CLAS/ANTH/ARTH 4129/5129: Aegean Art & Archaeology

Fall 2020
Tuesday Thursday 12:45-2:00 pm
HALE 240

Instructor information

Professor Dimitri Nakassis
Office:                  Zoom
Office hours:        Wednesday, 2-4 pm (or by appointment)
Phone:                  303-492-8184 (office)

Class description

This course is a detailed study of the cultures of prehistoric Greece, the Cycladic Islands, and Crete, their art and archaeology, and their history within the broader context of the eastern Mediterranean, from earliest human settlement to the collapse of the Bronze Age at about 1100 B.C.E.

Required reading

  • P.P. Betancourt, Introduction to Aegean Art (Philadelphia 2007)
  • D. Preziosi and L.A. Hitchcock, Aegean Art and Architecture (Oxford 1999)
  • Readings distributed on Perusall via Canvas


General attendance and participation: 25%

I expect you to attend class regularly and to participate in class discussion. Attendance is broadly defined, and includes in person and/or remote attendance via Zoom; you will determine how you would like to attend class, based on your own preference. Of course if you cannot attend class for health reasons, please let me know and we will come to a mutually agreeable solution. Participation is broadly defined, and includes verbal participation (in person and/or remotely) as well as written participation on Perusall and Canvas.

Given the difficulties of remote and socially distant instruction, I’d like to arrange for one-on-one Zoom meetings with everyone, but I won’t require it. I’ll set up a time for those meetings and create a sign-up sheet on Canvas.

Slide ID assignments: 10%

I will create three slide ID assignments as multiple choice quizzes in Canvas, with questions drawn randomly from an image bank. In each case, you will be presented with an image of an artifact or feature that has appeared in your reading and you will be asked to identify some aspect of it, such as where (it was found), when (it was made), what (it is; this could be material, or function, depending on the artifact). You’ll answer 20 questions per assignment, relatively quickly, in 10 minutes (so 30 seconds per slide, on average). You’ll be able to take these quizzes as many times as you want within a 24-hour period. The point of this exercise is to achieve basic visual proficiency with the art of the Bronze Age Aegean.

Take-home exams (September 24, October 22): 30%

Midterms will be take-home, open-book, essay-based tests (with different questions for students registered in the 5129 section). Both tests are on a Thursday; I will circulate the questions before Tuesday’s class so that we have the opportunity to discuss them beforehand. I will provide four (or more) questions, of which you will answer two. You should be able to write both essays within 75 minutes. You’ll submit your answers on Canvas by the end of the day.

Final exam (take-home, due December 12, 7 pm): 15%

The final exam is scheduled for Tuesday December 12, 4:30-7 pm. I’ll distribute the final exam questions in class and on Canvas on the last day of class (Thursday, December 3). The questions will consist of four (or more) essay questions based on the class readings (and discussion), of which you’ll answer two. You’ll submit your answers on Canvas by 7 pm on December 12.

Papers: 20%

Students in the 5129 section: you must write a research paper (option a).

Students in the 4129 section: you have some choices here, and you can mix and match from all the options below, up to 20%. Note that you can mix and match however you want, up to 20%; you could turn in four (b) assignments, or two (b) and two (c). You can also re-write assignments or write new assignments if you’re unhappy with your grade (for assignments returned before the end of the semester).

Unless you choose to write a research paper, you must turn in one assignment by September 17, a second by October 15, and a third by November 19. The final assignment is due on December 12. (You can turn in the papers earlier than the due dates, of course).

