93145 - Archaeology of Monuments and Memory (Lm)

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Archaeology and Cultures of the Ancient World (cod. 8855)

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will have a general understanding of the information potential provided by monuments of the past and many other forms of material culture. They will be familiar with some key archaeological contexts regarding transmission of the social and cultural memory of groups and communities, in different time frames. By the end of the course students will possess the knowledge and appropriate theoretical and methodological tools to identify and deal with theoretical contexts rich in significance, whether monuments or material culture in general.

Course contents

The first part of the course will introduce the concepts of monument, monumentality, and memory in archaeology. Monuments will then be discussed with the perspective of considering these works as an integral element of the territory and in connection with past and present socio-economic realities. The course will cover aspects such as: the relationship between monuments and local communities; memory as a continuity between past and present; the cultural and economic implications connected to the management of monumental heritage; the role of UNESCO in the management, protection, conservation, and valorization policies of tangible and intangible heritage. The topics addressed mainly concern Central Asia, with a specific reference to the territory of Samarkand in the classical and Middle Ages (4th century BC - 15th century AD).

Main topics covered:

• Definition of monument

• Monumentality: meaning and importance

• Memory in archaeology

• Monuments in Central Asia

• Monuments from the Timurid Era (14th-15th centuries)

• Archaeological sites and canals as monuments: creation, management, abandonment

International specialists will be invited to present some topics or case studies.

Non-attending students are invited to contact the teacher to arrange an alternative program and bibliography.


  • Selected articles from F. Buccellati, S. Hageneuer, S. van der Heyden, F. Levenson (eds.), Size Matters – Understanding Monumentality Across Ancient Civilizations. De Gruyter, 2019. LINK 
  • Selected articles from H. B. Paksoy, Central Asian Monuments. De Gruyter 2011. LINK
  • Selected articles from Mamedov, R. Muradov (eds.), The artistic culture of Central Asia and Azerbaijan in the 9th-15th centuries. Volume IV. Architecture. IICAS, 2013 LINK
  • Selected articles from the series History of Civilizations of Central Asia. Paris: UNESCO Publishing, 1996-2005 (6 volumi).
  • Other articles communicated at the beginning of the course

Teaching methods

Lectures and class discussions.

Assessment methods

Students can choose between the oral exam or the preparation of an essay that deals with the topics discussed during the course.

The exam is oral and consists of a verification of the knowledge acquired during the course through the ability to briefly and critically explain the topics addressed based on the content of the bibliography and the teaching materials provided (attending students) or the alternative program agreed with the teacher (non-attending students). In the case of the thesis, the topic must be agreed in advance with the teacher.

The evaluation method out of thirty will be the same for attending and non-attending students and will be based on: knowledge of the topics; clarity in presentation; ability to synthesize; correct use of terminology; ability to formulate and develop critical and rigorous arguments of the topics discussed during the course. Excellent knowledge and mastery of the above are necessary to obtain an excellent grade.

Teaching tools

PowerPoint presentations and other teaching materials, including papers translated from Russian, will be provided by the teacher.

Office hours

See the website of Simone Mantellini


Quality education Sustainable cities

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.