Wabash Blogs Classics - Italy & Roman Urbanism

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Visiting Acient Sites

Derek Wood - Today was our first visit to the archeological site.  The final project during the semester was an individual project in which each of us investigated a specific aspect of the Roman city.  Throughout the day I found these individual projects were helpful to the entire group as almost everyone added something to the experience.  The learning was truly a team effort today. 

Several people gave presentations today, which gave me the experience of a lifetime.  I gained an expansive knowledge in the following areas: deviancy, public entertainment, mystery cults, and aquatic infrastructures. These presentations were so informative that many European and American visitors stopped listening to their tour guide and paid attention to what the students had to say. I am very glad that Prof. Hartnett required copious amounts of out of class studying from us during our course at Wabash. This amount of studying made our learning experience last eight hours, eight hours of my life that I will never forget.

It is mind-blowing to think that I was touching something that someone two thousand years ago was touching maybe not mind-blowing as much as it was humbling. I am very thankful for this visit.

Geoff Calvin - Walking in the city, the early morning sun growing hot, what strikes me is the enthusiasm of the group. After a semester of learning about this ancient city, the men in the class struggle to keep up with our instructor as they become distracted by the many sites that they find familiar from our classes. Every building that we pass, the streets themselves ring true with instant recognition by the members of the ancient city class. Later in the day presentations begin. One of the speakers falters, unable to answer a question about the Roman altar. A member of the class who wrote his paper about altars explains the features of the altar right away. This leads to other members of the class to offer their own opinion. The questions kept coming as everyone offers his point of view, and the conversation evolved under the pounding sun.  We watch the other tourists groups listen without question to their tour guides, even when they say things that grossly over-simplify the complexity of Roman society, or otherwise misrepresent information about the site. After these encounters, the class ruminates among themselves what the difference is between scholars and tourists.