Minoans and Mycenaeans (Online)
The Minoans and Mycenaeans left us with the intriguing Greek Bronze Age sites of Knossos, Mycenae ‘Rich in Gold’, Pylos and Akrotiri.
Excavation of these sites turned archaeologists like Schliemann, Evans and Marinatos into superstars, as stunning architecture, sculpture, frescoes, weaponry, ceramics and jewellery were revealed. The finds were perhaps only rivalled by those of the later discovery of Tutenkhamun’s tomb.
The mythical enigmas of Agamemnon, Odysseus, the Minotaur, the Trojan War and Atlantis were called into question in the process.
“Today I gazed upon the face of Agamemnon”. Heinrich Schleimann
Visually rich, archaeologically fascinating and replete with material for discussion, this course will examine recent exploration into the social, political and religious contexts of the Minoan and Mycenaean world. But who were these people? Why did they succeed? Why (or) did they fail? Students will be invited to analyse and reflect on the current controversies and dilemmas posed by the material evidence, and assess the influence of a culture that has been described as ‘the first European civilisation’.
For information on how the courses work, and a link to our course demonstration site, please click here.
This course will cover the diet and disease, eating and drinking habits, social and economic structures, trade and overseas contacts, domestic arrangements, funerary customs, worship, and bureaucracy of these cultures within the following ten units:
1. Welcome to the Greek Bronze Age
This unit looks at the evidence we have for these cultures, their geography, chronology and the Cycladic culture
2. Cretan myth and the ‘Palace of Minos’ at Knossos
This unit takes an in-depth at look at Arthur Evans’ excavations at Knossos
3. The Minoans beyond Knossos
In this unit we explore other sites on Crete, comparing and contrasting with the restorations at Knossos
4. Minoan culture: lifestyle, religion, art and writing
In this unit we examine the daily lives of the Minoan people and are introduced to the Linear A writing system
5. Akrotiri: The Pompeii of the Aegean
This unit examines the Minoan settlement at Akrotiri on Thera and discusses the Late Bronze Age volcanic eruption which destroyed the site and analyses the arguments that it was responsible for the demise of the entire Minoan civilisation and was perhaps the site of Plato’s Atlantis.
6. The Mycenaeans: Myths, origins and discovery; the Citadel at Mycenae
In this unit the focus switches to the Greek mainland and examines the people and the Citadel of Mycenae. We take our first look at the Linear B writing system
7. Mycenae ‘Rich in Gold’: Grave circles B & A; Tholos tombs
This unit continues with the exploration of the site at Mycenae, focusing in particular on burial practices and the discoveries made in the graves
8. Mycenaeans: Lifestyle, economy, religion, art and bureaucracy
In this unit we examine the daily lives of the Mycenaean people and learn more about the Linear B writing system
9. Mycenaean architecture and engineering
This unit moves away from Mycenae to focus on other Mycenaean sites – in particular Tiryns and Pylos – and we look at possible causes for the demise of the Mycenaean culture
In this unit we look at the myth, history and archaeology of Troy and further explore the end of the Bronze Age and the start of the Dark Age
We strongly recommend that you try to find a little time each week to engage in the online conversations (at times that are convenient to you) as the forums are an integral, and very rewarding, part of the course and the online learning experience.
To participate in the course you will need to have regular access to the Internet and you will need to buy the following textbooks:
Preziosi, D. & Hitchcock, L., 1999 Aegean Art and Architecture, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Shelmerdine, C. W. (ed.), 2008 The Cambridge Companion to the Aegean Bronze Age, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee for each course you enrol on. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online. If you do not register when you enrol, you have up until the course start date to register and pay the £10 fee.
For more information on CATS point please click on the link below: http://www.conted.ox.ac.uk/studentsupport/faq/cats.php
Coursework is an integral part of all online courses and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework, but only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.
Assignments are not graded but are marked either pass or fail.
All students who successfully complete this course, whether registered for credit or not, are eligible for a Certificate of Completion. Completion consists of submitting both course assignments and actively participating in the course forums. Certificates will be available, online, for those who qualify after the course finishes.
This course is delivered online; to participate you must to be familiar with using a computer for purposes such as sending email and searching the Internet. You will also need regular access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification.
Home/EU Fee: £280.00
Non-EU Fee: £300.00
Take this course for CATS points: £10.00
Steve Kershaw has taught for the department since 1998. He has been fascinated by the culture of the Greek Bronze Age ever since he first encountered the works of Homer.
This course aims to:
Explore the culture of Bronze Age Greece, with special focus on the Minoan and Mycenaean civilisations.
This course will enable participants to:
1. Gain a knowledge of a crucial phase in the history of the Bronze Age;
2. Examine, understand and assess the Minoan and Mycenaean civilisations in their social, cultural and archaeological contexts;
3. Develop skills of archaeological, historical, and artistic observation and analysis with further applications in study, work and leisure, and provide an interesting, enjoyable and relevant course of study
- Guided reading of texts
- Group discussions of particular issues
- Questions to be answered in personal folders
By the end of this course students will be expected to understand:
The general outline of the development of Minoan and Mycenaean culture, gained through a variety of types of written, artistic and archaeological evidence.
The nature of written, artistic and archaeological evidence and the problems of interpretation.
The cultural context of the Minoan and Mycenaean civilisations studied through their writings, mythology, art and architecture
By the end of this course students will be expected to have gained the following skills:
The ability to research and assess the context and importance of varying types of written, artistic and archaeological evidence.
An ability to think both logically and laterally across a range of issues, to see how different types of evidence interrelate, and to have an awareness of the potential diversity of response to any given problem.
The facility critically to discuss issues and evidence in a clear, balanced, and effective manner.
Assessment for this course is based on two written assignments - one short assignment of 500 words due half way through the course and one longer assignment of 1500 due at the end of the course.
Assignments are not graded but are marked either pass or fail.
Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please contact us to obtain an application form.
Level and demands
FHEQ level 4, 10 weeks, approx 10 hours per week, therefore a total of about 100 study hours.
Terms and conditions
Terms and conditions for applicants and students on this course
Sources of funding
Information on financial support