Recovering the Humankind's Past and Saving the Universal Heritage

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Recovering the Humankind's Past and Saving the Universal Heritage

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Description

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About this course: Archaeology is, among human sciences, the discipline with the strongest importance for the rediscovery, but also for the preservation and protection of cultural heritage, as Humankind’s universal patrimony. You will be introduced to the way we ourselves reflect on and are engaged with the study of human past: from the practical and material recovery of ancient traces in the field to the study and interpretation. On the other hand, the discovery of human past implies the correct conservation and presentation for both experts and general public: the study and protection of the past we share every day prevent from any possible destruction, misuse, abuse and thus cancella…

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Didn't find what you were looking for? See also: Archaeology, Social Sciences, Social Studies, Culture, and Classics.

When you enroll for courses through Coursera you get to choose for a paid plan or for a free plan

  • Free plan: No certicification and/or audit only. You will have access to all course materials except graded items.
  • Paid plan: Commit to earning a Certificate—it's a trusted, shareable way to showcase your new skills.

About this course: Archaeology is, among human sciences, the discipline with the strongest importance for the rediscovery, but also for the preservation and protection of cultural heritage, as Humankind’s universal patrimony. You will be introduced to the way we ourselves reflect on and are engaged with the study of human past: from the practical and material recovery of ancient traces in the field to the study and interpretation. On the other hand, the discovery of human past implies the correct conservation and presentation for both experts and general public: the study and protection of the past we share every day prevent from any possible destruction, misuse, abuse and thus cancellation of human memory. “Recovering the Humankind's Past and Saving the Universal Heritage” presents to a large public Archaeology as a historical discipline: through an inter-disciplinary perspective you will follow the evolution and change of archaeology to the moment when natural sciences contributed to make the historical reconstructions scientifically sound; the aid of informatics and of virtual reconstructions gives new fascination to the already strong suggestion of Archaeology, as the discipline of discovery par excellence. Within this frame, Ebla, which is the glory of the Sapienza school of Oriental archaeology, will have an exemplary meaning in the course development as a long lasting experience on the field and an excellent example of the scientific results of combined researches and disciplines. Moreover, the course will focus on actual, innovative instruments to preserve, monitor and give value to cultural heritage through a multidisciplinary approach, based on a deep archaeological and historical knowledge but also on ICT technologies. The wide adoption of ICT technologies in our daily life is also impacting in the way in which we interact with our cultural heritage in particular in terms of preservation and dissemination of cultural objects. In this course you will learn the basic techniques to digitize cultural objects and obtain 3D digital copies of a physical objects such as statues, vases or archaeological sites. We will also discuss how to structure the raw data in order to facilitate and make effective the access to digital contents. In particular, we will present the European Data Model, a framework for collecting, connecting and enriching data on cultural objects provided by a number of museum, archives, sites and libraries in Europe.

Created by:  Sapienza University of Rome
  • Taught by:  Paolo Matthiae, Emeritus Professor of Archaeology

    Dipartimento delle Scienze dell'Antichità
  • Taught by:  Davide Nadali, PhD in Near Eastern Archaeology

  • Taught by:  Andrea Vitaletti, Ph.D. in Computer Science

    Computer Science
  • Taught by:  Emanuel Demetrescu, PhD candidate

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Sapienza University of Rome Sapienza University of Rome, founded in 1303 by Pope Boniface VIII, is the oldest University in Rome and the largest in Europe. Since its founding over 700 years ago, Sapienza has played an important role in Italian history and has been directly involved in key changes and developments in society, economics and politics. It has contributed to the development of Italian and European science and culture in all areas of knowledge. The main campus, designed by Marcello Piacentini, was opened in 1935. It is situated close to the city centre, and is the largest in Europe - a real city within a city where teaching activities are integrated with libraries and museums as well as comprehensive student services. Faculties and Departments also carry out their activities in decentralized locations in different parts of the city. There are two other university campuses elsewhere in Lazio. Sapienza offers a vast array of courses including degree programmes, PhD courses, one to two year professional courses, and Specialization Schools in many disciplines, run by 63 Departments and 11 Faculties.

