Archaeology of Greece

Course Name:                 Archaeology of Greece
Course Type:                  lecture & class
Lecturer, time & place:    see course schedule

The classes will be focused on basic problems of archaeology of Greece from the Paleolithic to the Hellenistic period. We dedicate the first semester to prehistory (Aegean archaeology) and the second to Classical Greece beginning with the Dark Ages (Classical archaeology).


The aim of the classes is to acquaint the students with the most important archaeological sites, monuments, phenomena and research problems. The specifics of both fields of archaeological research, Aegean and Classical, are different, and these differences will be reflected in our course. A review of a broad selection of archaeological evidence (such as palaces, graves, settlements, frescoes, gem stones, tools, pottery, etc.) permitting to understand the nature of Aegean cultures will be supported by an examination of written documents – even though they play a marginal role in Aegean archaeology, since the source base is limited to inventory records. Drawing on this evidence, we will be able to trace the emergence, development and decline of the main cultures of the Aegean. We will also examine the potential historicity of some Greek myths with their plots set in the distant past.

Our knowledge of Classical Greece is much richer and broader thanks to copious written sources, as well as monuments preserved in large numbers. The European civilization is based on Greek foundations. Greece was the birthplace of many ideas still alive in the present world, even if they experienced a long evolution. In the course of the second semester, we will focus on architecture, sculpture and funeral art, which will help understand the phenomenon of Greek culture. Discussing these topics, we will follow the evolution of Greek civilization from the Dark Ages, when new ideas emerged, through the Archaic period, when Greeks were searching for forms that best embodied their philosophical ideas and image of the world, to the Classical period with the height of its art and democracy in the 5th century. Then, in the 4th century (still the Classical period) we can observe the gradual abandonment of the norms worked out during the preceding ages, up to the Hellenistic period, when the Greek reality and, following it, Greek art changed dramatically after the rapid expansion of the Greek world over vast areas of the Near East, Middle East and Egypt. We will also study how politics, and particularly democracy, influenced the development of public space and buildings by analyzing the example of the Athenian Agora.


First semester

  1. Introduction to the archaeology of Greece.
  2. The Stone and Early Bronze Ages in Mainland Greece.
  3. Cycladic culture – the first great culture of the Early Bronze Age.
  4. Minoan culture up to the Old Palaces Period.
  5. The peak of Minoan culture and the problem of the final destruction of Knossos.
  6. Santorini – the key question of the absolute chronology of the Mediterranean.
  7. The coming of the Greeks. Mainland Greece in the Middle Bronze Age and the emergence of Mycenaean culture.
  8. Mycenaean culture at its peak.
  9. The Aegaean scripts.
  10. Troy – Homeric archaeology at work.
  11. Crete and the islands at the end of the Bronze Age.
  12. The end of the Bronze Age in Mainland Greece.

Selected Reading:

J. Bintliff, The Complete Archaeology of Greece. From hunter-Gatherers to the 20th Century AD, Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester 2012 (FA)

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

J.C. McEnroe, Architecture of Minoan Crete, University of Texas Press, Austin 2010 (IA, e-brary)

D. Preziosi; L.A. Hitchcock, Aegean Art and Architecture, Oxford University Press, Oxford 2000 (FA)

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

Jeremy Rutter, Aegean Prehistoric Archaeology:

Nicely illustrated history of Greek civilization on pages of the Foundation of Greek Culture (in English and Greek):

K.Lewartowski, A. Ulanowska, M. Siennicka, Archeologia Egejska

Second semester

  1. Dark Ages and the emergence of the new Greek world.
  2. Greece in the Geometric and Archaic periods.
  3. From Archaic to Classical Greece.
  4. The 5th century – the height of Greek art and architecture.
  5. The 4th century – a new direction.
  6. Hellenistic Greece as a period of dramatic changes.
  7. The Athenian Agora – the birthplace of democracy.

Selected Reading:

S. Alcock, R. Osborne, Classical Archaeology (Blackwell Studies in Global Archaeology, 10), Malden, 2007 (FA)

J. Bintliff, The Complete Archaeology of Greece. From hunter-Gatherers to the 20th Century AD, Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester 2012 (FA)

J. Boardman, Pre-Classical. From Crete to Archaic Greece, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth 1967 (FA)

M.D. Fullerton, Greek Art, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2000 (FA)

A.W. Laurence, Greek Architecture, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth 1957 (FA)

G.M.A. Richter, A Handbook of Greek Art, Pheidon Press, London 1969 (FA)

Nicely illustrated history of Greek civilization on pages of the Foundation of Greek culture (in English and Greek):

For the Athenian Agora, see ASCSA guide books and picture books online (, esp. J. Camp, The Athenian Agora: A Short Guide in Color; you can also consult the online guide with QTVR panoramas (


* This is the general list of topics. Some of them will need more than one lecture, others less than one.


Aegean Relative Chronology
Aegean Chronology
Early Helladic
Cycladic Chronology
Chronology of Minoan Crete
Crete – pottery styles
Crete – destructions
Crete – the end of the Knossos Palace
Cyclades – Aia Irini
Cyclades – Phylakopi
Crete – remarks on the 2nd Palatial Period
Aegean Scripts
Heinrich Schliemann
Periodization of Classical Greece
Black figure pottery – technique


MAPS for Aegean Archaeology

The maps open in Google Maps. They show sites mentioned in the Handbook of Aegean Archaeology, written in Polish, and the legend connected with all markers is in Polish as well.

The Maps

MAPS Classical Greece

Link to the maps opening in Google Maps. You will find 5 maps, in fact, exactly the ones I use during our lectures (numbering is historical but relates to the number of a lecture):

The Maps