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Department of History and Archaeology


Winter Semester, Core module, 10 ECTS

Instructor: Giorgos Vavouranakis

This course is an introduction to both the archaeological remains and the main debates on the Aegean Bronze Age. Emphasis is mainly placed the palatial societies of Minoan Crete and Mycenaean Greece, but other, mostly thematic, topics are also examined, such as  the history of Prehistoric research in the Aegean, houses and households, subsistence and agropastoral economy, trade and relations between the Aegean and other areas in the Eastern Mediterranean, the iconography of dress and gender, funerary and other types of ritual activity, the modern perception of Prehistoric Greece and the place of Prehistoric monuments as heritage, today.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course students should be familiar with

  • the main sites and types of the archaeological record,
  • the main methodologies employed in its study
  • the main debates about the structure, function and evolution of Bronze Age societies in the Aegean

They should also be able to

  • work with different types of archaeological information
  • compare different methods of archaeological data analysis
  • critically compare contrasting interpretations of the same material evidence
  • understand the ways in which the archaeological record facilitates the building of arguments about the past
  • work in groups
  • make and express their own opinions about the Aegean Bronze Age both orally and in writing.


Essay (3,500-5,000 words). A list of indicative topics is provided, but students are strongly encouraged to discuss and personalize the essay topic with the course instructor. In addition students are asked to study select research papers from the existing bibliography on the Aegean Bronze Age and to discuss them in class.


Students are advised to familiarize with the following books:

Cline, E.H. (ed.) 2010. Oxford Handbook of the Aegean Bronze Age. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Cullen, T. (ed.) 2001. Aegean Prehistory: A Review (AJA Supplement 1). Boston: American Institute of Archaeology.

Mee, C.B. 2011. Greek Archaeology: A Thematic Approach. Chichester: Wiley.

Preziosi, D. and L.A. Hitchcock 1999. Aegean Art and Architecture. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Shelmerdine C.W. (ed.) 2008. The Cambridge Companion to the Aegean Bronze Age. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.