About the ACRC

About the ACRC

The Ancient Cultures Research Centre amalgamates two long-standing and internationally recognised centres, the Australian Centre for Egyptology (ACE) and the Ancient History Documentary Research Centre (AHDRC). It incorporates those centres' foci on archaeological fieldwork in Egypt and the close study of the documentary evidence for the ancient Graeco-Roman and early Judeo-Christian world, as well as providing a forum for the development of new collaborative research ventures, a broadening of the historical scope to include all ancient civilisations from Europe to China, and new techniques for the analysis of ancient texts and artefacts. 

The ACRC draws its membership from the Department of Ancient History, the Department of International Studies, and the Department Of Environment And Geography- Environmental Sciences. It spans the Faculties of Arts and Science, and allows for truly interdisciplinary approaches to the ancient world.

The research aim of the ACRC is the study of transcultural forces across ancient Eurasian societies, through the material and cultural study of artefacts created for communication, whether written or visual. The work of the Centre concentrates on two methodological and interpretative approaches. The Text as Artefact examines the way in which texts are themselves cultural artefacts that tell stories about their producers and users; Art, Architecture, and the Artisan combines archaeological expertise with scientific techniques to better understand the cultural contacts and ideologies that lie behind the creation of the visual record. 

The unique collocation of expertise in the ACRC supports cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary research across Egyptian society (from the third millennium BCE) through Greek, Roman, and Byzantine culture, west to the foundations of medieval Europe and east along the Silk Road to China. Projects concentrate on times and places in which different cultural groups interacted closely - such as Graeco-Roman Egypt and the Late Antique / early Medieval Silk Road. Intercultural studies of this kind fall outside the scope of single disciplines and the restricted research foci of most Ancient History departments, but are made possible by the range of expertise and specialties in the MQACRC.

The primary research goal of the ACRC is to elucidate the mechanisms by which cultural evolution occurred in the ancient world by forming cross-disciplinary teams to investigate cross-cultural interactions. The methodological focus is on the direct examination and analysis of the ancient record itself - texts (inscriptions, papyri, and manuscripts), art, architecture, artefacts (especially ceramics), and coins - in conjunction with the development and application of new geophysical and geochemical techniques to analyze the remains of ancient cultures.

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