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Ancient mosaics: making and meaning – London

July 31, 2008

Kings College London

This is a dedicated MA course engaging with Greek and Roman visual and material culture through an in-depth examination of a single source of evidence, mosaics. It covers a large chronological period and geographical area, while exploring the value of mosaics for understanding aspects of the ancient world, the range of approaches employed in modern scholarship as well as the future direction of the discipline.

Description, aims and objectives
The study of ancient mosaics is a young and dynamic subject encompassing a large body of material evidence assessed by a range of academic disciplines. The course material is organized chronologically, beginning with pebble floors of the fifth century BC and ending with tessera pavements in the 5th and 6th centuries AD, by way of wall and vault mosaics as well as other surface coverings such as signinum and sectile floors.

Topics include the reception of mosaics from antiquarianism to current practice in their excavation, conservation and display. Alongside the history of mosaic, the shifting iconographic repertoire is investigated within its architectural and social context in order to evaluate changing interests, beliefs and tastes in the ancient world. Aspects of mosaic production are related to debates regarding the nature of ancient technology, craft organization and the role of patronage. Brought together these themes highlight the significance of mosaic for understanding social, economic and cultural history.


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