13803 Colloquium

SoSe 13: The Ancient Near East in Berlin

Brian Brown


This course explores the material culture of the ancient Near East through the collections of the Pergamon/Vorderasiatisches Museum in Berlin. The VA includes some of the most well-known and important art and artifacts from ancient southwest Asia, and is thus an outstanding source for viewing and working directly with primary ancient objects. Yet, as a collection of Near Eastern materials located in Berlin, these artifacts are not in their original contexts; our reception of them is thus influenced by their placement in the museum, necessitating a closer consideration both of the history of the objects and the museum itself. In "The Ancient Near East in Berlin," students will build on previous coursework to analyze artifacts formally, to place them in the larger context of the ancient Near Eastern culture and society, and understand how they participate in their current settings of the VA. Coursework includes lectures, looking exercises, discussion of readings, presentations at the museum on selected artifacts/artifact groups, and other short assignments. Specific assignments may include: - formal analysis of a group of artifacts or one large monument from the VA, including written description of the object(s) itself and a drawing - description of the archaeological context of the find - analysis of how this group or monument fits into the larger ancient Near Eastern world, in terms of material and the larger social world - an oral presentation to the class in the museum about the selected object(s), including an analysis of its placement in the museum. close

Suggested reading

Bernbeck, R. (2000), The exhibition of architecture and the architecture of an exhibition: the changing face of the Pergamon Museum, Archaeological Dialogues 22; Barnet, S. A. (2001) Short Guide to Writing About Art; Salje, B. (2001), Vorderasiatische Museen: gestern, heute, morgen. Berlin, Paris, London, New York: eine Standortbestimmung. close

Subjects A - Z