I signed up for this class because the course description sounded interesting.  Using hands-on experiments to learn about ancient cultures intrigued me.  The first 4 weeks of class met my expectations.  We learned how ancients made fire, buildings, and pottery.  Not only did we learn how these things were done, but we were given the opportunity to experiment with ancient methods as well.  Most of the time our efforts failed, but in this way we were able to deal with the same frustrations ancient peoples must have.

Creating fire was the first activity we attempted.  Using a dowel and a board along with some basic tools we attempted to create fire.  Quickly we implemented the use of a small board to act as a resting place for the top of the dowel as it contacted the board instead of purely using hands.  This idea probably came from our knowledge of future fire-making methods such as the bow, but it showed an ability for problem solving and innovation that was used by the ancients to develop fire-making techniques.

The second activity we did was the creation of mud bricks.  This was a fun activity that required group effort and participation just to generate a few mud bricks.  Though stomping in the mud was fun, it did require a lot of effort, and to today’s standards was a very slow process.  Even after the bricks are made they need a long period of drying.  Things in this activity went pretty much as planned, but it made the large amount of effort required to create large structures as the ancients did clear.  One novel thing we did to add a USC touch was we stamped each brick with a “USC”.

The third activity was pottery.  This activity was familiar to most of us, having modeled clay as children.  Yet to make clay into real, useful items required much effort, skill, and time.  Making jars was a very laborious process, so only a few were completed.  Without modern technology, everything moved at a much slower pace.

-Matt Woo