Centre for Continuing Education

Archaeology of Ancient Greece Course

History. See the future. It’s in the past.

Learn about Ancient Greece while exploring the brilliant collection of antiquities at the Nicholson Museum at the University of Sydney.

You will handle genuine archaeological artefacts, engaging in a detailed analysis of material culture displayed in the museum gallery. The course is run by one the museum’s staff archaeologists, ensuring you enjoy a comprehensive and up-close experience of the best collection of antiquities from Ancient Greece in the Southern hemisphere.


This course aims to develop your understanding of the artistic and cultural developments of ancient Greece from the Bronze Age, through to the Geometric, Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic periods.


By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • identify developments in ceramic, sculptural and architectural traditions of Ancient Greece
  • recognise the differences between Athenian, Spartan and Corinthian artistic and cultural traditions
  • describe the techniques and methodology of artistic production in clay, metal and stone
  • describe the chronological development in cultural output
  • describe artistic developments from nearly a millennia of Ancient Greece cultural history
  • discuss the role of archaeology and art history in comprehending ancient Greek life
  • discuss the contribution of the artistic and cultural traditions of Ancient Greek to human history.


An introduction to Greece

  • Resources.
  • Geography and the role of the seas and the impact upon human development in the Aegean.
  • Architectural, ceramic and sculptural traditions in Greece.

The Bronze Age

  • The artistic traditions of the Minoans and Mycenaeans on Crete and mainland Greece.
  • Innovations in metalworking and other technologies.
  • Trade with the rest of the Mediterranean world.

Orientalising and the Geometric Period

  • Exploring the influence the Near East and Egypt had on Greek art.
  • The development of figurative art forms and the eventual rise of the alphabet.

The Archaic Period

  • The impact the development of the polis had on artistic developments.
  • Trends in sculpture and temple architecture.

The Classical Period

  • The impact of cultural developments such as democracy, philosophy and theatre on artistic traditions.
  • The Parthenon and the Acropolis as a case study.
  • Why was Classicism so important artistically?
  • The symposium’s impact upon vase painting.
  • Influences in South Italy and Sicily of Greek colonies.

The Hellenistic Period

  • What impact did Alexander the Great’s conquests have upon the spread of Greek cultural identity to the east?
  • Hellenism as a concept and its spread.
  • What did the Romans do with ideas developed in the Hellenistic World?

Review and reflection

  • Review and reflection on the legacy of the ancient Greek world on contemporary society.

You will handle objects from all periods of Greek history in a guided discussion of cultural output and artistic traditions. This course is designed around object-based learning, so you will spend time examining and in some cases handling examples of the material that is under discussion from the museum collection.

Intended audience

Interested members of the public.

Delivery style

  • Museum education
  • Guided handling of museum objects
  • Talks and discussion


Museum artefacts handled in class are selected by the course tutor.


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Free, expert advice
  • Course materials – yours to keep
  • CCE Statement of Completion

What others say.

  • Direct experience of archaeological material blended with a most engaging and knowledgeable teacher.
  • I wish I could take this course permanently. What a dream come true. Being able to handle items and observe the why's and how's of artefact creation and the reasons for their importance was so enriching. I cannot wait to take another one.
  • I thoroughly enjoyed this course. Craig is an extremely knowledgeable and experienced tutor. As well as the archaeology, I gained more information on Greek history and significant sites, people in everyday life, and how the architecture, artefacts, sculpture and pottery, etc. have progressed through time.