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Unit information: Sculpture in 2022/23

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing, student choice and timetabling constraints.

Unit name Sculpture
Unit code CLAS10037
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Hales
Open unit status Not open
Units you must take before you take this one (pre-requisite units)


Units you must take alongside this one (co-requisite units)


Units you may not take alongside this one
School/department Department of Classics & Ancient History
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Unit Information

Classical sculpture is often hailed as the cornerstone of ‘western’ art. But it was not simply beautiful adornment. In a largely illiterate society, successful participation in religious, political and social life relied on the ability to interpret visual information. Sculpture told mythic narratives and community history; commemorated victories and deceased relatives; praised individuals, whether kings or athletes; and provided access to the divine. In this unit, we will learn how to identify the different forms and styles of ancient sculpture and interpret its meanings and themes but more importantly we will discover the roles it played in society. How did ancient audiences engage with the sculpture around them? We will also explore the ways in which that sculpture has been displayed, recontextualised and re-interpreted since antiquity and consider how the aesthetic importance we have placed on it has affected our understanding. How might we most effectively engage with this material?


  • To enable students to recognise the major forms and styles of ancient sculpture, and the contexts in which they were viewed.
  • To equip students both with the practical skills of 'reading' an image and an understanding of how our own ‘readings’ may differ from those of the original audience.
  • To explore the ways in which sculpture reflected and affected ancient communities’ perception of themselves and the roles which sculpture played in ancient society.
  • To develop students’ skills to use the knowledge acquired in class and through their own reading to construct coherent, relevant and persuasive arguments on the built environment.

Your learning on this unit

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate a detailed knowledge of sculpture in the ancient world; its uses and contexts and an awareness of how post-antique practices of interpretation and display have affected the way in which we have ‘created’ that knowledge;
  2. recognise and analyse critically the major artistic styles of ancient sculpture;
  3. use the knowledge acquired in lectures and through their own researches to construct coherent, relevant and persuasive arguments on different aspects of the subject;
  4. demonstrate skills in oral and written communication, in small groups and general discussion in the classes, and in written work, at a standard appropriate to level C.

How you will learn

This unit will involve a combination of independent investigative activities, long- and short-form lectures, and discussion. Students will be expected to engage with materials and participate on a weekly basis. Feedback will be provided for both formative and summative assessments, and this will be supported by meetings with tutors.

How you will be assessed


300 word individual catalogue entry [ILOs 1-4]


2,000 word project report (100%). [ILOs 1-4].


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. CLAS10037).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.