Materials in Human Experience

A image of an as-cast, that looks like a snake skin.

An as-cast specimen of Silver-Copper Alloy, scale bar = 1/200 cm. (Image courtesy of Prof. Heather Lechtman.)


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

Spring 2004



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Course Description

Course Highlights

This course features a detailed laboratory manual with specimen images  and a thorough list of necessary supplies in the tools section.

Course Description

This course examines the ways in which people in ancient and contemporary societies have selected, evaluated, and used materials of nature, transforming them to objects of material culture. Some examples are: glass in ancient Egypt and Rome; sounds and colors of powerful metals in Mesoamerica; cloth and fiber technologies in the Inca empire. It also explores ideological and aesthetic criteria often influential in materials development. Laboratory/workshop sessions provide hands-on experience with materials discussed in class. This course complements 3.091.

Related Content

Heather Lechtman. 3.094 Materials in Human Experience. Spring 2004. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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