Credit points: 15

Subject outline

This subject investigates cultural approaches to the single event which occurs to all humankind: death. While concentrating on the archaeology, art and textual evidence of Greco-Roman antiquity, the subject also draws upon case studies from later periods and other societies to illustrate the richness, variety and complexity of cultural responses to death, employing modern ethnographic parallels to aid the interpretation of past practices. Topics covered include the role of burial practices in defining living societies through declarations of social status, age, gender and ethnicity in funerary procedures and monuments constructed to commemorate the dead. You will learn about the ideas, literature and art surrounding the afterlife, ghosts and underworld; the role of religion in the formulation of burial rites; and social approaches to ways of death such as war, disease and crime.

SchoolHumanities and Social Sciences

Credit points15

Subject Co-ordinatorGillian Shepherd

Available to Study Abroad/Exchange StudentsYes

Subject year levelYear Level 3 - UG

Available as ElectiveYes

Learning ActivitiesPreparatory reading; lecture attendance; research for essay; tutorial interaction; assessed source analysis; assessed research essay; tutorial-based assessment

Capstone subjectNo

Subject particulars

Subject rules

Prerequisites Students must have completed 60 credit points of Level two subjects and 15 credit points of ARC, ARH, CAH, ENG, HIS, HUS coded subjects


Incompatible subjectsMDS3DBA OR CAH2DTH OR MDS2DBA

Equivalent subjectsN/A

Quota Management StrategyN/A

Quota-conditions or rulesN/A

Special conditionsN/A

Minimum credit point requirementN/A

Assumed knowledgeN/A

Career Ready


Work-based learningNo

Self sourced or Uni sourcedN/A

Entire subject or partial subjectN/A

Total hours/days requiredN/A

Location of WBL activity (region)N/A

WBL addtional requirementsN/A

Graduate capabilities & intended learning outcomes

Graduate Capabilities

Intended Learning Outcomes

01. Analyse a source in depth in order to understand its context, implications and associated debates
02. Compare and contrast social and cultural attitudes to human mortality in order to explore themes of cultural continuity and change over time and place.
03. Deploy advanced writing skills for the effective communication of complex concepts and debates
04. Demonstrate increased and sophisticated knowledge of the material culture and literature of Greco-Roman societies and relevant ethnographic parallels

Subject options

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Start date between: and    Key dates

Melbourne (Bundoora), 2021, Semester 1, Blended


Online enrolmentYes

Maximum enrolment sizeN/A

Subject Instance Co-ordinatorGillian Shepherd

Class requirements

LectureWeek: 10 - 22
Two 1.00 hour lecture per week on weekdays during the day from week 10 to week 22 and delivered via blended.

TutorialWeek: 10 - 22
One 1.00 hour tutorial per week on weekdays during the day from week 10 to week 22 and delivered via face-to-face.


Assessment elementCommentsCategoryContributionHurdle% ILO*

Source analysis (1400 words) Close analysis of a source with regard to its usefulness in enlarging our understanding of a specific aspect of ancient funerary practice; the analysis accordingly requires an in-depth understanding of related and relevant sources and debates.

N/AAssignmentIndividualNo35 SILO1, SILO3, SILO4

Research essay (2000 words) Research essay on a specified topic requiring wide-ranging analysis of related material, sites and reading examined throughout the subject. .

N/AAssignmentIndividualNo50 SILO1, SILO2, SILO3, SILO4

Tutorial-based assessment (600 words) Periodic in-class assessment based on subject essential readings

N/AOtherIndividualNo15 SILO1, SILO2, SILO4