were created in the first place? Just consider, for example….. ➤ Greek clay vessels: How on earth did ancient Greeks construct pottery kilns capable of reaching 950º Celsius (1740º Fahrenheit)?! What did they burn for fuel? How were clay vessels thrown, glazed, and fired? ➤ The quarrying and transport of marble and other stones in the ancient world: How were these massive blocks weighing many tons (!) extracted from the ground, hauled over land, rafted up and down rivers, loaded onto ships, shipped hundreds of miles across the Mediterranean, and transported to workshops and construction sites? How were these logistics of transport socially and culturally embedded? What role did slavery and the military play? ➤ Tools: Ancient sculptors used pickaxes and marble saws, chisels and drills, abrasives and waxes. How did they even manage to carve marble — let alone granite (!) — without steel tools or modern power? What were the fundamental differences between Greek, Roman, and Egyptian approaches to the carving process? ➤ And what about Greek bronze statues? What about Roman mosaics, glass vessels, and wall paintings? How were these made? This course explores the materials, tools, techniques, and other physical components of Greco-Roman artistic practice, with an eye to the cultural values that Greeks and Romans attached to these physical components.
Year: 2019
Audience: Undergraduate

Ancient Technologies & the Greek Philosophers (PHIL 304B/470B) (Course or Curricular Materials)
Title: Ancient Technologies & the Greek Philosophers (PHIL 304B/470B)
Author: Robert Hahn
Abstract: How can we explain the origins of Greek philosophy? If we look at how the early philosophers thought and wrote, we find evidence of technologies and technical analogies to describe the origins of the world, the formation of the heavens, the fundamental structure out of which the cosmos is built. This evidence includes: orienting pyramids and temples to cardinal directions, measuring the height of pyramids by their shadows, measuring the distance of a ship at sea, ancient surveying and engineering techniques that led to geometry, making a map of the Earth, a seasonal sundial, a model of the cosmos, the invention of coinage, and even the production of industrial textiles. This course will uncover these ancient technologies and then apply them to the surviving evidence about the Greek philosophers to see what new insights we can discover about the how, when, where, what, and why of its beginnings. From this exploration, can students become more philosophical?
Year: 2019
Audience: Undergraduate

Archaeo-Engineering (ENGR 305) (Course or Curricular Materials)
Title: Archaeo-Engineering (ENGR 305)
Author: Frances Harackiewicz
Abstract: Archaeologists have discovered marvelous inventions from the ancient world, long before engineering was considered to have been founded as a modern profession. How did ancient people measure time and location, travel, communicate, shelter, obtain food and water, or wage war? What propelled their inventiveness? Some canonical discoveries have much to teach in terms of humanities and history as well as science and engineering. Using modern tools, feats of ancient engineering will be studied and modeled digitally or physically. Important engineering projects or inventions of the past covered such as sun dials, Stonehenge, the Antikythera mechanism, Roman roads, siege machines and aqueducts.
Year: 2019
Audience: Undergraduate

Archaeology of Ancient Egypt (ANTH 340E/430E) (Course or Curricular Materials)
Title: Archaeology of Ancient Egypt (ANTH 340E/430E)
Author: Gretchen Dabbs
Abstract: What if I told you no one knew King Tut existed before his tomb was discovered and opened in 1922? Most people are aware of ancient Egypt in a very specific way, their knowledge guided by the fantastic and highly publicized discoveries of the last century of archaeological research: Pyramids! Mummies! Previously unknown tombs! Heart disease in the mummy of a lesser princess! However, the texts written inside temples and tombs of Egypt during the time of the Pharaohs were highly restricted and written by and for specific audiences. Only the elites and royals would have been able to read them. Only royals and elites would have even had a large-scale rock cut tomb to provide texts. Only about 1% of ancient Egyptians were literate. What then of the other 99%, those that would have largely driven the Egyptian economy as the productive manufacturers and farmers? This course focuses on understanding the broader scope of ancient Egypt beyond the monumental structures left behind by royals and elites to focus on the daily lives and lived experiences of the non-elite (those like you and me!) through analysis of archaeological remains of houses, non-elite burial grounds, and other records. The Pyramids, mummies, and statuary of ancient Egypt focus on what life was like among the highest elite. This course will use the archaeological site of Tell el-Amarna as the primary lens for discussions on the lives of the non-elites that would have comprised the bulk of the population. Amarna represents what remains of a single lens (15-20 year) occupation of an ancient capital city occupied by an estimated 50,000 individuals.
Year: 2019
Audience: Undergraduate

Wining & Dining in the Ancient World (HND/FERM 300) (Course or Curricular Materials)
Title: Wining & Dining in the Ancient World (HND/FERM 300)
Author: Matthew McCarroll
Author: Lynn Gill
Abstract: Ask any college student what they like to do in their spare time and most will mention either eating, drinking, or socializing. These activities, while enjoyable, actually have historical significance. Since the beginning of time, food and drink have been basic needs for every human being. However, the meaning behind these practices varied from culture to culture. For example, the ancient Greeks began their morning with barely bread dipped in wine. While this may be frowned upon in today’s culture, this combination was thought to have healing powers. Also, the focus of a meal was to spend time socializing and please the palate, not to fill the stomach. In today’s climate, the goal of eating changed to accommodate large portion sizes and busy schedules with less emphasis on the ancient philosophy of eating for wisdom, spirit, and nourishing the soul. This course will take you back in time to explore ancient dietary customs and symbolism, including how materials for food and drink were gathered, processed and prepared, and their influence on health. We will explore fermentation as a processing and preservation method and examine evidence of the impact of fermentation on the agricultural revolution and the dawn of civilization. Specifically, this course will focus on: Foods associated with different cultures in ancient times Symbolism behind common ancient foods Health status of ancient population compared to the health status of modern times How food and drink were gathered, processed and prepared Creating recipes from ancient food products Fermentation as a processing and preservation method and examine evidence of the impact of fermentation on the development of germ theory, human health, the agricultural revolution and arguably even the dawn of civilization.
Year: 2019
Audience: Undergraduate

Ancient Practices website (Web Resources)
Title: Ancient Practices website
Author: Ken Anderson
Author: Mont Allen
Abstract: The new website for the Ancient Practices Minor ( was built from scratch in Summer of 2020. It serves as a general lure/hook for students who have not yet enrolled in the Minor, while also providing specific resources (such as lists of acceptable courses and course descriptions, semester-by-semester course offerings, possible projects, external resources, etc.) for those students who have enrolled in the Minor.
Year: 2020
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: Ancient Practices website

Media Coverage: "Grant will combine STEM, humanities in new minor at SIU" (Web Resources)
Title: Media Coverage: "Grant will combine STEM, humanities in new minor at SIU"
Author: Tim Crosby
Abstract: The Southern Illinoisan, a local newspaper, prominently featured a write-up of the project which explicitly and repeatedly highlights the NEH's support.
Year: 2019
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: The Southern Illinoisan: Grant will combine STEM, humanities in new minor at SIU