A Landscape of Identity: The Iconography of Autochthony in Late Fifth Century BC Athens

Our third lecture for the 2016-17 season

A Landscape of Identity: The Iconography of Autochthony in Late Fifth Century BC Athens

Dr. Jacquelyn H. Clements, CLIR/Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Data Curation for Visual Studies in the Department of Art, University of Toronto

Date: Tuesday, November 22, 2016 at 6:00 p.m.

Location: Anthropology Building AP130 19 Russell Street, University of Toronto

A concept known as autochthony, the belief in an earthborn ancestry, was developed in the fifth century BC as an imperialistic “claim to fame” that linked the Athenian people to the land of Attica, and became a popular motif in Athenian vase painting. During the Peloponnesian wars in the late fifth century, however, this conviction took on a new twist: autochthony became expressed not only through a standard iconography of images, but their symbolic visual placement in the Athenian landscape also became increasingly potent. This talk considers autochthony within its topographical context, particularly through the visual dimensions of the Erechtheion, the small temple on the Acropolis that was the last to be built during the Classical period. I contend that as their land was threatened by Spartan invasion, the Athenians found solace and strength in the visual enunciation of their ideas of autochthony as a means of understanding their own identity. The iconography of autochthony celebrates the mythological ancestry of the Athenians in a time where the stability of their genealogical roots was of prime significance. In addition, the Athenians were keen to express their autochthonous roots in imagery on a monumental scale that was closely integrated with the landscape from which they believed they had been born. Drawing on the understanding of autochthony across other cultures and in modern times, we can begin to comprehend a “topography of autochthony” that was consciously and conscientiously designed by the Athenians in the late fifth century BC.

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Exploring the Roots of the Vine

Our second lecture for the 2016-17 season

Exploring the Roots of the Vine: The History and Archaeology of the Earliest Wines

Dr. Stephen Batiuk, GRAPE: Gadachrili Gora Regional Archaeological Project Expedition

Date: Tuesday, October 25, 2016 at 6:00 p.m.

Location: Anthropology Building AP130 19 Russell Street, University of Toronto

Wine is one of the most commonly enjoyed and alcoholic beverages in the modern world. But what is the antiquity and history of this otherworldly drink? When and how was it first developed? How did it spread from its point of origin? Dr. Stephen Batiuk will show how new archaeological field work and bio-molecular chemistry and genetics are helping unlock this story, pushing its origins back to the Neolithic period and to the region of Caucasia, modern Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, and how one of our earliest and best documented examples of an ancient migration probably led to the spread of wine and wine culture across the Ancient Near East, and then eventually across the rest of the Mediterranean World.

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The Funerary Chapel of Pahery at El Kab

Our first lecture for the 2016-17 season

A Wall for All Seasons: The Funerary Chapel of Pahery at El Kab

Prof Ronald J. Leprohon, Professor of Egyptology, University of Toronto

Date: Tuesday, September 27, 2016 at 6:00 p.m.

Location: Anthropology Building AP130 19 Russell Street, University of Toronto

The Eighteenth Dynasty tomb chapel of Pahery, the Mayor of El Kab in southern Upper Egypt, contains scenes of the work done during all three seasons of the Egyptian calendar. A description of these and the symbolic direction in which they were meant to be viewed will be followed by an examination of the hieroglyphic captions accompanying the scenes and how these offered a different message to a literate audience.

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Investigating a Minoan Coastal Town in East Crete: New Work at Palaikastro

Palaikastro is one of the most intensively excavated settlements of Minoan Crete. Yet, we still understand relatively little of its urban organization, and how the town fit in its wider landscape. In this talk I report on a new five-year project that has conducted excavations in a new neighborhood on the edge of town, while also applying techniques of landscape analysis to look at the site’s environmental setting. Besides the themes of urban development and landscape use in the Bronze Age, I will also touch on issues concerning collaborative research, community involvement, and the politics of the past.

Date: Tuesday, April 26, 2016 at 6:00 p.m.

Location: Anthropology Building AP130 19 Russell Street, University of Toronto

 

The Shang and Their World

This lecture is designed to introduce the audience to the Shang – the second of traditional Chinese history’s three dynasties of high antiquity. The lecture will focus on the archaeology and early texts discovered at the site of Anyang where the last capital of the Shang was discovered in 1928. In addition to introducing the audience to the sources of Shang history, I will attempt to paint a picture of the strange world of the Shang: a world of endemic warfare and human sacrifice but also of great artistic achievement when the foundations of later Chinese civilization were laid. A world before Confucius where the ancestors ruled along with the living and the land itself was alive with numinous powers.

Date: Tuesday, March 22, 2016 @ 6:00 p.m.

