Teaching Staff: Kapetanios Andreas
Course Code: ΕΘΝ203
Course Type: Compulsory Elective
Course Level: Undergraduate
Course Language: Greek
Semester: 7th

Short Description:

Looking for landscape stories to unravel peoples stories:

Mountains, plains, coasts, sea, roads, settlements, houses, walls, threshing floors, mills, winepresses, mining galleries, shrines, cemeteries, myths, songs, stories: human adventure has a material dimension, happens in space and runs through time. This is how History is born. In a place within its diachrony.

Lessons follow a course from specifics to general notions: specific examples involving the aforementioned materialities of landscapes are employed to exhibit and explain ethnoarchaeological methods which allow us to record and analyse aspects of the dynamic relationship between human societies and the materiality of landscape. We then try to understand if and how social change is interweaved with landscape (re)structuring. In this vein, an attempt is made to interpret the evolution of certain aspects of human societies, such as labour, landownership, ritual, from the distant past to the present.

The methodological framework taught employs a synthesis of methods of archaeology (material remains, landscape palimpsest), of historical documentary research (written epigraphic and archival sources, legal documents, etc.) and of social anthropology (field surveying, participatory surveying, participatory surveying). testimony).  The examples/case-studies presented derive from Greek and global contexts comprising a cross-cultural perspective.

Objectives - Learning Outcomes:

The aim of this course is to acquaint students with the ethno-archaeological research methodological framework and its contribution to interpretation of the material remains of past societies considering landscape as a source of historical and archaeological data.  In such a perspective, spatial analysis consists an important vehicle to syntheses of the aforementioned data. The course’s objectives include the students’ engagement in trying to detect social structures from the material remains of certain collectivities, as being  integrated over time in the landscape, as well as their familiarisation with the interplay between a systematic study of the present and that of the past, as a hermeneutic cycle.

Upon successful completion of the course, the student will be able to apply tools of the ethno-archaeological method by combining formal and relational analogies to interpret small-scale morphological or typological similarities (such as functional aspects of built features in the landscape) and large-scale schemes in time and space (such as movement and practices of people in the landscape as well as the basic principles of organizing production and habitation in space.


Week 1:

Basic concepts -1

Questions to be answered by Ethnoarchaeology. Key issues - interdisciplinarity. Three disciplines - three methodological frameworks: Archeology (material culture / material remains), Social Anthropology (ethnographic fieldwork, study of traditional social structures and practices), History (primary archival research, study and analysis of various written sources).


Week 2:


Landmarks - mental maps. Examples of textual recordings of mental maps from antiquity to the present day. Ancient inscriptions and historiographical texts, medieval, modern and contemporary texts and images are examined in comparison with the nowadays observable landscape to which the certain texts refer to. The concept of landscape as an active palimpsest. The dynamic relationship between societies and certain natural elements (climate, geomorphology, flora and fauna). The concept of an ecosystem.


Week 3:

Time in Space.

Motion - Stasis (settlement/production spatial patterns and spatial/social networks). Habitation, production practices within the annual cycle (living foci, hunting, gathering, agropastoral production, processing -storage, distribution, social networking - reciprocity). Examples from archaeological and anthropological research.


Week 4:

Basic concepts 2 - Space

Basic Concepts of Spatial Analysis: Space-Landscape-Topos. Geography - Geomorphology - Topography - Geology. The Culture - Nature divide or the Anthropogenic-Natural (Culture-Nature) dichotomy. Florence Convention - European Landscape Convention


Week 5:

Social structures in the Landscape - transformations of basic concepts - studying material residues and archival documents.

Greek case studies on spatial organization and landscape structuring in relation to primary production and habitation. Monetisation, traditional social structures, central political structures, reciprocity structures, commercialisation: how changes in the organization of the built space correspond to gradual transformation of concepts such as land-ownership, cooperation, labour and the value-referential system in which these concepts are integrated.


Week 6:

The role of Ritual practices.

Ancient sacrificial calendars and festivals. Religious - ritual collectivities and networks. Their practices as organized in space. Their place within the great transformations: the examples of the emergence of the ancient Polis sociopolitical system and of the transition from Ottoman rule to the Greek State.


Week 7:

Basic concepts -3

Comparison and diachrony. Inductive - analogical thinking and corresponding method. The importance of practices: the concept of Habitus (Bourdieu). Formal (typological) and relational analogies. Problems in interpretative schemas and the risk of anachronism: ‘Agora vs Market’ as an example of the conflicting interpretations of the relationship between economic practices and social structures (substantivist vs formalist interpretation - Polanyi).


Week 8:

Formal / relational analogies -1:

Rock art and graffiti (ancient and modern examples): Interpretation and questions.

Formal / relational analogies -2:

Seasonal movement of social collectivities. The examples of the Sarakatsani transhumants and the Kalahari !Kung San. Interpretations and problems


Week 9:

What is, then, ethnoarchaeology?

The beginnings of deciphering ancient material remains by comparing them to ethnographic analogues. Thunderbolts and stone tools. Scandinavian Travelers and Indians of South America.

The beginnings of employing ethnographic observation as a way of interpreting ancient societies and their evolution. The example of Lewis Henry Morgan and Freidrich Engels.

New Archeology and Structural Anthropology: The American and French Schools.

Experimental Archeology: the case of prehistoric tools and ethnographically documented stone-making techniques; relationships with evolutionary anthropology, psychology and linguistics.