  1. Research paper (required for student in 5129 section): worth 20%. 12-15 pages (15-20 pages, for the 5129 students) double-spaced on a topic related to the subject matter covered by the class. It’s due on the last day of classes. You must arrange to meet with me via Zoom to discuss your paper before November 3rd. This meeting doesn’t commit you to anything, but the idea is to help you to start thinking about the paper. The paper itself is due on December 12 (the date of the final exam). I realize that there may be some issues here doing research papers given that access to the library may be irregular and difficult, so we will need to try to design projects that make use of materials that are available to you remotely. (I have a large PDF library and will work to help you get access to the materials that you need). Please submit the paper in 12 point Times New Roman (or similar font), double spaced, with 1” margins. Use the following system for references:
  1. Analysis of 5129 readings: worth 5% per submission, approximately 750 words. Pick any of the readings required for students in the 5129 section and provide a critical analysis (not a summary!) of the reading. You may want to consider the following: (i) what is the argument of the paper? (ii) how does it contribute to the scholarly discussion of the Aegean? (iii) what are the strong points of the argument? (iv) what are its weak points?
  1. Analysis of a popular article about Aegean art or archaeology: worth 5% per submission, approximately 750 words. Pick any popular article written about the Bronze Age Aegean (I am thinking of something like this piece in the New York Times), and provide a critical analysis (not a summary!) of it. You may want to consider the following: (i) how accurate is the article? (ii) how well does it reflect the views of scholars currently working in the field? (iii) how would you have written a different article?
  1. Analysis of a museum presentation of an Aegean Bronze Age artifact: worth 5% per submission, approximately 750 words. Pick any online discussion of an artifact from the Aegean Bronze Age from a major museum (like the Met or the MFA; if you’re not sure, ask me) and evaluate it. You may want to consider issues such as: (i) how accurate is the description? (ii) how well does it reflect the views of scholars currently working in the field? (iii) how would your description have differed from the museum’s?
  1. Some other writing assignment or creative work: if you have another project that you would like to do, worth between 5-20%, I will be happy to discuss it with you in person (i.e., over Zoom).

Campus support

College can be hard in the best of times, and these are not the best of times. If you need help, here are some resources:

Academic Policies

Some general principles

None of us signed up for learning and teaching this way, not to mention all of the other effects of COVID-19. I will do the best that I can to teach you in these new circumstances, to be as humane as possible, to stay flexible when things change, and to foster an environment of mutual support.

Classroom Behavior

Both students and faculty are responsible for maintaining an appropriate learning environment in all instructional settings, whether in person, remote or online. Those who fail to adhere to such behavioral standards may be subject to discipline. Professional courtesy and sensitivity are especially important with respect to individuals and topics dealing with race, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, veteran status, political affiliation or political philosophy.  For more information, see the policies on classroom behavior and the Student Code of Conduct.

Requirements for COVID-19

As a matter of public health and safety due to the pandemic, all members of the CU Boulder community and all visitors to campus must follow university, department and building requirements, and public health orders in place, to reduce the risk of spreading infectious disease. Required safety measures at CU Boulder relevant to the classroom setting include:

  • maintain 6-foot distancing when possible,
  • wear a face covering in public indoor spaces and outdoors while on campus consistent with state and county health orders,
  • clean local work area,
  • practice hand hygiene,
  • follow public health orders, and
  • if sick and you live off campus, do not come onto campus (unless instructed by a CU Healthcare professional), or if you live on-campus, please alert CU Boulder Medical Services.

Students who fail to adhere to these requirements will be asked to leave class, and students who do not leave class when asked or who refuse to comply with these requirements will be referred to Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution. For more information, see the policies on COVID-19 Health and Safety and classroom behavior and the Student Code of Conduct. If you require accommodation because a disability prevents you from fulfilling these safety measures, please see the “Accommodation for Disabilities” statement on this syllabus.

Before returning to campus, all students must complete the COVID-19 Student Health and Expectations Course. Before coming on to campus each day, all students are required to complete a Daily Health Form.

Students who have tested positive for COVID-19, have symptoms of COVID-19, or have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for or had symptoms of COVID-19 must stay home and complete the Health Questionnaire and Illness Reporting Form remotely. In this class, if you are sick or quarantined, please let me know via e-mail as soon as you can. You do not have to disclose any information to me – that’s personal – but do let me know that you’re not well so that we can come to a mutually agreeable arrangement for work in the class.

Accommodation for Disabilities

If you qualify for accommodations because of a disability, please submit your accommodation letter from Disability Services to your faculty member in a timely manner so that your needs can be addressed.  Disability Services determines accommodations based on documented disabilities in the academic environment.  Information on requesting accommodations is located on the Disability Services website. Contact Disability Services at 303-492-8671 or for further assistance.  If you have a temporary medical condition, see Temporary Medical Conditions on the Disability Services website.

