Our final lecture for the 2012 – 2013 season is by Dr. R. Angus Smith, Classics at Brock University.
This paper concerns evidence for mortuary ritual from the Mycenaean cemetery of Ayia Sotira near Koutsomodi in the Nemea Valley. During the summers from 2006 to 2008 The Canadian Institute in Greece sponsored the excavation of this cemetery, which contains a total of six chamber tombs. One of these was rescued from looters in a 2002 salvage operation by the 4th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, and our project excavated the other five. The area, unfortunately, is one where illegal searching and excavation is a constant threat. As a consequence we have developed methods to recover as much information as possible, even of the most thoroughly ransacked remains. The chamber tombs at Ayia Sotira were family tombs that were used over generations, and contained multiple burials of men, women, and children. The associated pottery shows that the cemetery was used for about 150 years, or five generations, near the end of the Mycenaean period. The burial goods were modest, and consisted primarily of pottery with some figurines, jewelry, and other items. These modest tombs were undoubtedly associated with the nearby Mycenaean settlement of Tsoungiza, and offer a picture of the humble mortuary practices associated with this settlement.
Our sixth lecture is by Dr. Nicholas David, professor emeritus of the Anthropology Department of the University of Calgary.
The Dunhuang star atlas was discovered in 1907 by Aurel Stein, the Hungarian-British explorer, in a town on the ancient Silk Road. It is now in the British Library. Only recently has it been thoroughly studied by astronomers. In this lecture I describe the atlas and set it in the cultural context of the Warring States, Han and later Tang periods. Dated to the period 500-1000 CE, it is far in advance of contemporary products from the Mediterranean world. Its interpretation requires both a knowledge of visual astronomy and an understanding of the role that astronomy-astrology played in Chinese society. By following a number of clues – costume, paper, taboo characters, handwriting, the names in the document and internal astronomical evidence – we can arrive at a finer dating, learn why the atlas ended up in the far west of Han China, and even identify the author of an remarkable and beautiful product of scientific observation that was also a closely guarded state secret.
Our fifth lecture is by Dr. Catherine Lucinda Cooper, Rebanks Research Fellow in Classical Archaeology, Royal Ontario Museum.
Museums are one of the most public arenas of engagement with classical antiquity. The highly visual experience of the museum encounter is subtly but fundamentally determined by how objects are selected and presented for display, and these displays have an enormous impact on perceptions of the ancient world. Yet the academic and practical challenges encountered in creating a display are rarely considered.
Kate takes you behind-the-scenes of the recent redisplay of the Greece and Rome gallery at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (UK), where she worked as curator, to examine the practical and conceptual issues that are involved in creating a display that is at once up-to-date, informative, accessible, and appealing. The Fitzwilliam’s approach will be compared to other recent European displays of classical antiquity, such as that of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford and the New Akropolis Museum, Athens.
Our fourth lecture is by Dr. Debra Foran , Tell Madaba Archaeology Project.
Mount Nebo is well known as the site where Moses saw the promised land and was told he would never enter. The importance of this area as the location of Moses’s tomb led to the development of a network of monastic communities during the Byzantine period (4th – 7th centuries ce) that served both the local population and the numerous pilgrims who travelled through the region.
Archaeological research at Khirbat al-Mukhayyat, the ancient town of Nebo, began in the 1930s, under the direction of the Franciscan Archaeological Mission. To date, three Byzantine churches have been excavated as well as the small monastery of al-Kanisah, located on a hilltop to the east of the settlement. Archaeological investigation at the site was renewed in 2000, under the auspices of the Tell Madaba Archaeological Project, as part of the project’s overall objective to gather archaeological data from both the urban center of a settlement network and contemporary village sites in the region. After conducting systematic topographical and surface collection surveys, certain areas of the site were chosen for more in-depth study. The 2012 field season was devoted to preparing the site for future excavations and documenting the numerous features associated with the settlement.
This presentation will examine the extent remains at Khirbat al-Mukhayyat in conjunction with the results of recent survey work in an effort to place the site within the wider socio-economic context of Byzantine Transjordan.
