Continuing Education at VIU Powell River: Archaeology of THINGS (Fall 2017)

Hercules and Iolaus slay the Lernian Hydra.

Explore the wonderful world of objects, materials, crafting and making in a new five-part archaeology series called “The Archaeology of THINGS”

Humans have been material creatures since we created the first stone tool. This course celebrates what humans can make and do. Join us and delve deeply into crafting practices, symbolic and gendered meanings as well as the magic of everyday things.

Each class will include a time for show and tell, in which students are invited to share or present a special object of their own for discussion and anthropological analysis.

To find out more please read the class descriptions below.

The course runs 6 to 8 pm, Thursday evenings from Sep 28 to Oct 26. Cost is $110 plus GST. For more details and to register, visit, or call 604-485-2878. The brochure for VIU Powell River’s Fall Session is downloadable here.

Nine Greek Muses (Louvre Museum)

Class 1: Igniting Hephaestus’ Forge 

We know Hephaestus from Greek Mythology as the god of artisans, sculptors and metalworkers, from whose workshop emerged wonders such as Hermes’ winged helmet and sandals and Aphrodite’s magical girdle.

In this class we light the fires of our curiosity and examine the world of ancient artisans and crafters. On this visit to the god’s primordial forge we will explore the symbiotic relationship between humans and material objects and how craft and crafter have shaped each other through time.

For show and tell, students are invited to present an object or item they have made themselves.

Class 2: Unpacking Hera’s Handbag

Wife to philandering Zeus, the Greek goddess Hera was a vigilant force to be reckoned with. This fierce protectress will serve as our guide as we unpack our gendered assumptions about who made and used ancient objects.

For show and tell, students are invited to bring a small portable item of their choice that often comes with its own gendered associations.

Class 3: Uncorking Calliope’s Claptrap

In this class the poetic muse Calliope serves as our antihero as we turn language on its head and explore the nexus of meaning behind our names and labels for things ancient and modern.

For show and tell, students are invited to present a “mysterious” object for the class to identify.

Class 4: Picking Chiron’s Pocket

Let the metaphors from Greek Mythology continue as we rob Hell’s Ferryman and invade the underlands to explore the unseen symbolic world of material objects. Careful of Hades’ multi-headed watchdog Cerebus, we pass by the river of forgetfulness and delve deeply into the symbolic connection between the human realm and the eternal sacred.

For show and tell, students are invited to share an object that has special meaning to them.

Class 5: Fleshing out Apollo’s Ghost

In our last class we find that Apollo, the god of light and truth, isn’t dead after all. As we review all we’ve learned in class, we speak to how looking at material objects from an anthropological perspective can reveal hidden depths in workaday things.

For show and tell, students are invited to present a common, but favorite object that they use every day.


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