MAT_SCI 395-2: Special Topics: Materiality in Art and Architecture

Quarter Offered

Fall : TTh 2:00-3:20 ; Walton


Metal production was central to Roman civilization. This seminar will examine Roman metallurgy from the perspective of art history/archaeology, economics and materials science. Students will explore how the Romans exploited the raw materials and adapted the processing and casting technologies to meet the demands of an empire vastly larger than any previous Mediterranean state. From a materials science perspective, the class will examine how metal ore was processed and cast, evident in characteristic microstructures. The resulting data will be used as a basis for understanding the vast trading network associated with metal production and the importance of metallurgy to the Roman economy. As this class will be offered in the McCormick School of Engineering as well as the Weinberg School of Arts and Sciences, we expect equal enrollment from Engineering and Humanities students. Following several weeks of joint instruction, the students will be grouped into teams to undertake and present various aspects and theories of historical and scientific research into Roman metal production.