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The Cleveland Archaeological Society 2014-2015 Lectures

Cleveland Archaeological Society 2014-2015 Lectures


“Mughal Caravanserais: Exchange and Power in Central Asia”
Wednesday, September 10, 7:30pm
Jennifer L. Campbell, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Anthropology, SUNY Potsdam

 A network of caravanserais, or roadside inns created for travelers, facilitated trade and travel across Asia, North Africa, and Southeast Europe, and the Silk Road. These inns became centers of cultural transmission and instruments for political reach. Dr. Campbell will describe her on-going research on the caravanserais in the Mughal region used between 1500 and 1800 AD. These Mughal Caravanserais served as vital nodes of imperial power, control, and the formation of identity. Dr. Campbell will present an architectural analysis that will reveal the social and political importance of these distinctive structures. 


“The Power of Silk Along the Silk Road”
Wednesday, October 1
Louise W. Mackie, Curator of Textiles and Islamic Art, Cleveland Museum of Art
Wine Spot Fundraiser


“The Newark Earthworks: a wonder of the ancient world”
Wednesday, October 8, 7:30pm
Bradley Lepper, Curator of Archaeology, Ohio Historical Society

The Newark Earthworks, in Central Ohio, is the largest set of prehistoric, geometric earthen enclosures in the world. The earthworks, or mounds, were built by the Hopewell cultural group between 100 B.C. and A.D. 400 by moving and shaping soil or rocks to form new topographical structures. These carefully crafted mounds covered nearly five square miles and were built using more than seven million cubic feet of natural material. A sophisticated knowledge of geometry and astronomy was encoded into the architecture of this ceremonial center, which may have also been a gathering place for pilgrims from across eastern North America. 


“Libya’s Cultural Heritage Under Threat”
Wednesday, November 12, 7:30pm
Susan Kane, Mildred C. Jay Professor of Art, Classical Archaeology, Department of Art, Oberlin College

Today all of Libya faces continuing significant threats and damage to its heritage sites due to unmanaged, unregulated development and civil disorder. With no constitution yet written, no clearly operating legal system, no defined property rights, and no organized police force, a major land-grab is underway in the new Libya that is causing more damage to archaeological sites than the events of the 2011 Revolution.

Virtually all of Libya’s heritage sites suffer from a lack of ongoing maintenance and inadequate security. In 2013 UNESCO has conducted two workshops in security and protection – a start, but much more has to be done, starting with the attitude of the Libyan people. During the 42 years of the Gaddafi regime, Libya’s cultural heritage from the pre-Arab period was seen as a painful reminder of Libya’s colonial past and therefore neglected for political reasons. And now in the context of the many challenges facing the new Libya, it is not surprising that cultural heritage struggles for recognition and support from both the government and the population at large.

Educational programs are needed to promote public awareness and appreciation of the long history of Libyan culture. The attitudes of the next generation must be developed. Just after the revolution in 2011, there were hopeful signs as NGOs and local initiatives to support cultural heritage were beginning to be organized all over Libya, many with the support of the foreign missions working in the country. But now, as this abstract is being written (August 2014), Libya is engaged in a burgeoning civil war. The country is fighting for its very soul. It remains unclear what the future will hold for the cultural heritage of Libya.


“From the Vantage of the Victory: New Research on the Nike in the Sanctuary of the Great Gods, Samothrace”
Wednesday, February 4, 7:30pm
Bonna Wescoat, Emory University, Director of Samothrace Excavations

Discovered by the French in 1863 and taken to the Louvre, the Winged Victory has recently undergone a new restoration in collaboration with Prof. Wescoat.  Come find our how a small bit of marble plumage found by the Americans was rejoined to her wings and other exciting new discoveries about this iconic victory monument.


“From Ethnohistory to Engineering: A Tale of Technological Ingenuity from Alaska’s Kodiak Archipelago”
Wednesday, March 4, 7:30pm
Amy Margaris, Department of Anthropology, Oberlin College

This lectures address the question of why prehistoric hunter-gatherers sometimes choose different raw materials to make tools used for sewing, hunting, and fishing.  It will bring together insights from three seemingly disparate sources of data: late prehistoric antler and bone artifacts from Kodiak, Alaska, ethnohistoric accounts, and experiments in materials science. Together, they help explain patterns and variability in how Native peoples of Alaska – and elsewhere – designed and used technologies that were critical for survival in risky environments.


“Cleopatra: An Archaeological Perspective on Egypt’s Last Pharaoh”
Wednesday, April 8, 7:30pm
John Hale, University of Louisville

Cleopatra, last pharaoh of Egypt, may be the most famous female ruler in all of history.  But her Roman enemies made her notorious for all the wrong reasons: her political ambitions, her sumptuous lifestyle, and above all her love affairs with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony.  Yet if we look past the long-standing stereotypes of popular culture, from Plutarch and Shakespeare to Elizabeth Taylor and Hollywood, the archaeological evidence paints a very different picture.  In this illustrated lecture, we will tour the Egypt that Cleopatra inherited from her Ptolemaic ancestors, view her self-chosen portraits on coins and temple walls, and take in her extraordinary achievements as goddess, priestess, queen, civil administrator, scholar, lover, and above all, mother.  Our journeys will follow Cleopatra from the Nile to the Tiber, and from desert shrines to the streets and palaces of her capital at Alexandria, now sunken beneath the waters of Alexandria harbor.  Archaeological discoveries create a truer picture of Cleopatra than the many literary and dramatic fantasies that have distorted the memory of this great leader.


“The Roman Triumph or Triumph over Romans? Civil Wars and the Architecture of Victory in Ancient Rome”
Wednesday, May 13, 7:30pm
Maggie Popkin, Associate Professor, Department of Art History, Case Western Reserve University

The Roman triumph was an elaborate ritual that celebrated Rome’s military victories over foreign peoples. From the republican period onward, the triumphal route was built up with monuments commemorating victories over foreigners and barbarians. Yet in the imperial period, the Roman emperors who lavished the most monuments on the triumphal route were those who had come to power as a result of civil wars: Augustus, the Flavians, and Septimius Severus. In this talk Dr. Popkin will explore how these Roman emperors exploited the triumphal route’s connotations of foreign victory to obfuscate their bloody and controversial wars against fellow Romans. 

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