Experiment 6: Understanding Ancient History and Sequence

Learning Goals and Grading Criteria:

Student will be able to:

  1. Accurately sequence four historical events, ideas, people, or objects in a Knight Timeline.

  2. Appropriately cite four separate articles from our weekly readings in the Chicago Manual of Style format in the timeline

  3. Place one image from the a museum, with the appropriate citation, in their timeline.

  4. Write one paragraph explaining the theme or idea connecting the four objects in your timeline.

1. Background information.

There are fundamental skills that historians must be able to do, such as sequence events (a then b then c) and cite where we found our information.

Sequencing: Sequencing events within a chronology is often more important than exact dating. For example, we need to know that the Roman Republic predated the Roman Empire and that the Han Empire and the Roman Empire both last 400 years, but the Roman empire ended in the 5th century, around 200 years after the fall of the Han empire. Anyone from a big family understands the importance of sequence, as we rarely note exact ages, but always reference sibling sequence. By way of example, a family I grew up with was Becky, Bobby, Matthew, Michael, Joey, Tommy, Dany, Katie, David. I have no idea what their birth dates are, but I know the sequence, which gives me a great deal of information to compare their lives. This works in legal cases as well: we use dates primarily to determine sequence (first Mr. Plum shot her in the rectory, then he ate the pudding).

Citation: We cite others words for a couple reasons. One, citations demonstrate intellectual honesty and integrity in our historical arguments. Any fool can lie with a selected presentation of evidence, as our study of SIFT shows. Citing others words, pictures, and ideas demonstrates we are making an honest attempt to explain our work, the same as showing your work when solving math equations.

More importantly, using citations is a radical, participatory practice in which newcomers to a field claim their place within that field. By citing, you are saying, “my voice matters in this larger discussion and I am confident enough in my arguments to acknowledge others who are more expert than I am.” By citing others you are declaring that you belong in college as part of our collective historical explanation of the past. Imagine stepping into a conversation amongst Aristotle, Cleopatra, and Chandragupta I, giants of history, and adding your thoughts to the conversation: that is the power of citation.

On technology: For this assignment, there are many working parts of websites. Once you have done it, it will appear easy. When you start, it will appear complex. I call this the shoelace phenomena. Learning to tie your shoelaces requires an understanding of physics, anatomy, and physiology and frustrates most children. Once you know how to do it, you discount all the effort it took to learn. Hang in there- you can do it.

2. Assignment basics.

For this assignment your are to:

  1. Choose four events, people, ideas, or objects that have dates associated with them. They can be exact dates, such as 44 BCE, or date spreads, such as 320–600 CE from our readings for this week.

  2. Place those dates and the events, peoples, ideas, or objects in a Knight Timeline. Please follow instructions carefully, both mine and the Knight Timeline.

  3. Note: the Knight Timeline is an industry-standard tool designed for professional journalists who do not code. You will see it in profession museum presentations and on newspaper websites.

  4. Cite your chosen articles, by clicking on “cite.”

Instructions for how to create a timeline are on the Assignments page.

Below you’ll find the steps for the entire assignment, but not the technical details for using the Knight Timeline.

Assignment basics.
Assignment basics.

3. Chose “Chicago 17th Edition”

Then click “select” and copy the text to your clipboard.

Chose "Chicago 17th Edition"
Chose "Chicago 17th Edition"

4. Post your citation into the “Text” box, after the name of the event, person, object, or idea.

Post your citation into the "Text" box, after the name of the event, person, object, or idea.
Post your citation into the "Text" box, after the name of the event, person, object, or idea.

5. Find an art image from a credible website that illustrates what your four items have in common.

You can use the Met Museum or any other credible museum.

Find the permanent image URL of your object by right clicking (or control click for Macs) and copy the image address. I’m using Chrome in this example. Your URL needs to end in .jpg or .png. For example: https://images.metmuseum.org/CRDImages/as/original/DP701409.jpg.