On the 5th of September the Year 12 Ancient History class went to Macquarie University’s Museum of Ancient Cultures. The Museum houses a range of artefacts from numerous ancient societies such as the Egyptians, Spartans and the Persians. As part of the HSC course Year 12 have been studying the Greek World throughout the Persian Wars with a specific focus on Spartan society. This excursion provided students with the unique ability to see rare artefacts from these societies such as cups and other vessels made from pottery and small statues that were offered as religious sacrifices to the Greek gods.
During our visit, students were put into the shoes of museum curators and given the opportunity to debate their views on a variety of issues such as the ethical issues surrounding the display of human remains and whether to preserve or conserve ancient artefacts. Students were also given the opportunity to physically inspect some ancient Greek coins from the time of Alexander the Great and draw conclusions about the time period based on images on these coins. Before leaving the museum students were allowed to try on replicas of Spartan armour to gain a deeper understanding of how difficult it would have been for a Spartan to manoeuvre in such heavy equipment.
Experiences like this are so powerful for students of Ancient History because it really helps to bring to life the people and societies that existed so long ago and allows students in the 21st century to engage with everyday experiences of people living 2000 years ago. Students said they found it really interesting to feel for themselves the weight of the armour, and wondered how the Spartans would have been able to run such long distances and fight while wearing it.
“On the 5th of September, the Year 12 Ancient History class went on an excursion to the Museum of Ancient Cultures in Macquarie University. As well as exploring more about the topics we covered in class, learning about numismatics and extracting information from ancient sources, it was a day of fun and enjoyment. We spent it engaging in beneficial and informative discussion on pressing ethical issues regarding ancient sources, and the debates we took part in contributed to our knowledge of current issues as well as providing us with valuable and diverse outlooks that further add to our knowledge of ancient history. This excursion was productive and highly recommended, as it offers students a chance to utilise skills learnt in class into practical use.” Pascal Haddad
“We went to the museum of ancient cultures at Macquarie University on the 5th of September. We were able to have friendly debates on which was the best way to deal with evidence that is deteriorating and breaking down. We were able to critically analyse a few different coins and get information about them and where they originated from. A few of us had the opportunity to try on a few pieces of amour such as a helmet, breastplate and even a Greek Hoplon (shield). It was an overall great day and I would highly recommend for other students to visit the Museum of Ancient Cultures at Macquarie University if they are interested.” Tylah Semeri
“On the 5th of September Year 12 went to the Museum of Ancient Cultures at Macquarie University. We went to learn about the Ancient societies and cultures that were there. While we were there we participated in debates and drew and dated coins. This allowed us to see the significance of certain aspects of history in dating what happened when, as well as seeing the difficulties that historians go through when making choices regarding artefacts. Through this trip many of us came to conclusions about topics and issues that we hadn’t thought about before. This excursion is recommended to all people who have an interest in ancient history.” Sasha Oreshkin