Our third lecture is by Paul R. Duffy, SSHRC Postdoctural Fellow at the University of Toronto.
What do the Kivik stone glyphs in Sweden, the Mycenaean shaft graves in Greece, and the bronze axe hordes of eastern Hungary all have in common? According to recent opinion, they all share religious iconography held by an elite class of travelling warriors between the 17th and 14th centuries BC. Danish archaeologist Kristian Kristiansen and others have suggested that highly mobile chiefly groups, sharing a common ideology and symbolism, travelled across Central and Eastern Europe to link Scandinavia with the Mediterranean, and essentially united continental Europe into a single elite worldview. This talk presents ethnographic data and computer models to discuss how plausible such travel is and provides alternate ways of explaining the widespread distribution of symbols common in the European Bronze Age. Using cemetery and settlement data from Eastern Europe, it is argued that although mobility was increasing during the second millennium BC, the continent was culturally fragmented and social inequality was not ubiquitous.
Our second lecture is by Dr. William FitzHugh of the Anthropology Department of the Smithsonian Institute.
Vikings: the North Atlantic Saga” explores the little-known story of the dramatic Viking/Norse expansion across the North Atlantic from 850-1000, and their explorations and settlement in Greenland and Northeastern North America. Special exphasis is on fads and fallacies in popular beliefs about “Vikings” in North America as contrasted with new archaeological evidence fromArcticand Subarctic regions where Norse contacts occurred with Native Americans–both Inuit and Indian. Finally, the lecture addresses the likely cases of failure of the western Norse colonies and implications for future human arctic endeavors.
Our first lecture of the season is by Matthew Walls, Anthropology, University of Toronto.
In Greenland, a community has been working to ensure that kayak hunting continues as a living tradition. They follow designs that their ancestors have used for thousands of years, and they learn techniques that were perfected by many generations of hunters. It is a difficult skill, and it can take many years of careful practice to develop the requisite fitness, social relationships, technical ability, and ecological knowledge. For modern kayakers, the physical process building kayaks and becoming skilled in their use preserves special types of heritage that cannot be communicated through stories or museums alone.
For the last four years, I’ve been conducting ethnoarchaeological research with this community. In this lecture, I’ll be talking about how the fieldwork has progressed and how it relates to interpreting Inuit communities in the more distant past. Through a combination of pictures and video I will document the processes that individuals go through to become skilled kayakers. I hope to demonstrate how understanding the dynamics of enskilment can help archaeologists to better understand the deeper history of Arctic kayaking.
Making Space: How We Construct and
View the World Around Us
Saturday March 31, 2012
“The Toronto Society of the Archaeological Institute of America invites graduate and
undergraduate students to submit abstracts to the Third AIA Student Symposium “Making Space: How we Construct and View the World Around Us”. This year we are exploring the topic of space, both physical and conceptual. We wish the scope of the symposium to be crosscultural and cross-temporal and encourage students to submit an abstract for a 15 minute paper on any aspect of, or approach to this topic, including but not limited to anthropological, archaeological, art historical, historical, philological, and
We will post all accepted abstracts on our website www.aiatorontoarchives.ca”
Please submit a 250-word abstract by mail to: Meg Morden, 216-550 Front St W, Toronto, Ontario M5V 3N5, or email to Meg Morden, email@example.com.
Abstract Deadline: Monday January 16, 2012
The application form the Joseph Shaw Student Travel Fellowship Grant is now avaliable click on the link to access the application form.
Good Luck to all our candidates.
Remember, the deadline is April 1, 2012.
What is National Archaeology Day?
National Archaeology Day is a celebration of archaeology and the thrill of discovery. Throughout the month of October and on October 22 in particular, the AIA and its societies throughout the United States and Canada will present archaeological programs and activities in over 100 cities for people of all ages and interests. Whether it is a family-friendly archaeology fair, a guided tour of a local archaeological site, a simulated dig, a lecture or a classroom visit from an archaeologist, the interactive, hands-on programs presented by the Institute and our societies will provide you with the chance to indulge your inner Indiana Jones.
For more details check out our main site here.