Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Robert Blanchette on "Tombs, sunken ships and historic huts: studying ancient wood reveals secrets from the past"

Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015 at 6pm in the John B. Davis Lecture Hall in the Ruth Stricker Dayton Campus Center at Macalester College

Wood from archaeological and historic sites holds great potential for providing information from the past. It is important for precise dating of sites, determining the origin of objects and learning more about how cultural materials were utilized in the past. Archaeological wood, however, is rarely found free of deterioration and of great concern is the preservation of these historically significant wooden objects and structures.  This presentation will discuss investigations at some of the world’s most important heritage sites to better understand the wooden cultural resources found, elucidate the current condition of the wood and identify degradation processes that have taken place so that appropriate methods of preservation can be developed. Examples will include information on the wooden structures and ancient furniture from the ‘King Midas’ tomb in Turkey, ancient Egyptian wood, the expedition huts built by early explorers of Antarctica Ernest Shackleton and Robert Scott, and sunken ships including the ‘Manhattan ship’ found during excavations at ground zero in New York City.

Location and parking information can be found here (#29 on the map)

furniture from the "Midas Tomb" at Gordion, Turkey

About the Speaker: Robert A. Blanchette is a Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology at the University of Minnesota. His major interests are in the area of forest pathology and wood microbiology with research in tree defense mechanisms, deterioration processes of wood, biotechnological uses of forest fungi, biological control of forest pathogens, and the conservation of archaeological wood and wood of historic value. Projects involve novel, interdisciplinary approaches to solving tree disease problems and understanding the biology and ecology of forest microbes. 

Professor Blanchette has received numerous honors and published on a wide range of topics. More about his work is here.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Joan Breton Connelly on "Tombs and Temples: Death, War and Remembrance on the Athenian Acropolis"

Friday, December 5, 2014 at 6pm in the O'Shaughnessy Educational Center Auditorium,      University of St. Thomas

War, tombs, and temples formed a network of remembrance through which Greeks understood the local genealogies, myths, and histories from which they descended. Art and war were tightly interwoven, sanctuaries teeming with captured arms and armor and adorned with sculptured images telling tales of Greek victories. As at other Panhellenic sanctuaries, Athenians believed that tombs of their ancestors rested beneath local temples: Erechtheion and Parthenon. That the legendary King Erechtheus and his daughters were commemorated for giving their lives to save Athens set an example for later generations called to make the ultimate sacrifice for the greater good. Stretches of cable from Xerxes’s bridge over the Hellespont, the sword of the Persian general Mardonios, and the breastplate of Persian cavalry commander Masistios were displayed on the Acropolis. These, along with the martial images adorning the temples, played a critical role in paideia, the education of the young for the all-consuming cycle of war, death, and remembrance that awaited them.

Location & parking information can be found here
Please note that there will not be a members' meal with the speaker following this event.

About the speaker: Joan Breton Connelly is a classical archaeologist and Professor of Classics and Art History at New York University. Dr. Connelly’s scholarship focuses on Greek art, myth, and religion, and includes a groundbreaking reinterpretation of the Parthenon Frieze. A cultural historian, she has examined topics ranging from female agency, to ritual space, landscape, life cycles, identity, reception, and complexity.

A field archaeologist, Connelly has worked at Corinth, Athens, and Nemea in Greece, at Paphos, Kourion, and Ancient Marion in Cyprus, and on the island of Failaka off the coast of Kuwait. Since 1990, she has directed the Yeronisos Island Excavation and Field School just off western Cyprus. Here, she has pioneered eco-archaeology, undertaking floral and faunal surveys, annual bird counts, and establishing guidelines sensitive to the ways in which archaeological intervention impacts the natural environment.[12] Her fieldwork has focused on cross-cultural exchange in the Hellenized East during the centuries following the death of Alexander the Great.She is Director of the Yeronisos Island Excavations and Field School in Cyprus. Connelly was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 1996. She received the Archaeological Institute of America Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2007 and held the Lillian Vernon Chair for Teaching Excellence at New York University from 2002-2004. Some of her publications include:
The Parthenon Enigma. Alfred A. Knopf. 2014
Portrait of a Priestess: Women and Ritual in Ancient Greece. Princeton University Press. 2007.
Votive Sculpture of Hellenistic Cyprus. New York. NYU Press. 1988.
Parthenon and Parthenoi: A Mythological Interpretation of the Parthenon Frieze. AJA, 100. 1996. 53-80.
Narrative and Image in Attic Vase Painting: Ajax and Kassandra at the Trojan Palladion, ed. Peter Holiday. Narrative and Event in Ancient Art. Cambridge. 1993. 88-129.
Votive Offerings of Hellenistic Failaka: Evidence for Herakles Cult. L'Arabie Preislamique et son Environnement Historique et Culturel, Universit des Sciences Humaine de Strasbourg. Leiden. 1989. 145-158.
Hellenistic Alexandria, Chapter 10, and Terracottas of Cyprus and Kuwait, Chapter 11, in The Coroplast's Art: Terracottas of the Hellenistic World, ed. J. Uhlenbrock. New Rochelle. 1990. 89-107.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Greg Brick on “The Rediscovery of French Saltpeter Caves in Minnesota”