Location: Anthropology Building AP130 19 Russell Street, University of Toronto

Buildings and Builders in Mid-Republican Rome

During the Middle Republican period (396 – 146 B.C.), Rome expanded its empire over the Italian peninsula, and then across much of the Mediterranean. The resulting imperial income was massive and would radically transform the city itself. By the end of the Macedonian wars, Republican Rome emerged as the indisputable capital of its world, and building and maintaining urban infrastructure had become the state’s greatest annual expense. In this talk, I set out the major themes of Rome’s transformation in both physical and human terms; I show how construction was a highly involved social and economic process. We will follow one of the great phases of urban expansion in Rome’s long history by examining the novel architectural forms and innovative technologies that appear during this period. And we will ask how this archaeological material informs us about the history of the masons and laborers who comprised the city’s emerging building industry.

Date: February 23, 2015 @6:00 pm

Location: Anthropology Building AP130 19 Russell Street, University of Toronto

 

 

Pleistocene Dispersals and the Paleolithic Archaeology of Anatolia (Turkey)

Evidence from genetics has revolutionized our understanding of population movements in the deep past, painting a more complex picture of early human dispersals than had previously been imagined. Accounts of dispersals into Eurasia often assume that Anatolia (Asian Turkey) served as a land bridge connecting Europe with the Near East and ultimately Africa. Predictably, the situation on the ground is less clear. In fact, very little is known about the presence of humans and human ancestors in Anatolia during the Pleistocene. The scarcity of evidence is partly a consequence of limited research, but it also reflects the difficulty of locating Pleistocene-aged deposits in central Anatolia. Excavations at the site of Kaletepe Deresi 3 and a five-year survey project within the Göllü Dağ volcanic complex has helped sketch out a general framework for early human presence in central Anatolia. The area was especially attractive to Pleistocene humans because it contained an abundance of obsidian, prized for tool making.
The excavations and survey reveal that hominins occupied the area during the Lower and Middle Paleolithic periods, beginning more than 500,000 years ago. Evidence for occupation during the Middle Paleolithic period, probably by Neanderthals, is especially well represented. Surprisingly, surveys identified no evidence for presence of humans during the Upper Paleolithic, raising questions about the route of the most recent dispersals of Homo sapiens from Africa to Europe.

Date: December 9, 2015

Location: Bahen Centre BA1200, 40 St George St, University of Toronto

Kuhn Poster

Mughal Caravanserai Architecture: Amritsar to Agra, India

The medieval world was one of high movement, with a large amount of goods and people in transit across the Indian subcontinent. To support the flow of people and goods an elaborate trade network developed, anchored by the transit infrastructure available along roadways. In this talk I present a review of my summer 2015 architectural survey of the medieval caravanserai (protected stopping points along caravan routes) located on the trunk road between Amritsar and Agra, India. The research presented involves the detailed documentation (using photography and laser measurement devices) of surviving serai architecture and addresses several questions. First, what are the typological forms and functions of Mughal caravanserais found in northwestern India (specifically on the route between Amritsar and Agra)? Second, why were some of these structures reused through time and how do continuing uses relate to the memories, identities, and life histories associated with these places? Third, how can we use expedient survey techniques to record detailed information from sites, and how can three-dimensional virtual models aid in our interpretation of historic structures?

Date: November 24, 2015

Location: Anthropology Building AP130 19 Russell Street, University of Toronto

Campbell Poster

A Society that Self-Destructed? Recent Archaeological Research on Easter Island (Rapa Nui)

Mulrooney_web_photoRapa Nui (Easter Island) is often portrayed as the locale of a dramatic societal collapse triggered by overpopulation and environmental degradation during the late pre-European contact period (before A.D. 1722). Despite the popularity of this collapse narrative, there is very little solid evidence for it. In this presentation, Dr. Mulrooney shares the results of recent archaeological research into settlement and land use on the island. This research suggests that the island’s history is characterized by successful adaptations and continuity through time instead of punctuated, detrimental changes during the late pre-contact period.

 

Date: Tuesday, September 22, 2015 at 6:00 p.m.
Location: Anthropology Building AP130 19 Russell Street, University of Toronto

Mulrooney Easter Island Poster

Pompeii: The Making of an Exhibition by Paul Denis

On June 13, 2015, the ROM opened its major exhibition Pompeii – In The Shadow of the Volcano to the public. Paul Denis, a member of the curatorial team will present a lecture on the making of this exhibition. Starting at the beginning of the process in 2012, he will discuss developing the basic story line and themes while at the same time creating a list of objects that would be borrowed from the National Museum of Archaeology in Naples and the Depository at Pompeii. Among the many departments the curators worked with, Paul will focus on Exhibit Design, the Preparators and Conservation. Most of “The Making of an Exhibition” is presented chronologically in the context of the construction of the exhibition and the installation of the graphics, labels and objects.

This free lecture kicks off our 2015/16 season.
Date: Tuesday, September 22, 2015 at 6:00 p.m.
Location: Anthropology Building AP130 19 Russell Street, University of Toronto

Pompeii-Lecture-Poster