Group Project

Monumental Structures and the Ancient World


When considering ancient civilizations of the Indus Valley, Egypt, China or Rome – or any major civilization, for the matter – one thing inevitably stands out: the presence of monumental architecture. The specific purpose may vary, but the value of studying these monumental structures lies in what they tell us about the culture in question.

The following videos will provide interesting insights into monumental architecture and the society building the structures. Note: not required to be used, but will definitely help shape your essay.

1. Visualizing Imperial Rome

2. Ancient Egypt

3. Ancient China

Here are some additional websites that will help focus your attention on monumental sculptures and architecture of the ancient world:

  1. Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
  2. Secrets of the Colosseum
  3. Horrors of the Roman Games
  4. Roman Gladiator
  5. Ancient Egyptian Architecture
  6. Ancient Egyptian Monuments
  7. Social Structure in Ancient Egypt
  8. Ancient Chinese Architecture
  9. Chinese Architecture (scroll down to The Qin and Han Dynasties)
  10. The Mandate of Heaven
  11. Emperor Qin’s Tomb

The Assignment

You’ll notice that we’re looking at three ancient civilizations, all markedly different in their social structures and culture, and all unique in the use of monumental sculpture and architecture. In constructing your essay, divide the group to split the material each has to cover. You can choose how you want to divvy up the material, but for the groundwork I’d suggest that you divide it along territorial lines.

Here is the topic to be addressed in essay form:

Part 1:

Using the text and the websites for the assigned civilizations, draft a collaborative essay of at least 500 words the following questions:

What does the building of monumental sculptures and architecture tell us about the difference between the common people and elites? How did rulers use religion (including the building of monuments) to support their position and status?

Use specific examples in the essay to make your point(s). Be sure to draw on the expansion of the civilization, not just its origins.

Part 2:

Once the essays have been submitted, your group will peer review another group’s essay – I’ll let you know which group you are to review. This is NOT about critiquing their essay, but creating a dialogue. Imagine you were having a compare/contrast meeting and the subject was ancient civilizations. Not likely, I know, but you get the idea!




Thank You.

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