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. A reception with coffee, tea, and cookies follows each talk that affords attendees an opportunity to meet and talk with our speaker. 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 Archaeological Exploration of Sikyon: A Comprehensive Approach to the Study of a Greek City-state.”
Wednesday, September 14, 2011, 7:30 pm
Prof. Yannis Lolo (University of Thessaly, Greece)
Sikyon, an ancient Greek city in the northern Peloponnese, was famous for its artistic excellence, particularly in sculpture and painting. The earliest excavations carried out on Sikyonian soil aimed precisely towards recovering works of art. More systematic excavations in the late 19th century and during the first half of the 20th century focused on the center of the city and the discovery of major architectural monuments, namely the theater and the palaestra complex by the agora, and a temple, a bouleuterion and a long stoa within the agora. However, viewed in isolation, these monuments tell us little about the structure and evolution of the city (asty) and its territory (chora). The extensive regional survey and the intensive urban survey conducted under my directorship over the last 15 years came to address these central issues by mapping and examining a large body of material remains. Thanks to this work, we are now in a position to document the human presence and activity in the city-state from the earliest times to the modern era.
Within the city, intensive surface and geophysical survey over approximately half of the intramural area of some 250 hectares yielded rich information on the urban plan, the habitation pattern, the sacred areas, the industrial sectors of the city, the contacts of the Sikyonians with their neighbors and the outside world, and the evolution of the city from the early Hellenistic to the Ottoman era. Beyond the city, the survey documented the existence of major roads that connected Sikyon to its neighboring states and the rest of the Peloponnese, as well as various defensive works that dotted the territory and protected its borders and settlements. A large number of settlements, their overwhelming majority previously unknown, was mapped. They range from simple farmsteads to towns, and span some seven millennia from the middle Neolithic to the early modern period. In addition, ample traces of agricultural and various industrial activities were found across the countryside. Finally, the parallel examination of the archaeological evidence produced from surveying the city and its countryside allows us to investigate many aspects of the center – periphery relationship across the centuries.
“The Search of Caribou Hunters Beneath Lake Huron: The Archaeology of an Ancient Submerged Landscape.”
Wednesday, October 12, 2011, 7:30 pm
Prof. John O’Shea (University of Michigan)
Nine thousand years ago, a dry land corridor connected northern Lower Michigan with Southern Ontario and split the modern Lake Huron basin into two distinct lakes. This corridor provided a natural causeway for the semi-annual migration of caribou and an equally valuable terrain for Late Paleo-Indian and Early Archaic hunters seeking to exploit the herds. The Alpena-Amberley Ridge provides an opportunity to investigate an ancient landscape that has not been disturbed by modern development, and in which artifacts and constructions remain much as they were left when the hunters departed. Starting from a predictive model of the current lake bottom as a dry land environment and a computer simulation of the behavior of caribou herds and ancient hunters, we have employed an array of progressively more focused survey techniques including side scan sonar, multibeam sonar, autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), mini remote operated vehicles (ROVs) and SCUBA trained archaeologist to search for these traces of ancient hunters. The talk will describe the results of this past summer’s search, including the first direct examination and mapping of the submerged features by SCUBA trained archaeologists.
“Ancient Mendes: Reflections of Early Egypt in the Heart of the Delta.”
Wednesday, November 9, 2011, 7:30 pm
Prof. Matthew Adams (Bucknell University)
The ancient town of Mendes is the largest surviving archaeological site in the Egyptian Delta. This one time capital of Egypt boasts an occupational history of some 5000 years from the beginnings of agriculture to the Middle Ages. For most of the history of the discipline of Egyptology, however, Mendes and other sites in the Delta have been overlooked in favor of the riches of the great cemeteries of Sakkara and Thebes in Upper Egypt. Consequently, the Delta has become an archaeological terra incognita. This has begun to change in the last 25 years and the Delta has become an exciting new frontier in Egyptian Archaeology, with the Penn State Excavations at Mendes among those leading the charge.
This presentation focuses on the discoveries relating to the first 1000 years of the Egyptian state (ca. 3000 – 2000 BCE). During that time, Mendes flourished as the state prospered, enjoying lavish donations from Pharaoh in the form of a monumental temple and lands to support it. As the Pyramid Age progressed, the priesthood of this temple grew wealthy and a vast cemetery grew up around the site. As the first millennium of the monarchy drew to a close, however, Pharaoh’s power waned, and Egypt descended into a period of anarchy known as the First Intermediate Period. At Mendes, poverty became rampant and food became scarce. The citizens perished at an alarming rate. Ultimately, Mendes suffered at the hands of an unknown enemy and was destroyed, its citizens murdered.