Preferred Student Names and Pronouns

CU Boulder recognizes that students' legal information doesn't always align with how they identify. Students may update their preferred names and pronouns via the student portal; those preferred names and pronouns are listed on instructors' class rosters. In the absence of such updates, the name that appears on the class roster is the student's legal name.

Honor Code

All students enrolled in a University of Colorado Boulder course are responsible for knowing and adhering to the Honor Code. Violations of the policy may include: plagiarism, cheating, fabrication, lying, bribery, threat, unauthorized access to academic materials, clicker fraud, submitting the same or similar work in more than one course without permission from all course instructors involved, and aiding academic dishonesty. All incidents of academic misconduct will be reported to the Honor Code (; 303-492-5550). Students found responsible for violating the academic integrity policy will be subject to nonacademic sanctions from the Honor Code as well as academic sanctions from the faculty member. Additional information regarding the Honor Code academic integrity policy can be found at the Honor Code Office website.

I take Honor Code violations very seriously. If you need more time to complete an assignment, ask me for an extension prior to the due date, and I will grant it to you if it is a reasonable request. I am not so understanding when it comes to plagiarism, however, and if I find that you have plagiarized an assignment I will assign you a grade of zero for that assignment and file a report. You should feel free to work together in groups outside of class, share resources, and so on, but the work that you turn in must be your own.

Sexual Misconduct, Discrimination, Harassment and/or Related Retaliation

The University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder) is committed to fostering an inclusive and welcoming learning, working, and living environment. CU Boulder will not tolerate acts of sexual misconduct (harassment, exploitation, and assault), intimate partner violence (dating or domestic violence), stalking, or protected-class discrimination or harassment by members of our community. Individuals who believe they have been subject to misconduct or retaliatory actions for reporting a concern should contact the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC) at 303-492-2127 or Information about the OIEC, university policies, anonymous reporting, and the campus resources can be found on the OIEC website.

Please know that faculty and instructors have a responsibility to inform OIEC when made aware of incidents of sexual misconduct, dating and domestic violence, stalking, discrimination, harassment and/or related retaliation, to ensure that individuals impacted receive information about options for reporting and support resources.

Religious Holidays

Campus policy regarding religious observances requires that faculty make every effort to deal reasonably and fairly with all students who, because of religious obligations, have conflicts with scheduled exams, assignments or required attendance.  In this class, please notify me two weeks in advance via e-mail. See the campus policy regarding religious observances for full details.


I will make announcements verbally in class and electronically via Canvas and e-mail. It is your responsibility to check Canvas and your University e-mail address on a regular basis.

Resources and Information for DACA/ASSET Students



Course schedule

Subject to modification.  Readings should be completed before the class for which they are assigned.

Week 1

Tuesday, August 25
Topic: Class introduction (via Zoom)
Reading: none

Thursday, August 27
Topic: History
Reading (all): Preziosi 1-31, Betancourt 1-7

Week 2

Tuesday, September 1
Topic: Nuts and bolts
Reading (all): Shelmerdine 2008a, Manning 2010a, “Dating the Ancient Minoan Eruption of Thera Using Tree Rings” (

Thursday, September 3
Topic: EBA Cyclades
Reading (all): Preziosi 44-61, Betancourt 9-26
Reading (5129): Broodbank 2008

Week 3

Tuesday, September 8
Topic: Folded arm figurines
Reading (all): Hoffman 2002, Hendrix 2003
Reading (5129): Gill and Chippendale 1993

Thursday, September 10
Topic: Keros
Reading (all): watch “The Enigma of Keros” (1:27) at
Reading (5129): Renfrew 2018

Week 4

Tuesday, September 15
Topic: EBA Crete
Reading (all): Betancourt 29-53, McEnroe 2010, 19-43
Reading (5129): Whitelaw 1983, Wilson 2008, Tomkins and Schoep 2010

Thursday, September 17 [first writing assignment due]
Topic: EBA Mainland
Reading (all): Betancourt 55-66, Pullen 2008
Reading (5129): Pullen 1992, Pullen 1994

