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AHST 1112: Etruscan and Roman Art and Archaeology

Welcome AH 112

How to Use This Guide

This guide was designed to assist you in searching for print and online to support your AHST 1112 research paper. Please visit the library for help with your research.

For any research questions feel free to contact Brooke Duffy.

Starting Your Research:

Use the steps in the boxes below to refine your research topic before beginning. It will save you time!

Before you even begin your research, find your selected work of art on the Metropolitan Museum of Art website. It is important to have this in front of you so that you can use your formal analysis skills and the details provided in the museum's catalog record to formulate some research topics or questions.

Step 1: Formulating and Clarifying Your Research Topic

Think of the questions relating to your chosen work of art in the context of the research assignment requirements. Answers to these questions will help you describe the object and put it in its historical context.

Hint: Doing a thorough visual analysis of the art prior to this will help you generate questions. Also use details from the museum's information associated with the art to inform these questions.

Question Examples:

What interests you about the object? What do you notice?

Think: Who, What, When, Where, Medium, Subject, Composition/style

  • What is the subject (or subjects) of this work of art?   
  • What function did this object have?
  • Why was it made? (function)
  • Where? What era & place must I research? (historical context)
  • What medium did the artist use? (materials and form)
  • What distinguishes this artist’s style from others?

Step 2: Gathering Sources

You can use this guide to locate sources that will help answer your questions. 

Look at your research questions and decide what category each one falls into.


If I want to find out information about a Roman mythological figure, I would probably start with the subject matter and symbolism tab, and possibly also check the historical context tab afterwards.

If I want to learn about sculpting techniques or how a piece of jewelry was made, I would look under the style and function tab first. 

Also, use your research questions to isolate and brainstorm keywords that you can use to search online sources and look up in the index of print sources.

Common Misconceptions About This Assignment

  • I will find sources that refer directly to my work of art and / or artist. Not necessarily / probably not!
  • I will know what my paper thesis is when I begin researching. It's important to ask many questions about the artwork and seek answers to those questions through your research before refining your thesis.
  • I will be able to find all of my sources online. While this guide does include many valuable online sources, in the past, many students have found their best information in print books.

Class Example: Silver scyphus depicting Tiberius in triumph. Roman, 1st century CE

Silver scyphus depicting Tiberius in triumph. Roman, 1st century CE


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