Sunday, July 27, 2014

2014-15 lecture schedule

Our 2014-2015  event schedule is still in progress, so please "stay tuned" as we add more events. Here is what we have so far:

Saturday, October 4, 2014 at 11am: Gregory Aldrete, "Floods of the Tiber in Ancient Rome: The Eternal City Goes Under," in the Pillsbury Auditorium at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Saturday, October 18, 2014, International Archaeology Day lecture and student poster session 11am-2pm:Stephen Cribari lecture on "'Monuments Men (and Women):' Cultural Property in Conflict Today." 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, and highlight some of the major conflicts involving cultural property today. 11am in Hewitt Hall, Fine Arts Center, Macalester College.“Students in Archaeology: Poster Presentation of Recent Fieldwork and Research Projects Related to Archaeology, Repatriation, Preservation and Presentation” 4th annual poster presentation and open house with refreshments made possible by an AIA Outreach Grant. 12:00-2pm, Fine Arts Commons, Fine Arts Center, Macalester College.
++ call for posters to come in early September

Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 6pm: Greg Brick, “The Rediscovery of French Saltpeter Caves in Minnesota,” Hewitt Hall, Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center, Macalester College

Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015 at 6pm: Robert Blanchette, "Tombs, sunken ships and historic huts: studying ancient wood reveals secrets from the past," at Macalester College (space TBD)

Saturday, April 11, 2015 at 11am: Richard Buckley, "Richard III, The King Under the Car Park: the story of the search for the burial place of England’s last Plantagenet king," in the Pillsbury Auditorium at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Jimmy Schryver, on the Garden and Pool Complex at Petra, date TBD

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Eva von Dassow on “Making Myth in Mesopotamia: The Reign of Erra, God of War"

Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 6pm in the John B. Davis Lecture Hall in the Ruth Stricker Dayton Campus Center at Macalester College

Myth is often thought of as something primordial, transmitted but not created, as if it were part of a culture’s genome.  Actual myths were of course composed in historical time.  From ancient Mesopotamia myths survive together with historical context: we often know when a myth was written and what events gave rise to its composition.  In one case we even know who wrote it.  This one is the poem relating how Erra, god of war, seized the reins of cosmic power and so wrecked the world.  It was written in the late eighth century BCE by a Babylonian author who reports that he received it from the gods in a dream.  His poem, composed in response to the unremitting warfare that beset Babylonia during the expansion of Assyria’s empire, when the land of southern Iraq was riven by factions and overrun by foreign fighters, achieved notable popularity in its day.  Many exemplars and excerpts, some in the form of amulets, have been found at various sites in Iraq.

The present lecture will illustrate how the poet transmuted lived experience into myth, drawing upon and transforming his literary tradition to compose an apotheosis of war.  It will examine the historical background of the myth of Erra, the intellectual and material world in which it took shape, and how contemporary audiences received it.  Recognizing that violence could be forestalled by understanding it, knowing its course and its consequences, people took the poem as a prophylactic to ward off war.

About the speaker: Eva von Dassow is Associate Professor in the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Minnesota. Professor von Dassow teaches the history and languages of the ancient Near East. She is the author of State and Society in the Late Bronze Age: Alalaḫ under the Mittani Empire (2008), co-author of Cuneiform Texts in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, vol. III (2000), and editor of The Egyptian Book of the Dead: The Book of Going Forth by Day (1994; 1998), in addition to numerous articles. Professor has also participated in several collaborative projects including a theatrical production based on the Epic of Gilgamesh and archaeological excavations at Alalakh. Her recent research focuses on the conceptualization of citizenship and the constitution of publics in ancient Near Eastern polities, written records as artifacts of cultural practice and temporal process, and the nature of writing as an interface between reader and reality.

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

Monday, February 24, 2014

Annette Giesecke on “Roman Green: Ancient Roman Gardens and the Green Ideal”

Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 11am in the Pillsbury Auditorium at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Mention of ancient Roman gardens conjures images of lavish suburban estates with far-reaching views and outfitted with sprawling gardens containing specimen plantings from around the world, aviaries and fishponds, pergolas for outdoor dining, and sculpture-lined swimming pools such as those described by the younger Pliny in his letters or evidenced by the remains of Hadrian’s villa at Tivoli. Such gardens would influence Byzantine, Islamic, and monastic gardens as well as gardens of Renaissance Europe; they would resonate in gardens from the seventeenth century onwards, their underlying presence felt to the present day. 

