The growth and development of many well-known ancient Greek sites can be more fully understood and appreciated in the context of their geological settings and plate-tectonic dynamics (especially earthquakes, faulting, tsunami, and volcanism). Sites such as Delphi, Mycenae, Ithaka (Cephalonia), Akrotiri (Thera), Helike, Thermopolyae, and Ancient Corinth are some of the examples where there is the opportunity to explore the fusion between human history and geological history. In the spirit of University of Arizona’s emphasis on interdisciplinary inquiry, this Humanities Seminar is an uncommon meshing of the humanities and the geosciences.

The general outline of the content of this four-week course follows:

Week 1: Plate-tectonic and human-cultural dynamic shifts over time
Week 2: Site-cultural growth and demise: Minoan, Mycenaean, and Dark Ages
Week 3: Site-cultural growth and demise: Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic
Week 4: Integration of the archaeological-geological record at the Sanctuary of Zeus on Mt. Lykaion: Final Neolithic through Hellenistic Period.

We will be able to visualize plate-tectonic and geological processes by using video clips and animations. Real-time earthquake events that happen to take place in Greece during this course will be exploited as illustrations of natural hazards that have throughout history impacted those living in the Greek world.

The course will be team-taught by two exceptional University of Arizona professors.

Mary Voyatzis is a Professor of Classical Archaeology in the School of Anthropology and the Department of Classics. She served as Department Head of Classics from 2000-2009. Her research interests focus on the archaeology of ancient Greek religion and ritual, especailly at Greek sanctuaries. She is currently co-directing (with D.G. Romano) an excavation and survey project at the Sanctuary of Zeus on Mt. Lykaion in Greece.

George Davis is Regents' Professor (Emeritus) in the Department of Geosciences, and Provost Emeritus of University of Arizona. His academic passion focuses on field-based research on tectonics and mountain building, including earthquake geology and geoarchaeology. Liberal arts education has been a core value for George, who received in June 2012, an honorary degree from Carleton College. Above and beyond his teaching and research responsibilities, he currently is the President of the Geological Society of America.

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