What most sets Stanford classical archaeology apart is its theoretical dynamism and interdisciplinary commitment. It is part of Stanford's interdepartmental Archaeology Center, a connection that offers students a structural and intellectual engagement with broader perspectives and cutting-edge methodologies from other disciplines, especially anthropology.
For the study of the ancient Mediterranean world, this means (for example) understanding not only the material record of Magna Graecia but also the modern intellectual frameworks that took form there and helped shape the entire discipline. It means that evaluations of whether fifth century BCE Greece or the Roman Empire were good to live in can depart not from ideological presumptions about cultural value and significance but from a rigorous comparative assessment of the material evidence for living standards. It means developing ways to understand the multiple effects of visual representations and ancient artworks on the people who saw them and lived with them. It means that archaeological engagements with place and its representations can range from theater archaeology to deep mapping to a collaboration with computer scientists on the Severan Marble Plan of Rome. And, it means that issues of cultural heritage and ethics are considered central--and richly illuminating--aspects of the material relationships and knowledge structures we create around the material past. In recent years, classical archaeology graduate students have worked on faculty projects at Monte Polizzo, Sicily, in the Roman Forum, at Çatalhöyük in Turkey, and at student-directed projects at Dhiban in Jordan and Tell Sheikh Hasan in Syria. We actively foster opportunities for students to develop and direct their own archaeological projects. Core teaching faculty include Giovanna Ceserani, Ian Morris, Michael Shanks, and Jennifer Trimble.