Teaching in italian
Subject area
Reference degree course
Course type
Bachelor's Degree
Teaching hours
Frontal Hours: 54.0
Academic year
Year taught
Course year

Teaching description

Teaching program is provisional and may be subject to changes

Good knowledge of English language

The course consists of lectures on the history of prehistoric art, developed in different periods from the Paleolithic to the Neolithic and the Copper Age, the Bronze, and the Iron Ages.

We will examine the idea of "art" in its historical evolution, as well as the development of this concept between anthropology and archeology.

The course program is divided into two sections:

- A series of lectures that will address issues relating to general methodological aspects of prehistoric studies and the analysis of the more proper artistic aspects, from the first forms of Paleolithic art to protohistory. The prehistoric artistic productions of the five continents will be examined, with particular attention to Eurasia, with special emphasis to especially the European and Chinese evidence. For the most ancient periods, paintings, engravings, and "movable art" will be analyzed in detail. For the following periods, some particularly significant examples of architectural structures, petroglyphs, and ceramic and metal productions will be examined.

- A seminar part in which the students will have to face, carry out and discuss a study on a theme connected to prehistoric art.

On successful completion of this module, the students will have a plain, even if general, knowledge of the development of art during prehistoric times, since the earliest evidence in the Paleolithic. The course will explore also the social structures and the cultural characteristics that produced the artistic evidence in different periods and places.

 Theories and methods of prehistoric artistic research will be analyzed during the course.

The students will develop and carry out the study of a specific subject as part of the seminar, applying the methods of chrono-typological and artistic research.

Material culture is a basic factor to investigate ancient art. The course aims to provide a basic knowledge of prehistoric materials to analyze the operating chains of production. Therefore, we will also describe the main analytical methodologies to study the ancient materials (X-Ray Fluorescence, X-Ray Diffraction, Optical microscopy, and Scanning Electron Microscopy).

- The learning is gained through face-to-face classes, with the support of PPT presentations and audiovisual and computer aids.

- The course includes an individual (or group) seminar work with the active participation of the student, who will research subjects of prehistoric art.

Written exam, that is based on the lectures and the study of the recommended texts; the exam is aimed to verify the knowledge of the topics developed during the course.

The exam wants to evaluate how the student achieved the objectives indicated in the course. Full attendance at the courses will be an element of appreciation of the student's evaluation, also in terms of increasing the average grade.

Special relevance will be given to the presentation by the student of the work carried out during the seminar, which is part of the exam.

- Bahn P., The Cambridge Illustrated History of Prehistoric Art, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1998.

- de Laet S. J. (ed.), History of Humanity, Vol. I, Prehistory and the Beginnings of Civilization, UNESCO 1996.

- Renfrew C., Bahn P., Archaeology. Theories, methods and practice (7th edition), Thames & Hudson, London 2016, caps. 4, 8, 10.

- Torbrügge W., Prehistoric European art, H. N. Abrams, New York 1968.

- White R., Prehistoric Art: The Symbolic Journey of Humankind, H. N. Abram publisher, New York 2003.

Additional texts will be suggested and distributed as lecture notes during the lessons.

Second Semester (dal 06/03/2022 al 09/06/2023)

Exam type

Type of assessment
Oral - Final grade

Course timetable

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