Syllabus


WEEK 1


COURSE INFORMATION & COLLABORATIVE ACTIVITIES
The inter-disciplinary perspective of Archaeology, the Ebla discovery, the use of ICT technologies and the introduction of the Europeana Data Model as a framework for collecting, connecting and enriching data will be the focus of the course.


8 readings expand


  1. Reading: Getting Started
  2. Reading: Course Format
  3. Reading: Communication within the class
  4. Reading: Quiz Availability
  5. Reading: Lectures Availability
  6. Reading: Lecture 1
  7. Reading: Lecture 2
  8. Reading: Collaborative Activities


Week 1 - The recovery of the human past and the protection of the universal heritage.



We will start our enquiry by discussing how ancient societies kept memory of their own past, an aspect which, in fact, was fundamental to their identity. Shifting towards modern times, we will then reflect how the material past is preserved and how we refer to it. Homework available since


4 videos expand


  1. Video: Section 1.1 - What is archaeology? - (min. 14:29)
  2. Video: Section 1.2 - The memory of the past in ancient civilizations - (min. 15:43)
  3. Video: Section 1.3 - Preservation of the past and reference to the past - (min. 18:45)
  4. Video: Section 1.4 - The appropriation and destruction of the others' past - (min. 19:23)

Graded: Quiz Week 1

WEEK 2


Week 2 - The birth of archaeology and its role in the contemporary world.



The study of the past of the planet marked the first serious reflections on humankind’s past, although archaeology was in fact considered the practice to collect objects. “New Archaeology” represents the first major revolution, promptly followed by the more structured and aggressive “Processual Archaeology". The opening towards different disciplines implied the “loss of innocence” for archaeology, bringing at the same time scientific methods into the reconstructions of the past. Homework available since


4 videos expand


  1. Video: Section 2.1 - The scientific rediscovery of the past and the first forms of protection of the past - (min. 17:43)
  2. Video: Section 2.2 - Renaissance in the western world, and the Renaissance - (min. 13:38)
  3. Video: Section 2.3 - The birth of Archaeology as a historical discipline - (min. 17:58)
  4. Video: Section 2.4 - The Archaeology of prehistory and the Archaeology outside the Old World: the enlargement of horizons from the Americas to India, and China. - (min. 15:44)

Graded: Quiz Week 2

WEEK 3


Week 3 - The birth of archaeology and its role in the contemporary world.



Field archaeology entails discovery, but is a matter of fact that discovering brings a great responsibility because it is a process of destruction. Digging means observing, recording, interpreting. Archaeological excavation is an harmonious trade-off between an intellectual and a manual labor. In fact, archaeological interpretation is a path shifting between identity and alterity. Homework available since


3 videos expand


  1. Video: Section 3.1 - The devolution of the New Archaeology - (min. 11:18)
  2. Video: Section 3.2 - Scientific methods in Archaeological Reconstructions - (min. 10:05)
  3. Video: Section 3.3 - Archaeology as Science - (min. 07:40)

Graded: Quiz Week 3

WEEK 4


Week 4 - The birth of archaeology and its role in the contemporary world.



Material remains of the past and their state of recovery vary according also to environments. Surface surveys lead to a more intense knowledge of territories, visualizing archaeologicallandscapes in a variety of ecological situations. The objectives of archaeological research have been moulded in the historical development of the discipline. Historical sources have always been a sourceof inspiration for research, opening new problems. Chronology is a construct depending on dating tools, and scientific methods have been employed in determining an absolute chronology. Homework available since


4 videos expand


  1. Video: Section 4.1 - Discovery in Archaeology, the responsability of discovering, to discover is to destroy - (min. 11:21)
  2. Video: Section 4.2 - Stratigraphical Archaeology .... - (min. 15:28)
  3. Video: Section 4.3 - The Archaeological excavation as operation of Harmony .... - (min. 12:07)
  4. Video: Section 4.4 - The Archaeological interpretation .... - (min. 10:18)

Graded: Quiz Week 4

WEEK 5


Week 5 - The birth of archaeology and its role in the contemporary world.