These Roman estates and their gardens are generally viewed as resulting directly from a desire to emulate the palaces of Hellenistic nobles, experienced first-hand by Romans when they became masters of the Mediterranean in the second century BCE. It is said, in turn, that Romans of lesser means replaced kitchen gardens with decorative plantings and, in the absence of space for planting, even covered their walls with garden murals, all out of a desire to live as luxuriously as the elite. This, however, is just part of the picture; fashionability is hardly enough to explain the extent and longevity of the garden movement in the Roman world. 

This lecture addresses the origins and underlying principles of the Roman Green Movement as manifested in Roman domestic gardens of the mid second century BCE and thereafter. The movement had its origins at a most volatile point in Roman history, a time ripe for utopian reverie.  It was a time when citizens worried deeply about the effects of Roman conquests and of extravagant building efforts on an increasingly depleted Earth—and when it appeared most desirable to “return” to simpler times, to the imagined comforts of a hallowed agricultural past idealized by tradition. 
Combining a full range of paradisiacal associations, sacred and profane, Roman domestic gardens and their painted counterparts came to express an ideal of living harmoniously with nature.

Annette Giesecke is with the University of Delaware, and holds her degrees from Harvard (Ph.D.) and UCLA; her research interests include gardens in the Classical world, Greek and Roman art and architecture, and urbanism and ethics of land use in classical antiquity.  Her most recent publications include The Epic City: Urbanism, Utopia, and the Garden in Ancient Greece and Rome (Harvard University Press, 2007) and EARTH PERFECT? Nature, Utopia, and the Garden (contrib. and ed., Black Dog Publishing, London 2012). Forthcoming books include The Mythology of Plants: Botanical Myths from Ancient Greece and Rome (Getty Publications, 2014) and The Good Gardener? Nature, Humanity and the Garden, editor and contributor (Black Dog Publishing, 2014).

A no-host lunch open to AIA members with the speaker will follow the lecture at Christos Greek Restaurant, 2632 Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis

Friday, January 31, 2014

Joshua Feinberg on “Magnetic Applications to Archaeological Studies”

Thursday, February 6, 2014 at 6pm, in the John B. Davis Lecture Hall in the Ruth Stricker Dayton Campus Center at Macalester College.

A few of the 1400 obsidian artifacts collected from a Middle Palaeolithic cave site in Armenia.  Magnetic measurements of the artifacts help determine where the obsidian was collected, and allow researchers to address questions about how early humans procured material for tool production
Look closely at any archaeological material and you will find trace amounts of magnetic minerals. Whether your passion is in ceramics, metals, glassware, obsidians, or cherts, the magnetic properties of such artifacts and the materials in which they are found often retain valuable, quantifiable information about an artifact's original age, as well as the age of the deposit in which it was discovered. This talk will share several recent efforts at the University of Minnesota where magnetic methods were used to provide information about the age of archaeological features or the origin of archaeological artifacts. Projects to be discussed will include obsidian research in Syria and the American Southwest, archaeomagnetic dating of ceramics in Israel and Syria, metallurgical slag from Cyprus and Israel, Clovis sites in Texas, and footprints preserved in volcanic ash in Mexico.

 About the speaker: Joshua Feinberg is Professor of Geophysics in the Department of Earth Sciences and Associate Director of the Institute for Rock Magnetism at the University of Minnesota. His research uses a combination of geophysical approaches (e.g., rock magnetism, paleomagnetism, gravity), material characterization techniques (e.g., scanning and transmission electron microscopy, scanning force microscopy, X-ray diffraction), and field geology methods to critically examine a broad range of scientific problems. These tools enable my group to collaborate with specialists from a variety of disciplines, including the geosciences, anthropology, soil science, planetary geology, material sciences, physics, chemistry, and biology. Our research aims to understand the fine details of processes that operate on global, tectonic, outcrop, and nanometer scales.

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

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Nassos Papalexandrou on "Our Presidents’ Gifts: The Role of Greek Antiquities in Greek-U.S. Political Relationships after WWII"

Saturday, January 18, 2014 at 11am in the Pillsbury Auditorium at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

Diplomatic gift-giving in the early years of the Eisenhower administrations (©Eisenhower Museum, Kansas)

Political gift exchange implicates givers, receivers, and objects in a semantically complex relationship. In the late 1940s the U.S. involvement in Greece ushered in a new, unprecedented role for Greek antiquities as state gifts to American presidents or to high ranking officials in their administrations or in the US political life.  Scattered in presidential museums and collections, these spectacular objects have largely escaped scholarly attention. My project seeks to assess the character of these antiquities and why they were chosen as diplomatic gifts. All of them were carefully chosen by Greek governments to epitomize a conception of ancient Greece as the political and cultural paragon of the West during the Cold War period. This message was communicated in well-staged ceremonies that resonated with the main political actors, the press, and diverse publics such as the Greek-American community. My lecture covers in detail these unpublished antiquities, their qualities as ancient artifacts, the rich symbolic connotations they carried at the moment of their presentation, and their reception by all those who experienced them as diplomatic gifts.

