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The Cleveland Archaeological Society 2012-2013 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. 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 past years, see our lecture ARCHIVES) For directions to the Museum, click here and enter the words “Cleveland Museum of Natural History”.

“Population Growth and Sociopolitical Change in Late Pre-Contact Hawaii: Insights from Household Archaeology in Leeward Kohala, Hawaii Island.”
Wednesday, September 12, 2012, 7:30 pm
Prof. Julie S. Field (The Ohio State University)
Lecture sponsored by the AIA

Captain Cook’s encounter with Hawaiian society in 1779 was the first to document a society of laborers, craftsmen, and a chiefly elite; a society that anthropologists of today classify as an archaic state. Research of the evolution of that state is ongoing in Hawaii, and currently a multidisciplinary team including archaeologists, ecologists, soil scientists, demographers, and quantitative modelers is investigating the long-term human ecodynamics in the Hawaiian archipelago. This research investigates the dynamics of population growth, agricultural intensification, and sociopolitical change via the archaeological investigation of households in leeward Kohala, on the island of Hawaii. Household chronology, fission, and subsistence patterns are explored and used to detect the formation of new socioeconomic units (ahupua’a), which fueled the emergence of the early Hawaiian state.


“A Cassowary is Not an Artifact: Archaeological Typology and Classification at Nobles Pond Paleo-Indian Site in Stark County, Ohio.”
Wednesday, October 10, 2012, 7:30 pm
Prof. Mark F. Seeman (Kent State University)

This lecture will discuss one of the foundations for all archaeological endeavors: typology and classification. Names matter. What we call a thing necessarily affects how we treat it, and ultimately, what we find out about past societies. My talk will review a few perspectives on typology, but will focus especially on how a strong appreciation of use-life (sometimes called the “Frison Effect”) enriches our understanding of form, function, and classification. Illustrations will come from my long-term study of the 11,000 year-old Nobles Pond Paleoindian site in Stark Co., Ohio and will be based on morphometric, experimental, and use-wear analyses.


“New Discoveries in the Deep-Water Archaeology of the Black Sea.”
Wednesday, November 14, 2012, 7:30 pm
Prof. Dan Davis (Luther College)

The Black Sea is perhaps best known as the exotic setting for the tale of Jason and the Argonauts and their quest for the Golden Fleece, but this large inland sea served as a maritime highway for the ancient and medieval cultures of Greece, Rome, Byzantium and the Italian maritime republics. Like the Mediterranean, its depths hide the remains of hundreds of ancient shipwrecks, each with its own story to tell. But unlike the warm, oxygen-rich bottom of the Mediterranean, the anoxic waters of the Black Sea abyss have long been thought to preserve wood and organic remains. An international team of archaeologists and oceanographers are starting to discover ancient and medieval wrecks here using the latest in robotic and digital imaging technology. The well-preserved state of these wrecks and their cargoes have electrified the archaeological community and the world. This lecture provides an overview of these discoveries through the eyes of Dan Davis, an archaeologist who helped direct the first scientific excavation of two ancient deep-water wrecks in the Black Sea using a remotely-operated vehicle.


“Petra: An Urban Oasis in the Arabian Desert.”
Wednesday, February 13, 2013, 7:30 pm
Leigh-Ann Bedal (Pennsylvania State University, Erie)

During the 1st century BCE, a small settlement of Arab pastoralists located in a remote valley on the edge of the Arabian Desert, was transformed into one of the great ceremonial and economic centers of the ancient Near East. Petra was the capital of the Nabataean Kingdom and hub of the caravan routes that supplied the Mediterranean World with incense and exotic goods. Known for the many magnificent rock-cut tombs and temple facades etched into the encircling rose red sandstone cliffs, Petra’s true wonder may be the infrastructure that allowed this desert metropolis to flourish. Masters of hydraulics, Nabataean engineers constructed a network of channels, dams, cisterns and tunnels to transport and store water for practical uses as well as recreation and ornamental display. This presentation explores technological achievements of the Nabataeans and some of the recent discoveries that reveal Petra’s splendor.


“Assessing the Historicity of the Trojan War: Excavations at Troy 1988-2010.”
Wednesday, March 13, 2013, 7:30 pm
Prof. C. Brian Rose (University of Pennsylvania)
Lecture sponsored by the AIA

In l988 archaeologists from the University of Cincinnati and the University of Tübingen, Germany, began new excavations at Troy with the intent of examining all phases of habitation- from the Bronze Age through the Byzantine period. This lecture presents the results of the Bronze Age, Greek, and Roman excavations at the site during the last 24 years. Work has concentrated primarily on the theater, temple of Athena, the Bouleuterion or Council House, and the Sanctuary of the Samothracian Gods. The Bronze Age fortifications and Roman houses in the Lower City have also been extensively investigated. Excavation thus far has clarified the nature of habitation at the site during the late Bronze Age (15-12th centuries B.C.), as well as the rise in the city’s fortunes during the reign of Augustus and his Julio-Claudian successors. The relationship between the recent discoveries at the site and the Homeric tradition are also considered.


“The Chemistry of Kinship: Daidalos and Kothar Revisited.”
Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 7:30 pm
Prof. Andrew J. Koh (Brandeis University)
Lecture sponsored by the AIA

There has been no shortage of discussions over the past half century pertaining to Bronze and Early Iron Age exchange in the eastern Mediterranean. Starting with H. Kantor’s groundbreaking monograph, The Aegean and the Orient in the Second Millennium B.C. (1947), scholarship rapidly advanced in the 1990s with S. Morris’ Daidalos and the Origins of Greek Art (1992), E. Cline’s Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea (1994), and the 50th anniversary symposium in honor of Kantor’s monograph (1998). More recently, M. Feldman reinvigorated discussions with Diplomacy by Design: Luxury Arts and an ‘International style’ in the Ancient Near East (2006). Overall, great strides have been made using archaeological, historical, linguistic, and literary evidence to understand the nature of commodities production, trade, and consumption during this verdant period in antiquity.

Over the past nine years, the ARCHEM project has sought to expand on this understanding by characterizing the original contents of the vessels associated with the Mediterranean cultures in question. Based out of the Museum of Cretan Ethnology Research Centre, ARCHEM has sampled thousands of vessels in the eastern Mediterranean (Greece, Israel, Egypt, Turkey) with the express purpose of illuminating these cross-cultural relationships from a new perspective. By identifying the contents of a high volume of exchanged objects, we hope to better understand the important roles these artifacts played in the economy and daily life of each consumer society, and the cultures with whom they kept in contact.


“Ossuaries and the Burials of Jesus and James.”
Wednesday, May 1, 2013, 7:30 pm
Prof. Jodi Magness (University of North Carolina)

How did the Jews of Jerusalem dispose of their dead in the time of Jesus? In this slide-illustrated lecture, we consider the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ death and burial in light of archaeological evidence, ending with a discussion of the so-called “Talpiyot tomb” (recently claimed to be the tomb of Jesus and his family) and the “James ossuary” (a stone box claimed to contain the remains of James the Just, the brother of Jesus).

Page last modified: December 20, 2013