ANTH 3370/HONR 3304

of the
  Prehistoric Ægean

  Prof. Karl Petruso
  Spring Semester 2009


The following remarks are intended to guide you in the preparation of your research paper. If you have any questions about content and presentation involving points not covered below, please see me.

You will be provided with a list of recommended paper topics. You may select a topic from that list or you may develop your own (you are encouraged to do the latter). In any event, you should inform me in writing of your chosen topic no later than midsemester (Wednesday, March 11). ALL RESEARCH PAPER TOPICS MUST BE APPROVED BY ME.

You should spend the remainder of January and February scouring the sources on your course bibliography (and especially the bibliographies of those sources) for works pertinent to your topic, and reading around in it.

The due date for the research paper (Friday, April 24) is firm.

General Comments

The intent of this assignment is to encourage you to delve into sources on the prehistoric Aegean beyond the level of the course readings. Your paper will give you the opportunity to demonstrate a mastery of your chosen topic and a familiarity with the relevant scholarly sources. Strive to identify and read the important works that bear on your topic. Since our library collections are not rich in Aegean archaeology, you will benefit from access to online journal articles, and you will doubtless need to take advantage of the services of the Interlibrary Loan Office (Central Library, first floor; orders may be placed online). ILL orders can often be filled within a week or so, but the more obscure titles will take longer. Do not put off ordering seminal works for your paper until the last minute. Interlibrary Loan is an invaluable resource for research; it is expected that you will take advantage of it.

This is to be a formal paper, not an essay or creative writing assignment. Avoid using the first person. Subjective opinions and affective conclusions have no place in such a paper. If your topic demands that you discuss and evaluate the competing arguments of several scholars, do not hesitate to cite which one seems most persuasive or reasonable to you; but your conclusion should be argued, with reference to specific evidence, rather than simply chosen for arbitrary reasons. Part of the exercise of doing a research paper is to hone your skills in evaluating--and making--logical arguments.

The best papers (and the ones most worth doing) are problem-oriented, and the prehistoric Aegean has no dearth of problems to investigate. Your paper should not be simply an exercise in description, but rather an attempt to wrestle with interpretation at some level within the scope of your topic. You should read generally on your topic during the months of January and February, and identify a discrete subject that is worth pursuing. This does not mean that you need to resolve the problem, but you should demonstrate that you can come to grips with it and write cogently about it.

Format and Presentation

There is currently no scholarly consensus on the date of the Thera volcanic eruption (Manning 2005:58-59).

Use of Web Resources

In general, you are advised to be careful in using online sources. Websites are notoriously variable in their scholarly quality and reliability. In general, websites affiliated with universities (whose URLs end in .edu) are reliable. But you are advised to rely primarily on scholarly books unless you have a very good reason to cite web resources (e.g., in the case of recent discoveries and presentations by their discoverers, or new interpretations that have not yet been published). If you have any doubts about the reliability of particular websites, consult me. All web resources used for your paper should be cited in your bibliography.

Most of the fundamental scholarship in archaeology is not (and probably never will be) online. One of the objectives of this course is to familiarize you with seminal works in the field, i.e., books, monographs and journal articles. Consult as many websites as you like (being mindful of the admonition above); but as a rule of thumb, I will expect to see more books and articles than URLs listed in your bibliography (preferably many more).

Deadlines: Nota Bene

You are strongly encouraged to submit a draft of your paper. This is optional; if you wish to submit a draft, please do so by April 10. I will read it and return it to you ASAP for final polishing.

Final versions of the papers are due Friday, April 24 no later than 5:00 pm in my mailbox in the Sociology and Anthropology office (UH 430). Late submissions will be docked one letter grade per weekday. "I had software/hardware problems" is the 21st-century equivalent of "The dog ate my homework," and is unacceptable as an excuse for tardy submission of the paper. You are urged not to leave production of your paper to the morning of April 20.

Conspectus   •   Requirements    •    Syllabus