Nassos Papalexandrou is with the University of Texas at Austin, and holds his degrees from the University of Athens and Princeton University (Ph.D.).  His areas of specialization are the ritual dimensions of Early Greek figurative art and archaeology, Orientalizing phenomena, and the archaeology of Cyprus; he has done field work in Athens, Crete, Naxos, and multiple sites on Cyprus. His first book, The Visual Poetics of Power: Warriors, Youths, and Tripods in Early Greece, was published in 2005. He is currently working on a second book that explores the role of monsters in the arts and rituals of Early Greece. A second project focuses on an exhibit that will showcase antiquities exchanged as diplomatic gifts between Greece and the USA after WWII. He is currently involved in two projects that have to do with the archaeology of ancient Italy. One focuses on the tranlsation/reception of the Greek tripod cauldron in Magna Graecia and Sicily in the Geometric, Archaic, and Classical periods. The other has to do with the importation and emulation of griffin cauldrons from the Aegean to Italy, especially Etruria, in the Archaic period.

A no-host lunch open to AIA members with the speaker will follow the lecture at Christos Greek Restaurant, 2632 Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Guy Gibbon on “How Should Archaeologists Study the Past? A Minnesota Example”

Thursday, November 21, 2013 at 6pm  in the John B. Davis Lecture Hall in the Ruth Stricker Dayton Campus Center at Macalester College

A common misconception among nonprofessionals interested in archaeology is that archaeology is archaeology is archaeology – that is, that all archaeologists do the same things for the same reasons. Using arguments in his two most recent books, Archaeology of Minnesota: The Prehistory of the Upper Mississippi River Region (2012) and Critically Reading the Theory and Methods of Archaeology: An Introductory Guide (2013), Professor Gibbon (now emeritus) will discuss different ways in which archaeologists approach the study of the past and how the selection of one or another approach results in a quite different reading of the past. The majority of illustrations trace changing Native American lifeways in Minnesota before historic contact from the perspective of an approach called processual archaeology.

Guy Gibbon, professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of Minnesota,  reconstructs the social, economic, and political systems—the lifeways—of those who inhabited what we now call Minnesota for thousands of years before the first contact between native peoples and Europeans. Gibbon shows how the study of Minnesota archaeology is relevant to a broader understanding of long-term patterns of change in human development throughout the world. Gibbon is the author or editor of several books, including Archaeology of Minnesota: The Prehistory of the Upper Mississippi River Region (2012) and Critically Reading the Theory and Methods of Archaeology: An Introductory Guide (2013).

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

Parking and venue information is below and please also note that it is fine to park in Macalester lots for this event.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Donald Ryan on "Beneath the Sands of Egypt: An archaeologist explores the Valley of the Kings"

Saturday, October 19, 2013 at 11am (National Archaeology Day), in the Pillsbury Auditorium at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

After nearly two hundred years of exploration, and over 90 years since the finding of the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922, the Valley of the Kings continues to produce new discoveries and insights.  In this lecture, archaeologist/Egyptologist Donald P. Ryan will share some of the many fascinating surprises he has uncovered while investigating some of the lesser-known tombs in the ancient royal cemetery.  These include the rediscovery of a tomb in which the recently-identified mummy of the female pharaoh Hatshepsut was found, and indications that a surprising number and variety of individuals were buried amidst the pharaohs in the Valley.

Donald Ryan is with Pacific Lutheran University, and holds his degrees from the University of Washington and Union Institute (Ph.D.).  His areas of specialization are Egyptian archaeology, the history of archaeology, the history of languages and scripts, the archaeology of Polynesia, and the history of exploration.  He has done extensive fieldwork in the Valley of the Kings, and co-directed (with Thor Heyerdahl) excavation at the Piramides de Guimar on the Canary Islands. He is the author of several books and numerous articles on archaeological subjects. More information can be found on the speaker's website:    

A no-host lunch open to AIA members with the speaker will follow the lecture at Christos Greek Restaurant, 2632 Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis