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Cleveland Archaeological Society 2016-17 Lectures

The Cleveland Archaeological Society (CAS) is a local chapter of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA). Each year, CAS sponsors a series of lectures, which are held at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History in the Museum’s Murch Auditorium on the second Wednesday of the month (note that the lecture on 9-23-16 by Brian Rose will be at the Recital Hall of the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Beer Benefit in May will probably be at Great Lakes Brewery). A reception with coffee, tea, and cookies follows each talk at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History that affords attendees an opportunity to meet and talk with our speaker. An archive of lectures over the past several years can be found here. All lectures are free and open to the public. For directions to the Museum, click here and enter the words “Cleveland Museum of Natural History”.

“The Search for the Earliest Ancestors in the Afar Region of Ethiopia.”

Wednesday, September 14, 7:30pm, Murch Auditorium, CMNH
Dr. Yohannes Haile-Selassie, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, CWRU

“Configuring the Image of the East in Roman Triumphal Monuments.”

Friday, September 23, 5:30 pm Cleveland Museum of Art, Recital Hall, 5:30 pm,         
Dr. Brian Rose, University of Pennsylvania

Julius Fund Lecture in Ancient Art, CWRU Department of Art History  

From the late Republic through the end of the empire, Rome was continually at war with the east, especially the Parthians. Triumphal monuments celebrating Rome’s eastern victories began to be constructed in the late  first century BC, and their designs varied widely both geographically and temporally, in part because the Trojan ancestors of the Romans wore the same costumes as the Parthians. This talk reviews the evidence for the shifting iconography of the East in ancient Roman triumphal imagery, and concludes by examining war memorials involving the Middle East that were created in the U.S. and Iraq during the last 25 years.

“The Heart of it All, 11,000 B.P. ”

Wednesday, October 12, 7:30pm, Murch Auditorium, CMNH
Assistant Professor Metin Erin, Kent State University

We will explore the lives of the very first stone age humans to colonize Ohio.  How did they survive in a new and dangerous ice-age landscape?  What technological innovations did they develop to live and thrive in the area around Lake Erie?


National Archaeology Day – Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Saturday, October 15

“100 Years of Egyptian Art in Cleveland.”
Wednesday, November 9, 7:30pm, Murch Auditorium, CMNH
Professor Lawerence Berman, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

The Cleveland Museum of Art began collecting Egyptian Art in 1913, three years before the building opened to the public in 1916.  Now as the Museum is celebrating the centennial of that event, it seems an appropriate time to assess the growth and development of the Egyptian collection from then to now.


“The Myth and Reality in Ancient Sparta or What the 300 Didn’t Tell You.”
Wednesday, February 8, 7:30pm, Murch Auditorium, CMNH
Dr. Nigel Martin Kennell, University of British Columbia.

In recent years, Spartans have enjoyed a raised profile in popular culture, thanks to the popularity of the movie 300. That film portrayed the warriors of Thermopylae as quasi-superheroes valiantly defending Greece and the West against monstrous hordes from the East. It tapped into and updated Western culture’s long-standing image of Sparta as a land of hardened warriors and proto-feminist heroines, brought up to live according to the rules of an austere, proto-totalitarian way of life  unlike that of any other society then or now. But how much does that image reflect what life was actually like for ancient Spartans? In this talk, Nigel Kennell, a Sparta specialist, investigates the real picture behind this so-called ‘Spartan mirage.’ Using historical, literary, and archaeological evidence, he reveals how Spartan youths were trained to be citizens, what role the family played, and how girls and women lived.

“Apocalypse Then: The Collapse of the Bronze Age World.”

Wednesday, March  8, 7:30pm, Murch Auditorium, CMNH                
Professor Dimitri Nakassis, University of Colorado, Boulder

Around 1200 BC, palaces burned across the eastern Mediterranean, from the Mycenaean kingdoms in Greece to the flourishing towns of the Levantine coast to the city of Troy itself. The Mediterranean never fully recovered from this catastrophe, and why this happened is anyone’s guess. Theories include marauding invaders, climate change, internal rebellion, and natural disasters. This paper argues that to understand this collapse, we cannot lose sight of the local and the regional, and examines developments in southern Greece to try to understand some of the forces that transformed this part of the world forever.

“Lost in translation: Babylonian Pharmacology in Roman Therapy.”

Wednesday, April 12, 7:30pm, Murch Auditorium, CMNH                 
Dr. Maddalena Rumor, Case Western Reserve University

This talk will present the only sure textual proof, so far identified, of the sharing of medical (in this case astro-medical) knowledge between the lands of cuneiform writing and the Greco-Roman world. It will begin by sketching a quick picture of Babylonian medicine and pharmacology and will continue with a unique case of knowledge sharing by presenting and comparing two texts – an obscure late Babylonian “Calendar Text” written on a cuneiform tablet in Uruk in the late fourth century BCE, and a passage from the Natural History of Pliny the Elder (first century CE) concerning the use of Dreckapotheke (lit. filthy medicaments such as animal products) in the treatment of fevers. While at a first glance these two testimonies seem to have nothing in common, a closer examination of them reveals that Pliny was, without a full understanding of the topic, commenting on the specific tradition of pairing animal products with calendric/zodiac information as found in the cuneiform Calendar Text, and thus each is useful for the interpretation of the other. Implications for the history of ancient medicine/astro-medicine and especially for the history of cultural contacts between the East and the West are far-reaching.


Ancient Beer Making. Fundraising event being planned for May of 2017. Check back for details.


Page last modified: September 9, 2016