Engineering Antiquity


THURSDAYS, 2:30-5:30 p.m., Spring 2024, in BELL 4193


Application Deadline: 11:59 p.m. Sunday, October 29. 

How did they do that?!? This is a very common reaction when touring what remains of the built environment of late antiquity and earlier. Monumental spaces and structures, clever mechanical and hydraulic works, and other artifacts capture our imagination, inspire awe, and marshal our respect for ancient engineers and craftsmen. However, in our awe and wonder, many times we miss a very important and central theme: the ancients were responding to demands in their societies that have not changed through the intervening centuries to present day. What can we learn from their solutions? What can we learn from the impacts – both positive and negative – their solutions had on their societies? In this course we will consider both how “they did that” and why “they did that” on the path of our ultimate quest: in terms of technological advancement, how do we balance “can we...”? against “should we...?”

Course Credit:

  • All students: 3 hours of honors credit
  • College of Engineering:
    • Upper-level honors requirement
    • Technical elective in biological, civil or industrial engineering
  • Fulbright College:
    • Natural Sciences Colloquium
    • Three hours of upper-level honors credit in History
  • Bumpers College:
    • Three hours of upper-level honors credit
  • COEHP:
    • Three hours of upper-level honors credit

About Kevin Hall:

Man teaches in class Kevin Hall, University Professor of Civil Engineering, joined the UA faculty in 1993 and currently serves as the Associate Dean for Academics in the College of Engineering. He teaches courses related to the design and construction of roads, professional ethics and skills development, the history of civil engineering technologies, and passionately promotes the fusion of engineering and the humanities. Dr. Hall is a member and past President of the University of Arkansas Teaching Academy, and has received Arkansas Alumni Association Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award(s) for research, teaching, and service. To date, he has led four study-abroad tours to Italy, exploring both ancient Roman and renaissance-era engineering feats and accomplishments.

For an even more in-depth description of "Engineering Antiquity," and a taste of what to expect from the course, watch Kevin Hall's preview lecture: