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



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