Saturday, February 21, 2015

Jimmy Schryver on "The Petra Garden and Pool Complex"

Thursday, March 26, 2015 at 6pm in the John B. Davis Lecture Hall in the    Ruth Stricker Dayton Campus Center at Macalester College

Petra, the capital of ancient kingdom of Nabataea during the 2nd century BCE - early 2nd century CE, is located in southern Jordan, approximately 80 kilometers south of the Dead Sea.  During this time, the Nabataeans used their well-known ability to harness the scarce water resources of the local desert and in some cases, make this desert bloom.  In more recent times, it has been named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.  The Petra Garden and Pool Complex (PGPC) is a major monument in the heart of Petra that has only recently come to light.  As the only known example of a Nabataean garden, and one of very few excavated ancient gardens in the Middle East, the PGPC offers a rare opportunity to explore Nabataean garden traditions within the context of the Hellenistic-Roman Near East.  As such, it is making a significant impact on our understanding of the city center, much of which is turning out to be markedly different in appearance and function than what was imagined by previous scholars. 

Visual reconstruction of the Petra Garden and Pool Complex (Chrys Kanellopoulos)

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

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

About the Speaker: James G. Schryver, Ph.D. (2005) in Medieval Studies, Cornell University, is Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Minnesota, Morris. His own work and publications on the medieval Mediterranean world focus on the archaeology of Frankish Cyprus. Professor has received many honors and awards and authored numerous articles and book chapters, including editing the volume Studies in the Archaeology of the Medieval Mediterranean, Brill Press (September, 2010). His Curriculum Vitae can be found here.

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.