Week 5

Tuesday, September 22
Topic: Invasion, climate change, and Greeks?
Reading (all): Demoule 2017, Weiberg and Finné 2013, Middleton 2018
Reading (5129): Knapp 2014, Rahmstorf 2015

Thursday, September 24: Midterm 1 due [no class] 

Week 6

Tuesday, September 29

Topic: Protopalatial Crete

Reading (all): Preziosi 63-87, Schoep 2010a, McEnroe 2010, 44-67

Reading (5129): Manning 2008, Schoep 2010b, Schoep 2012, Knappett 2008


Thursday, October 1

Topic: Neopalatial Crete

Reading (all): Preziosi 89-122, McEnroe 2010, 68-92

Reading (5129): Younger and Rehak 2008a, McEnroe 2010, 93-116


Week 7

Tuesday, October 6

Topic: Minoan art

Reading (all): Betancourt 67-108

Reading (5129): Koehl 1986, Blakolmer 2012 (


Thursday, October 8 [first slide ID assignment]

Topic: Minoan society & religion

Reading (all): Preziosi 140-148, Davis 1995, Lupack 2010a

Reading (5129): Driessen 2010, Younger and Rehak 2008b, Tomas 2010


Week 8

Tuesday, October 13

Topic: The Cyclades

Reading (all): Preziosi 140-148, Betancourt 109-131, Morgan 2018

Reading (5129): Barber 2010a, 2010b, Davis 2008


Thursday, October 15 [second writing assignment due]

Topic: Akrotiri

Readings (all): Doumas 2010, Manning 2010b, Vlachopoulos 2008, Nikolakopoulou 2018

Readings (5129): Knappett and Nikolakopoulou 2008


Week 9

Tuesday, October 20

Topic: Thalassocracy

Reading (all): Wiener 2013, Davis and Gorogianni 2008

Reading (5129): Broodbank 2004, Betancourt 2008, Knappett 2016


Thursday, October 22: Midterm 2


Week 10

Tuesday, October 27

Topic: MBA mainland

Reading (all): Preziosi 148-152, Betancourt 133-153, Wright 2008, French 2004

Reading (5129): Voutsaki 2010


Thursday, October 29 [second slide ID assignment]

Topic: Early Mycenaean art

Reading (all): Hurwit 1979, Stocker and Davis 2017, Blakolmer 2010

Reading (5129): Blakolmer 2016


Week 11

               Tuesday, November 3: no class [election day]


Thursday, November 5

Topic: Mycenaean palaces

Reading (all): Preziosi 155-190, Betancourt 155-184

Reading (5129): Wright 2006, Maran 2006a, Nelson 2007


Week 12

Tuesday, November 10

Topic: Linear B

Reading (all): Palaima 2010, Chadwick 1987, Nakassis forthcoming

Reading (5129): Palmer 2008


Thursday, November 12

Topic: Mycenaean society & economy

Reading (all): Shelmerdine and Bennet 2008, Killen 2008, Nakassis et al. 2011

Reading (5129): Shelmerdine 2008b, Halstead 1992a, 1992b, Parkinson et al. 2013


Week 13

Tuesday, November 17

Topic: Mycenaean art

Reading (all): Shaw 1986, Morgan 2005

Reading (5129): Bennet 2015, Davis and Bennet 1999, Blakolmer 2016


Thursday, November 19 [second writing assignment due]

Topic: Mycenaean religion

Reading (all): Lupack 2010b, Stocker and Davis 2004

Reading (5129): Palaima 2004, Palaima 2008, Wright 2004


Week 14

Tuesday, November 24

Topic: Mycenaean Crete

Reading (all): Betancourt 185-200, Preston 2008

Reading (5129): Driessen and Langohr 2007, Wiener 2015


Thursday, November 26: Thanksgiving (no class)


Week 15

Thursday, December 1

Topic: Collapse and aftermath

Reading (all): Preziosi 193-219, Dickinson 2006, 24-57

Reading (5129): Deger-Jalkotzy 2008


Tuesday, December 3 [third slide ID assignment]

Topic:  LH IIIC

Reading (all): Dickinson 2006, 58-78, Maran 2006b

Reading (5129): Papadopoulos 2014


Final exam

               Saturday, December 12, 4:30-7 pm