Upcoming Lecture: To Shake or Not to Shake: An New Interpretation of a Devastated Foreign Landscape Depicted at Luxor Temple

To Shake or Not to Shake: An New Interpretation of a Devastated Foreign Landscape Depicted at Luxor Temple
Speaker: Danielle Phelps, University of Arizona
February 25, 2016, 6pm
Pueblo Grande Museum

On the exterior western wall of Luxor Temple is a carved battle scene amongst the scenes that are depictions from Syria, dating to the time of Ramesses II (ca. 1291 to 1213 BCE). The scene portrays only a collapsing migdol (a type of Syrian settlement structure) and its associated vineyards and gardens, which appear broken and uprooted. There are no human or animal figures nor any hieroglyphs which would provide more information about why the ancient Egyptians would depict this type of scene. This presentation will examine the art historical significance of the devastated landscape and propose that the scene depicts the remains of a natural disaster, an earthquake, which the ancient Egyptians came upon during their military campaigns, whereupon they declared an Egyptian victory over the already ruined landscape.

Danielle Phelps is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Anthropology at the University of Arizona. Her dissertation topic focuses on applying anthropological theory to ancient Egyptian mortuary practices. She received her M.A. in Art History with an emphasis on Ancient Egyptian Art and Archaeology from the University of Memphis in 2009. She has over eight years of excavation experience in Egypt and has been on several different excavations in Mexico, Italy, and the American Southwest. Her interests include the application of Geographic Information Studies (GIS) analyses to archaeological issues, bioarchaeological investigations, mortuary rituals and practices, and how all of these techniques and methods can be applied to the study of ancient Egypt.

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Upcoming Lecture: Masters of Prophecy: Religion, Identity, and the Fate of the Etruscans in the Context of Roman Italy

Masters of Prophecy: Religion, Identity, and the Fate of the Etruscans in the Context of Roman Italy
Speaker: Dr. Daniele F. Maras, Pontificia Accademia Romana di Archeologia, Rome, Italy
January 21, 2016, 6:00 PM
ASU West Campus, Kiva Hall

The so-called mystery of the Etruscans rests on three major issues attached to their perception by ancient authors and the modern public: their inscrutable origins, their unparalleled language, and their peculiar religion. While the first two issues have interested especially ancient Greek sources and modern scholars, the features of Etruscan religious practices are a recurring motif of Latin literature. In fact, in the Roman world, the Etruscans enjoyed a long-lasting fame as clever seers, especially regarding their ability as haruspices, priests able to read future events within the entrails of sacrifice victims.

In the last centuries of paganism the so-called ‘Etruscan’ haruspices were among the most vigorous opponents of new religions, as in the case of early Christianity. This caused a reaction on the part of the Fathers of Church, who blamed Etruscan superstition, with special regard to divination. Thus, the last remains of independent Etruscan culture were eventually destined to vanish.

Dr. Daniele Maras holds his degrees from “La Sapienza” University of Rome, and specializes in Classical archaeology, Etruscology, Classical religion and mythology, Latin and Pre-Roman epigraphy, and ancient art history.  He has received various awards for his work, including being named a Corresponding Member of the Pontificia Accademia Romana di Archeologia and Member of the Società Italiana di Storia delle Religioni.  He has numerous works in preparation, and most recent publications include Numbers & Reckoning: A Whole Civilization founded upon Divisions” in The Etruscan World (J. MacIntosh Turfa ed., 2013).  Dr. Maras is an AIA Kress Lecturer for 2015/2016.

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Upcoming Lecture: Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World

Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World
Speaker: Dr. Kenneth Lapatin, Associate Curator of Antiquities, J. Paul Getty Museum
December 3, 2015, 6:00 PM
Benedictine University, Community Room, Main Campus Building

During the Hellenistic period, from the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C. until the establishment of the Roman Empire in 31 B.C., the medium of bronze drove artistic innovation. Sculptors moved beyond Classical norms, supplementing traditional subjects and idealized forms with realistic renderings of physical and emotional states. Bronze—surpassing marble with its tensile strength, reflective effects, and ability to hold fine detail—was employed for dynamic compositions, dazzling displays of the nude body, and graphic expressions of age and character.

Cast from alloys of copper, tin, lead, and other elements, bronze statues were produced in the thousands: honorific portraits of rulers and citizens populated city squares, and images of gods, heroes, and mortals crowded sanctuaries. Few, however, survive. This lecture, based on an exhibition of such material currently on display at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California, explores the creation, context, and rediscovery of works of bronze from Hellenistic Greece.

Kenneth Lapatin is Associate Curator of Antiquities with the J. Paul Getty Museum. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley (Ph.D.), and his areas of specialization are ancient Mediterranean art and archaeology, historiography, forgery, reception, and luxury arts. He has conducted fieldwork in Caesaria Martima (Israel), Rome, and Corinth, and his main publications include “Chryselephantine Statuary in the Ancient Mediterranean World”, and “Mysteries of the Snake Goddess: Art, Desire, and the Forging of History”. Dr. Lapatin is the AIA’s 2009/2010 Joukowsky Lecturer.

