Archive for August, 2009

Sutton Hoo Artifacts

by   |  08.27.09  |  221- Middle Ages

    Sixty years ago the faint outlines of a ship were found in a burial mound being excavated in southeast England. The mound was of the type described by Tacitus in his Germania:

      In their funerals there is no pomp; they simply observe the custom of burning the bodies of illustrious men with certain kinds of wood. They do not heap garments or spices on the funeral pile. The armor and weapons of the dead man and in some cases his horse are consigned to the fire. A turf mound forms the tomb. Monuments with their lofty elaborate splendor they reject as oppressive to the dead. It is thought becoming for women to bewail, for men to remember the dead. (Germania)

    Archeologists called the site Sutton Hoo and dated the mound to around the seventh century, but the most startling discovery in these excavations was a treasure hoard now housed in the British Museum. Before class, spend some time looking at the Sutton Hoo hoard online, and then speculate on what these artifacts tell us about the person buried here and the culture these objects represent.


Sutton Hoo Exercise

    For this exercise you will go to the British Museum website and search for “Sutton Hoo.” Choose 4 or 5 of the objects recovered from these excavations (and on display in the British Museum) to examine in more detail. Before reading about these artifacts, study the larger image of each and speculate on the following questions:

      – What was this object?
      – What kind of person did it belong to?
      – What function did it serve?
      – What social or symbolic value might it have contributed to its owner?

    British Museum database

    Next choose 1 object and write a three paragraph summary of your findings. In the first paragraph you should provide a physical description of the artifact. The second should then speculate on its uses or importance. In the third paragraph you should review the catalog article on your object and compare your ideas with the conclusions other researchers have come to. (*See the sample student post below before you begin writing.)

    Sutton Hoo Scepter – Student Example

    Bring your summary class to begin our discussion of the Anglo Saxons.

Welcome to Major British Writers

0 Commentsby   |  08.21.09  |  Announcements

    I’m looking forward to meeting each of you this next week and working through some truly great works of literature that have shaped and changed the world. I can’t believe they pay me for this!DSC00023sm

    Sometime this week, come on into the class blog and look around a little. Before we begin Beowulf, I’m asking you to post a short introduction to the Class Introductions discussion thread in the sidebar. You’ll respond to several questions. No one will be marking your responses up with a red pen (we’ll save that for later!), but this will give us a chance to get to hear a little more from you than we’ll have time for in class this week.

    *Before you post, I’m asking you to Add Your Own Avatar. This profile photo will appear on class blogs, so please choose a mugshot that helps us (mainly me) connect names with faces. (For information about gravatars, see ACU Blogs.)

    The first week of any semester can be disorienting, so if you have questions about the class blog feel free to post that to the Unit 1 Discussion Thread.
    For now, you’ve already impressed me with wisdom beyond your years in making two key decisions: returning to ACU and signing up for this class. I look forward to learning with you and from you this semester,

    Kyle Dickson

Pilgrims and Journeys


0 Commentsby   |  08.20.09  |  Announcements

    For thousands of years, journeys have been a recurring motif in world literature. Whether in the form of odysseys or wilderness wanderings, sea voyages or expeditions into unknown territory, characters have been setting off on narrative explorations of the physical and spiritual world. England has welcomed its fair share of literary wanderers, from Beowulf to Bilbo Baggins, with their astonishing tales of There and Back Again.

    So many great stories from the Bible begin or end with a journey. It would be hard to retell the stories of Jonah or the Prodigal Son without images of the road or the open sea. How meaningful would their endings be without time spent in a far-off country or the belly of a fish? In the allegorical world of Pilgrim’s Progress, as Christian travels from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City, it is the journey and not the destination which maintains our interest. Christian’s progress reminds us that stories, like journeys, follow a path toward maturity or knowledge, toward death or life. This progress is a story Christian readers share since, as the King James Version affirms, we too are “pilgrims and strangers on the earth.”

    An academic “course” is, strictly speaking, a path or journey toward knowledge and personal growth. We’re glad you’re undertaking such a journey with us. Willingly or unwillingly, eagerly or with some trepidation, we’re preparing to set off into a far-off country together.


Middle Ages Timeline

by   |  08.20.09  |  221- Middle Ages

    Before class, spend a few minutes reviewing the British Invasions timeline. This interactive timeline will introduce you to the Anglo Saxon period and give you a clearer sense of Britain’s place in the larger world. Taking notes as you go will help you keep the most important names and dates straight.    

    British Invasions Intro

    Once you’ve viewed the British Invasions introductory film, open the following Flash timeline covering the nations and tribes that influenced Britain over its first 1,000 years.

    British Invasions timeline

      British Invasions transcript

    After 1066 Exercise

      As we move into the Middle English period, review the timeline and then select one of the dates after 1066 to research on the web. Using the links provided as a starting point, spend 15 minutes learning as much as you can about this event. After you can answer the basic journalistic questions (Who? What? When? Where? Why?), write a short summary of your event. 

      Once you’ve described the basics, consider whether your event served as a “cultural turning point.” In what ways might your date have had larger or longer range implications than can be explained by the basic facts. Add a short interpretation to your summary which speculates on the event’s broader political, religious, social, or economic significance. (See Student Example on the Crusades before you begin writing.)

      1095 – First Crusade Begins – Student Example

      Bring your summary and interpretation to our next class where we will discuss dates following 1066. The period after the Norman Invasion was one of significant change in almost every area of life, so be ready to discuss reasons for these changes and how they are reflected in works like Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.