--> --> Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 6pm in Hewitt Hall, Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center, Macalester College

Dr. Greg Brick, Metro State University, will describe the 2004 rediscovery of saltpeter caves along the Minnesota shore of Lake Pepin. The caves were originally described by French fur-trader Pierre-Charles Le Sueur in 1700 and lost sight of for more than three centuries. Saltpeter was the most important constituent in the manufacture of gunpowder and was often obtained from cave sediments. The Minnesota reference in Le Sueur’s Journal is the earliest mention of cave saltpeter in the Americas. The cave saltpeter business reached its peak during the American Civil War, when caves in the Deep South, worked by slave labor, supplied the desperate Confederate armies with this vital raw material.

About the speaker: Greg Brick Ph.D. teaches environmental science at Metropolitan State University and was employed as a hydrogeologist at several environmental consulting firms. His first book, Iowa Underground: A Guide to the State’s Subterranean Treasures, was published in 2004. His latest book, Subterranean Twin Cities, published by the University of Minnesota Press in 2009, won an award from the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects. His doctoral research on fur-trade era saltpeter caves in Minnesota is the subject of today’s presentation.

*Please note that this event is building #22 here and parking is available in the lot to the west

A no-host dinner with the speaker will follow the lecture at Pad Thai Grand, 1681 Grand Avenue, St. Paul

Saturday, October 4, 2014

International Archaeology Day Lecture & Student Poster Party!

Saturday, October 18, 2014, 11am-2pm in Hewitt Hall and Fine Arts Commons, in the Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center at Macalester College* 

Join us to celebrate International Archaeology Day with a lecture followed by a student poster session/party with refreshments:

11am in Hewitt Hall: Stephen Cribari** lecture on "'Monuments Men (and Women):' Cultural Property in Conflict Today." 

Today we are seeing how waves of nationalism can lead to the destruction of cultural heritage and cultural property when they are associated with memories of an undesired past, or fears of an undesirable future, and yet museums are under great pressure not to acquire art and antiquities with questionable histories of ownership even though it may mean the destruction of cultural heritage and cultural treasures.  U of M Law Professor Stephen Cribari will discuss humankind's tradition of cultural property depredation and consider how cultural property is (or is not) protected from destruction by fear, greed for power and the perils of the black market.

12-2pm in Fine Arts Commons: “Students in Archaeology: Poster Presentation of Recent Fieldwork and Research Projects Related to Archaeology, Repatriation, Preservation and Presentation” 

Our 4th annual poster poster presentation and party brings together students and professionals from many Minnesota institutions and is a great opportunity to visit and learn about the vibrant student involvement with archaeological fieldwork and research projects. Please join us for great conversation and light refreshments made possible by an AIA Outreach Grant.

*Please note that both events are in the same conjoined building, #19/22 here and parking is available in the lot to the west

**About the speaker: Professor Stephen J. Cribari is a former Federal Public Defender and professor of Canon Law who currently teaches criminal procedure, law and cultural property, evidence, physical evidence/expert testimony, and criminal law at the University of Minnesota. He is also the co-director of the University of Notre Dame Law School's Summer London Programme and, in 2012, served as Interim Director of the London Law Programme and visiting professor, teaching criminal procedure, evidence and law and cultural heritage. With Adjunct Professor Barbara Wold, he designed and taught Law and Cultural Property for the University of Arkansas (Fayetteville) School of Law. The program meets in Arkansas and Rome, Italy. More information about Professor Cribari’s wide and varied accomplishments are listed here: