Upper Canada College Grade 9 Latin students will create and bury artifacts over the next three months as an experiential way to make the language come alive.
UCC head of Latin Catharine Erb is introducing an interactive archaeological element to her course, while also collaborating with her Branksome Hall counterpart Theresa Fuller.
“It’s such a great project to think outside the box for teaching Latin and doing something with a girls’ school,” says Erb. “I think it’s a great way for the kids to realize who else is learning Latin, and it’s an interactive hands-on experience rather than always doing the culture work in the classroom.”
Grade 9 students learn Latin in the context of reading stories and learning about the culture of ancient Pompeii as part of the culture component for the course assessment. For this project, eight groups of students will each be assigned a site in Pompeii. Individual students will research and create a model of an object or inscription that would have existed within that site, and each group’s objects will be placed in a box.
Students from both schools will gather at Branksome to bury the boxes at the end of April. Groups will then dig up another group’s box and complete a report about the objects they find and the site they’re discovering.
Erb hopes the students will gain “an appreciation for the historical significance of found objects, inscriptions and writing from the ancient world and what they teach us about ancient civilizations, including their connection with our own culture and the evolution of technology, writing and objects used in our daily lives.”
The project got underway on Jan. 30 with an introductory lunchtime session at UCC led by Nikolas Drosos, the husband of Upper School teacher Vesna Krstich.
“He got an archaeological degree in Greece and now he has a PhD in art history,” says Erb.
“He knows ancient Greek and Latin and did digging in his undergrad, so he’ll be able to inform the students through interactive discussion about all kinds of questions regarding finding objects and inscriptions and then learning about these ancient worlds through found objects.”