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The Program in Early Cultures (until recently called the Program in Ancient Studies) was founded in the late 1970s, when faculty in various academic units sought new ways to foster collaboration and promote the study of ancient civilizations among Brown’s students. It is a Program of rich collaboration, critical exploration, and truly interdisciplinary scholarship that seeks to bring together all those at Brown (faculty, graduate students, undergraduates, and staff) who are interested in the cultures, religions, and histories of ancient civilizations.

Geographically, the “ancient world” represented at Brown comprises early China and India, West Asia (Mesopotamia, Iran, Anatolia, and Israel), Egypt, the Mediterranean (especially Greece and Italy), the early Islamic and Byzantine worlds as well as the Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican civilizations.

The faculty involved in Early Cultures number close to forty, and the academic units involved include the departments of Anthropology, Classics, Comparative Literature, Egyptology and Assyriology, History, History of Art and Architecture, Philosophy, and Religious Studies, the Program in Judaic Studies, and the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World.