For a printable PDF flyer for this lecture, click here: Lapatin Flyer

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Lapatin Bronze

Upcoming Lecture: Ten Amazing Things about the Unusual Ancient City of Teotihuacan, Mexico

Ten Amazing Things about the Unusual Ancient City of Teotihuacan, Mexico
Speaker: Dr. Dr. Michael E. Smith, Arizona State University
October 22, 2015, 6pm
Pueblo Grande Museum, Community Room

Teotihuacan was the second largest city in the ancient New World, and today it is the most heavily visited archaeological site in Mexico. The grid-plan layout of Teotihuacan makes the city look normal and familiar to modern eyes. Yet decades of fieldwork lead to a single conclusion: Teotihuacan was one of the strangest cities of the ancient world. Teotihuacan lacks a royal palace, one of the standard features of most ancient cities. Does this mean there was no king? Was the city ruled by some kind of committee or council? Small-scale luxurious villas were abundant; in fact they were the standard form of housing. What kind of city had nearly its entire population (80,000 people) living in small palaces? Quantitative research shows that Teotihuacan had one of the lowest levels of wealth inequality of any city known to history. Yet, the distant Maya kings looked to this egalitarian city as the major trendsetter in Mesoamerica; they couldn’t get enough of Teotihuacan’s clothing styles. This talk shall explore recent archaeological discoveries at Teotihuacan, highlighting the contributions of researchers from Arizona State University. It will also describe ten amazing facts that reveal how Teotihuacan was the most unusual and fascinating city of the ancient Americas.

Dr. Michael E. Smith is a Professor at Arizona State University in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change. He is an archaeologist with two research themes: The Aztecs and other societies in ancient central Mexico, and comparative urbanism. He has directed fieldwork projects at numerous sites in the provinces of the Aztec empire in central Mexico. His fieldwork focuses on the excavation of houses and the study of daily life. Dr. Smith also publishes on comparative empires, economies, and systems of social inequality.

For a printable PDF flyer for this lecture, click here: Smith Flyer

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Upcoming Lecture: Monsters and Vision in the Preclassical Mediterranean

Monsters and Vision in the Preclassical Mediterranean
Speaker: Dr. Nassos Papalexandrou, The University of Texas at Austin
September 24, 2015, 6:00 PM
ASU Tempe Campus, Durham Language and Literature Building, Room 2

The vision of monsters is a quintessential component of religious experience in Early Greece. One area of focus is the so-called orientalizing cauldrons, vessels equipped with oriental or orientalizing attachments in the form of human-headed birds and griffin or lion protomes. These objects have traditionally been viewed as allomorphs of the revered and symbolically charged tripod-cauldrons. This lecture, which summarizes the results of a forthcoming book, it will be argued that responses to these objects involved ambivalence, resistance, and outright rejection. They were perceived as monsters or provided models for conceptualizing physical and moral dimensions of early Greek teratology. Scholarship has traditionally labeled them as dedications, but this interpretation would account for only a small percentage of the excavated materials in sanctuaries such as Olympia, Delphi, and Acropolis of Athens.

Nassos Papalexandrou is an associate professor of art history at the University of Texas at Austin.  He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University with a focus on the ritual dimensions of Early Greek figurative art, and previously taught at the at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.  His first book, The Visual Poetics of Power: Warriors, Youths, and Tripods in Early Greece, was published in 2005.

For a printable PDF flyer for this lecture, click here: Papalexandrou Flyer

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Upcoming Lecture: Weaving as Worship: Reconstructing Ritual at the Etruscan Site of Poggio Colla

Weaving as Worship: Reconstructing Ritual at the Etruscan Site of Poggio Colla
Speaker: Dr. Gretchen Meyers, Franklin & Marshall College
April 16, 2015, 6pm
ASU Tempe Campus, Business Administration Building C Wing Room 116

Excavations on the acropolis of the Etruscan site of Poggio Colla have uncovered a monumental structure with at least three construction phases, spanning the seventh-second centuries B.C.E. Sacred architecture and votive deposits, including a hoard of women’s jewelry, secure the designation of this space as a sanctuary with a history of ritualized usage. The discovery in 2010 of a ceramic fragment with stamped image of a female figure giving birth, together with numerous tools for both weaving and spinning uncovered within the confines of the sanctuary, point to the veneration of a female deity as well as the potential involvement of female craft production in ritual.

This lecture examines how archaeological evidence can be used to reconstruct Etruscan ritual through an analysis of the architecture and finds from the sanctuary at Poggio Colla. In addition to more than ten votive contexts, production of sacred cloth or garments is indicated by the distribution of weaving tools on the site into distinctive areas for spinning and weaving. Two of the site’s votive deposits appear to contain gold adornment for cloth alongside other ritual implements. Analysis of this evidence, together with comparative material from Etruria, Latium and Southern Italy, suggests a particularly inclusive role for Etruscan women as producers of ceremonial cloth, and hence active participants in ritual.

Gretchen Meyers is with Franklin & Marshall College, and holds her degrees from the University of Texas at Austin (Ph.D.) and Duke University. Her research interests are Roman and Etruscan Archaeology, the Tiber River and Roman topography, Roman space and urban theory. She is Director of Archaeological Materials for the Mugello Valley Archaeological Project (Poggio Colla) in Italy.

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Upcoming Event: In the Shadow of the Monuments of Bahariya Oasis, Egypt

In the Shadow of the Monuments of Bahariya Oasis, Egypt
Speaker: Dr. Hussein Bassir, University of Arizona and Ministry of Antiquities, Egypt
March 5, 2015, 6pm
ASU West Campus, Kiva Lecture Hall

Dr. Hussein Bassir is an Egyptian archaeologist and former Director General of the Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza. He is one of the field directors of excavations at the Bahariya Oasis in Egypt, and he is completing his post-doctoral work at the University of Arizona. He received his BA in Egyptology from Cairo University, and his MA and Ph.D. in Near and Middle Eastern Studies from The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. In addition to his scholarly pursuits, he has written extensively on Arabic literature and cinema and has published several fictional novels.

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