This module focuses on scientific research and knowledge dissemination.The specificities of the past pose a problem in respect of popularization and simplification. The operational chain is made of exploration, dig, publication, conservation, dissemination, protection. However, the need for a legitimacy of the present has led also to political readings of the retrieval of the past. Present cultural identity is grounded in the retrieved past. The “past of the other” has often been refused throughout history down to modern times. Our perception of the past is made manifest in its material and virtual reconstruction starting from ruins. Further, “excessive exploitation” of the past represent a modern destruction. The archaeological excavation of Ebla (Syria) will be analyzed as case study. It is in fact an example of a research framed within historical archaeology, which, in the course of fifty years of research, turned into a global perspective. Homework available since Dic.: Quiz week 5


3 videos expand


  1. Video: Section 5.1 - Pioneer Archaeology: The Case of Nineveh - (min. 18:33)
  2. Video: Section 5.2 - Historical Archaeology: The Case of Ebla - (min. 18:18)
  3. Video: Section 5.3 - Archaeology of Territory: Surveys in Southern Mesopotamia - (min. 18:33)

Graded: Quiz Week 5

WEEK 6


Week 6 - Digitizing Cultural Objects and 3D virtual reconstruction



In this module, Emanuel Demetrescu will explain us the last methodologies and techniques in the field of 3D acquisition and reconstruction of cultural heriatage. These applications improve the knowledge and preservation and have a central role in the way we can communicate cultural heritage to the society. Making digital copies from real objects now has several very fun and precise technologies that are also available to everybody at very low cost budget. Demetrescu will show us how to use these tools to make our own models and share them with others. The virtual reconstruction of no-more-exstant objects (like a lost temple) will be the argument of the last part of the module: a state of the art of the methodologies will help us to understand how to approach such a process from a scientific point of view (archaeological method). Homework available since 1 Jan.: Quiz week 6


4 videos expand


  1. Video: Section 6.1 - Titolo - From Physical Cultural Heritage to Digital one - Part 1 (min. 17:28)
  2. Video: Section 6.2 - Titolo - From Physical Cultural Heritage to Digital one - Part 2 (min. 18:31)
  3. Video: EXTRA: Tutorial Section 6.2.2 - make your copy of Visual SFM (min. 3:43)
  4. Video: Section 6.3 - Titolo - From Physical Cultural Heritage to Digital one - Part 3 (min. 17:33)

Graded: Quiz Week 6

WEEK 7


Week 7 - Digitizing Cultural Objects and 3D virtual reconstruction



In this module, Andrea Vitaletti will show us the basic techniques to effectively manage the unprecedented amount of digital contents on cultural objects nowadays offered by cultural heritage providers. Raw data, need to be organized in structured information in order to effectively support advanced functionalities, such as indexing and searching. We will present the basic techniques to structure the data in order to facilitate the access to digital contents and we will focus on the European Data Model, a framework for collecting, connecting and enriching data on cultural objects provided by a number of museum, archives, sites and libraries in Europe. Homework available since


4 videos expand


  1. Video: Section 7.1 - Sharing digital resources on the Internet - (min. 08:35)
  2. Video: Section 7.2 - Modeling digital data - (min. 11:53)
  3. Video: Section 7.3 - Europeana Data Model - (min. 18:06)
  4. Video: Section 7.4 - Europeana Data Model - (min. 15:21)

Graded: Quiz Week 7

WEEK 8


Week 8 - Digitizing Cultural Objects and 3D virtual reconstruction



This module deals with some basic issues and principles. All heritages are “equal among them”. Heritages are a property of humankind and not of the single countries. Heritages need to be protected and preserved in their context. But many threats are posed to heritages: illegal digging is a serious risk, as well as actions due to hatred for the “other” and his heritage. As a consequence of what stated above, damages to heritage are a crime against all humankind. International Organizations are engaged in protecting the heritage, the future of which represents a contribution to dialogue and peace. Homework available since


3 videos expand


  1. Video: Section 8.1 - Cultural Heritage Assets - (min. 17:56)
  2. Video: Section 8.2 - The Risk of the Destruction of Cultural Heritage - (min. 19:10)
  3. Video: Section 8.3 - The Future of Cultural Heritage - (min. 13:47)

Graded: Quiz Week 8
Graded: Final exam
Graded: Collaborative Activities Quiz (Only for active Collaborative Activity members)
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