R-MC Thoburn Group


HONR 120: How did they do that? Chemistry and Art in the Ancient World


This course will chart the parallel developments in Chemistry and in Art/Archaeology in the Ancient World. Students will recreate the ancient techniques in the laboratory and rationalize the experiments with a modern, scientific understanding of the underlying chemistry.

Students will make fire, make charcoal sticks, smelt copper, mold and fire clays, glaze ceramics, manufacture glass, prepare pigments, mold plaster, press papyrus and paper, prepare inks, spin fibers, extract potash, dye fabrics, and paint frescoes.

Co-Requisite: Enrollment in History of Art I (ARTH 201) or Origins of Civilizations (ARTH 210) is required, or you must have taken one of these courses previously.


Students of this course chemistry will find links to course materials such as assignments, class notes, extra problems, spectroscopy tables, and old exams.

The links are to .pdf files that you can download and print. Some are password protected; the passwords will be issued in class.

HONR 120

How did they do that? Chemistry and Art in the Ancient World

happy mad scientist