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Written and Oral Reports

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The Written Report

The written portion of an oral report is meant to provide background and the sources for your oral report. In other words, the written report should focus on the facts: the history of the site, what materials were used, significant details about the monument. It is not meant to be a written version of the oral report. It may be in the form of lecture notes or a fairly detailed outline. It may be no longer than 2 sides of one sheet of paper. The written portion should include:

  • Plan(s) of the site (only if the textbook or coursepack does not have a good one)
  • History of the site: when was it first founded, significant events, when was the site abandoned?
  • Brief Excavation history: who excavated and when? under whose auspices (e.g. American School of Classical Studies, Italians, French, Germans, etc.)
  • Highlights: what are the most significant structures, art, etc., at the site, and very briefly, why are they significant? Measurements (if available), *building materials, details about decoration should be included.
  • Bibliography:
    Part I: Primary Excavation Reports
    Part II: Secondary Literature on the topic
    This bibliography is meant to be as inclusive as possible so that you or others could use it for further research. Place an asterisk (*) next to each item that you consulted for your report. Please consult the MLA stylesheet, Turabian, or the format recommended in AJA 95 (1991) 1-16. Please note at the top which you are using

For excavation history and further bibliography, the best places to look first are the books on course reserves in Cole Library, and on-line resources Perseus Project, Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites, and Prehistoric Archaeology of the Aegean. See the bibliography page for more print resources. See the Trip home page for more web resources.

Some common abbreviations of English-language journals (cf. AJA 95 [1991] 1-16 for a more complete list, including foreign periodicals):

  • AA Archaologischer Anzeiger
  • AJA American Journal of Archaeology
  • Arch Archaeology
  • ArchClass Archaeologia Classica
  • AM (AthMitt) Mitteilungen des Deutschen Arch. Instituts, Athenische Abteilung
  • BCH Bulletin de correspondence hellenique
  • BSA Annual of the British School of Archaeology at Athens
  • CretChron Cretica Chronica
  • DAI Deutsches Archaeologisches Institut
  • Delt Archaiologikon Deltion
  • Ephemeris Archaeologike Ephemeris
  • Erg To Ergon tes Archaiologikes Hetaireas
  • EtCret Etudes cretoises
  • FA Fasti archaeologici
  • FdD Fouilles de Delphes, Ecole francaise d'Athenes
  • Hesp Hesperia
  • JHS Journal of Hellenic Studies
  • OpArch Opuscula Archaeologica
  • PP Parola del Passato
  • Prakt Practika tes Archaeologikes Hetaireas
  • RA Revue archeologique

The Oral Report

The oral portion of the report should take about 20-30 minutes. It may in fact take longer since we will be walking around the site and there will be questions. It will include all the relevant information from your written report plus an interpretation of the monument: how does it speak to Greeks who saw it? Here are some questions you will want to discuss:

1. What evidence (archaeological and/or literary) can be used in securing a date and identifying the builder of the monument (coins, pottery, architecture, inscriptions, literary evidence)?

2. With what materials was the monument built? What decoration adorned the monument? What sort of finds (if any) were found at the site that may help identify the monument's function or purpose?

3. What is the plan of the site? What is the internal arrangement of the monument? How does one room or section relate to another?

For questions 4-5, think of the monuments you are studying as almost living beings that can speak to other monuments nearby and the people who view them through the language of its architectural style, sculptural decoration, and inscriptions.

4. Why is the monument's location important? How does it relate to other monuments nearby? If the site includes more than one building, how do the different buildings interact and respond to each other? Is there anything (architectural, sculptural, social, political) that unifies the buildings on the site?

5. Why was the monument built? What does the style, architecture, and decoration say about the person/city that commissioned it? What effect did it have on people who saw it? How do people from different social classes or different genders view the monument? Does it make a political, moral, religious, or social statement? For whom does it make this statement?

Additional Tips
Wear your learning lightly!
Know dimensions of monuments, but give rarely, and then only in the context of other buildings.
Know details, but don't overload report with them unless asked for them.
You may wish to present in this order:

I. relevant mythology of the site (if any)
II. cultic activities (if any)
III. historical overview of site
IV. tour of the site

The best reports will put your site within the context of other sites we have seen on the trip, be able to compare the monuments at your site with others, be able to say what is typical and what is unusual about the site. In short the best report will synthesize what is most significant about your site.

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