“A Clockwork Bronze: The Calendar and Panhellenic Games Dial on the Antikythera Mechanism.”
Wednesday, February 8, 2012, 7:30 pm
Prof. Paul A. Iversen (Case Western Reserve University)
In 1901, Greek sponge divers recovered from a shipwreck of circa 65 BCE a remarkable bronze device (dating ca. 200 – 65 BCE) with gears now known to the world as the Antikythera Mechanism. Recently, a group of researchers has examined this badly corroded and brittle device with modern technologies that have revealed that the back of the device housed a Saros eclipse-prediction dial, as well as a Greek lunisolar calendar that was regulated according to the 235 months of the Metonic cycle and probably also the 76 years of the Callippic cycle. Furthermore, another dial was revealed to indicate the years in which some of the more important Panhellenic athletic games fell, including the famous Olympic games. The authors who published these results (Freeth, Jones, et al., Nature 2008), argued that the lunisolar calendar belonged to Corinth or one of its colonies, especially Syracuse, and that this lunisolar calendar commenced one month after the autumnal equinox, or roughly in October. This talk will demonstrate that the calendar is indeed that of Corinth, or one of its colonies in NW Greece, or a city of Epirus that adopted the Corinthian calendar, but that it cannot be that of Syracuse. It will also argue that calendar starting season should be backed up one or two months, that the device is more likely to come from the Rhodian school of astronomy rather than the Syracusan, and it will reveal the heretofore unidentified game in year 4 on the Games Dial, and offer a new explanation of its four divisions. All these new findings will have a significant impact on calibrating the starting time of the mechanism, and thus the date of the world’s oldest known analogue computer.
“The Master of Animals: Divine Symbols and Local Traditions in Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean.”
Wednesday, March 14, 2012, 7:30 pm
Prof. Derek Counts (University of Wisconsin)
The so-called ‘Master of Animals’ was well established in eastern Mediterranean and Aegean iconography for more than four millennia. In some cases, adversarial representations of hunts, heroic contests, and antithetical compositions featuring a central human figure grasping one or more animals signify physical prowess and supernatural control over the forces of nature; in other cases, these same qualities are embodied in theriomorphic transformations, hierarchical representations of humans on top of animals, or even simple pastoral scenes that more implicitly highlight the domination and control of both domesticated and wild animals. Images of divine figures displaying attributes identified with a ‘Master of Animals’ characterize the iconography of Cypriote sanctuaries during the Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic Period. Such images reveal the mixing of local styles and tastes with foreign (e.g., Greek, Phoenician, Egyptian) artistic elements, while also offering valuable evidence regarding artistic communication and socio-economic exchanges within the island and beyond. This lecture will trace the history of this important theme from its beginnings in prehistoric age to its role in Cypriote sanctuaries of the first millennium BCE By isolating this divine aspect and attempting to focus on the importance of local and internal Cypriote responses to it, a more lucid picture of the complexity of Cypriote culture, art, and religion during these periods begins to emerge.
“The Universal Citizen Heir: Archaeology and the Tourist in the Modern Museum.”
Wednesday, April 11, 2012, 7:30 pm
Prof. Quetzil Castaneda (Indiana University)
This presentation traces the interconnections between tourism, the rise of the modern museum, archaeology, and heritage. I review the history of how the archaeological logic and system of representation was used to re-work repositories, cabinets, and other modes of collection into the institution of the modern museum. Although many have noted how national identity, sentiments of belonging, and citizens are forged in the museum, almost no attention has been paid to how the archaeological narratives of civilization portrayed in the museum imply a form of universal citizen. Although mostly invisible to the naked eye for a hundred years or so, the Universal Citizen Heir has manifest human expression and embodiment in the Tourist. In this presentation, therefore, I elaborate in what sense and what it means to say that the Tourist is the Universal Citizen Heir to humanity’s heritage.
“A Millennium of Maya Painting.”
Wednesday, May 9, 2010, 7:30 pm
Prof. Marry Miller (Yale University)
For generations Maya sculpture seemed to set the baseline understanding of Maya figural art: after all, it is the dated stela in context that defined the Classic period of the first millennium, by and large. But the past decade has provided evidence that the discoveries of 5th century paintings at Uaxactun and late 8th century ones at Bonampak were not anomalies. We now know see full-blown Maya ideology in the paintings of San Bartolo, ca. 50 BCE, along with mastery of style, form, and pigments. New discoveries of paintings at Calakmul, probably of the 7th century, offer a picture of a different trajectory of Maya painting, all of which allows the great paintings of Chichen Itza, ca. 1100 CE, to be put in fresh context.