Adventures in Ancient Studies

Published: Jan 31, 2005

Adventures in Ancient Studies


From the History Channel to sword and sandal epic movies, 21st century citizens remain fascinated by the mysteries of the ancient world.

In UMBC’s Department of Ancient Studies (ANCS), students from various disciplines enroll in classes with topics ranging from elementary Latin to women and gender in the classical world. Faculty members emphasize teaching as the cornerstone of the department and consequently draw up to 100 students in some lower-level courses. Through their creative teaching methods and the practical field experience offered to majors, ANCS connects with undergraduates and enables them to reach, sometimes literally, into the annals of western civilization.

With faculty specializing in archaeology and the history, language and literature of the ancient world, ANCS is able to offer holistic instruction in the classics. Many faculty members contribute to the department’s study/travel program, which gives students the opportunity to participate in digs and discover ancient sites firsthand. Past destinations have included China, Egypt, England, France, Germany, Italy, Greece, Israel, Spain, Tunisia and Turkey. ANCS also reserves departmental funds for travel scholarships, making it one of only a few classics programs in the country to do so.

In 1969 Rudolph H. Storch, associate professor and chair of ancient studies, founded ANCS and helped develop the program, recruiting professors for both ANCS and the history department. He has written extensively about the military history of the ancient world and is currently researching Greek warfare during the archaic period. Storch edits issues of the departmental newsletter, organizes trips to museums in New York and Washington, D.C. and plans events for Ancient Studies Week.

Walter Sherwin, associate professor of ancient studies, is also a founding member of ANCS and has taught at UMBC since 1967. Sherwin has used his expertise in Greek and Roman literature to consult with the U.S. Supreme Court in research and library affairs. He chaired a University committee aimed at improving the undergraduate experience and was recently an advisor to the Ancient Studies Club. Sherwin also coordinated recent study/travel trips to Italy, London and France.

In 1969 Jay M. Freyman, associate professor of ancient studies, helped create the ANCS study/travel program and has since organized trips all over the world. He was instrumental in establishing a Phi Beta Kappa chapter on campus and received a University System of Maryland Regents Faculty Award for Excellence in Mentoring in 1999. Using his background in ancient Greek and Latin, Freyman developed courses in etymology and medical terminology. He also provided historical instruction to theater troupes performing Greek dramas at UMBC and in Washington, D.C.

Marilyn Y. Goldberg, associate professor of ancient studies, has been an ANCS faculty member since 1978. She championed several projects designed to improve pedagogy at UMBC and is bringing technology to ANCS with a pilot project using Web-based images in the classroom. Goldberg also designed an ANCS course for UMBC’s First Year Seminar program. She is currently working on a manuscript that examines communities and gender in the public space of classical Athens.

A recognized expert in ancient trade and transport amphoras, Carolyn G. Koehler, associate professor of ancient studies, has taught at UMBC since 1978. She recently wrote a book on the results of an excavation of Corinthian amphoras in Athens to be published by Princeton’s American School of Classical Studies at Athens and is the president of AMPHORAS Project, Inc. Koehler also works with students to find field-related internships and coordinates trips for the department’s study/travel program.





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