Week 10:

Landscape research methods and examples

(preparation for field practice).

Extensive - intensive survey. Analytical models and their problems (Thiessen polygons, Site catchment analysis). Methods of recording data in the field (geographical data, material remains, oral testimony). Databases and GIS.

Students form groups respectively to methodological tools.


Week 11:

Field practice in Pantokratoras mountain area in North Corfu. Recording built structures and interviewing inhabitants of the surrounding settlements.


Week 12:

Written information research methods and examples

(preparation for practical lesson).

From material to texts and vice versa: Anthropological elements in archival documents: Examples from Greece.

Organizing in working groups.


Week 13:

Practical lesson in the General State Archives of Corfu.



During the first three weeks, we also devote time to technical issues such as how we work, bibliographical reports, and basics of using databases and simple GIS.


Suggested Bibliography:

Black-Michaud, J. 1975. Cohesive force: feud in the Mediterranean and the Middle East, Oxford: Blackwell.

Bourdieu, Pierre. c1977, 2002. Outline of a theory of practice, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press

Bourdieu, Pierre, 1999, Η ανδρική κυριαρχία, Αθήνα, Στάχυ,.

Fabian, J. 1983. Time and the Other, New York: Columbia University Press.

Ginzburg, Carlo, [199-], Το τυρί και τα σκουλίκια:  ο κόσμος ενός μυλωνά του 16ου αιώνα, Αθήνα, Αλεξάνδρεια,

Hodder, Ian, 1992, Διαβάζοντας το παρελθόν, Αθήνα, Εικοστός Πρώτος.

Lévi-Strauss, Claude, c2007, Θλιβεροί τροπικοί, Αθήνα, Εκδόσεις Χατζηνικολή.

Lévi-Strauss, Claude, 1984, Ο δρόμος της μάσκας: έκδοση αναθεωρημένη, ανεπτυγμένη, και συμπληρωμένη με τις τρείςπεριηγήσεις, Αθήνα, Χατζηνικολή.

Lévi-Strauss, Claude, 2001, Το ωμό και το μαγειρεμένο, Αθήνα, Εκδόσεις Αρσενίδη.

Mauss, Marcel, 1979, Το δώρο: μορφές και λειτουργίες της ανταλλαγής στις αρχαϊκές κοινωνίες, Αθήνα, Καστανιώτης.

Renfrew, Colin and Zubrow, Ezra B. W.  (eds), , 1994, The ancient mind: elements of cognitive archaeology, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Renfrew, Colin, 2001, Αρχαιολογία, θεωρίες, μεθοδολογία και πρακτικές εφαρμογές, Αθήνα, Καρδαμίτσα.

Tilley, Christopher Y.. 1994. A phenomenology of landscape, places, paths and monuments, Oxford, Berg.

Tilley, Christopher Y. c2010., Interpreting landscapes : geologies, topographies, identities, Walnut Creek, Calif. Left Coast Press.

Καραβίδας, Κ. (1931). Αγροτικά, Αθήνα.

Καστοριάδης, Κορνήλιος. 1995. Χώροι του ανθρώπου, Αθήνα, Ύψηλον / Βιβλία.    

Νιτσιάκος, Β. Κασίμης. Χ, (επιμ.) , 2000, Πρακτικά συνεδίου "Ο ορεινός χώρος της Βαλκανικής : συγκρότηση και μετασχηματισμοί, Κόνιτσα 1998, Αθήνα, Πλέθρον.

Νιτσιάκος, Βασίλης Γ, , 2003, Χτίζοντας το χώρο και το χρόνο, Αθήνα, Οδυσσέας.

Νιτσιάκος, Βασίλης Γ. , 1995, Οι ορεινές κοινότητες της βόρειας Πίνδου : στον απόηχο της μακράς διάρκειας, Αθήνα, Πλέθρον.

Νιτσιάκος, Βασίλης, 2004, Παραδοσιακές Κοινωνικές Δομές, Αθήνα,  Οδυσσέας.

Polanyi, K. [1944] 2001. The great transformation. The political and economic origins of our time, Boston: Beacon Press.

              Ελληνική έκδοση:

Πολάνυι , Κ. 2001 Ο μεγάλος μετασχηματισμός: Οι πολιτικές και κοινωνικές απαρχές του καιρού μας. Αθήνα, Νησίδες

              Ιδιαίτερα: δεύτερο μέρος, Ι,  κεφ. 4, 5, σελ. 46-68, ΙΙ, κεφ. 11, 14, 15, σελ. 129-132 και 161-187.

Sahlins, M. [1972] 2004. Stone Age Economics, London: Routledge.

Τσαντηρόπουλος, Άρης, 2010, Η βεντέτα στη σύγχρονη κεντρική ορεινή Κρήτη, Αθήνα, Πλέθρον.

Weber, Max, 1999, Essays in economic sociology, Princeton: Princeton University.

Teaching Methods:

Teaching combines lectures, discussion and field practice. In the latter, participants learn how to apply basic tools for recording material structures in the landscape as well as related socioeconomic practices: survey and participant observation methods (mapping-topography, audiovisual documentation), interview technics and recording of oral testimony, archival data retrieving and recording, basic data management skills (databases and GIS).

Evaluation Methods:

Assessment and the resulting grades is based upon three aspects of student performance: constructive participation in discussion during lessons and in field-practice (10%), one (mandatory) essay (50%) and written examination (40%).

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