Every week the Center for Ancient Studies sends a list of events related to the ancient world in the Philadelphia area to interested members.

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A Wall for All Seasons: The funerary chapel of Pahery at El Kab
Saturday, 14 March 2015
3:30 PM
Ronald Leprohon, University of Toronto
Penn Museum Classroom 2, University of Pennsylvania
*Entrance fees are $10 for the general public, $7 for University Museum members and UPenn Staff & Faculty, $5 for Students with ID, and FREE for ARCE-PA members and children under 12


Partial Tragedies of Resentment: The Acta Alexandrinorum and the Art of Repression in Roman Egypt
Monday, 16 March 2015
4:00 PM
David Ratzan, ISAW
Anderson Hall 821, Temple University


Philadelphia Seminar on Christian Origins: John Toland (1670–1722), Augustus Neander (1789–1850), William Hone (1780–1842), & Other Forgotten Figures
Thursday, 19 March 2015
7:00 PM
Annette Yoshiko Reed, University of Pennsylvania
Cohen Hall Second Floor Classics Lounge, University of Pennsylvania


Weights, Weighing, and the Ur Digitization Project
Friday, 20 March 2015
12:00 PM
Brad Hafford, University of Pennsylvania
Penn Museum Widener Lecture Hall, University of Pennsylvania


New Discoveries at Pompeii: The University of Cincinnati excavations of a ‘lost’ Pompeian neighborhood
Friday, 20 March 2015
4:30 PM
Steven Ellis, University of Cincinnati
Carpenter Library B21, Bryn Mawr College


Modeling Everyday Life in Crete and Cyprus with Reference to Egypt
Friday, 20 March 2015
6:30 PM
Eleni Mantzourani, University of Athens
The Institute of Fine Arts, NYU Lecture Hall, 1 East 78th St. New York, NY
RSVP Required. See: http://ancientstudies.fas.nyu.edu/page/events


Pilgrimage, Materiality, and Phenomenology: To Chaco Canyon and Beyond
Monday, 23 March 2015
12:00 PM
Ruth van Dyke, Binghamton University
Penn Museum 345, University of Pennsylvania
Sponsored by: Center for Ancient Studies, Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania


Disease and Therapy: medical and other therapeutical practices in prehistoric eastern Mediterranean
Monday, 23 March 2015
4:30 PM
Eleni Mantzourani, University of Athens, Onassis Foundation
Carpenter Library B21, Bryn Mawr College


The Sacrificial Ritus
Monday, 23 March 2015
4:45 PM
Michael Koortbojian, Princeton University
Silver Center for Arts and Science 503, New York University


Augustus: The First Roman Emperor and Organized Forgetting
Monday, 23 March 2015
6:00 PM
Martin Zimmermann,
Schermerhorn Hall 832, Columbia University


Revealing the City of King Midas: Archaeology and Conservation at Gordion
Tuesday, 24 March 2015
6:00 PM
Brian Rose, Peter Ferry, and Frank Matero, University of Pennsylvania
Penn Museum , University of Pennsylvania
Located about 100 kilometers southwest of Ankara, Turkey, Gordion was continually inhabited for nearly 4,000 years and is one of the most important archaeological sites in the Near East. In this talk, Dr. C. Brian Rose, Peter C. Ferry Curator-in-Charge, Mediterranean Section, and Frank Matero, Professor of Architecture, University of Pennsylvania, present an overview of the most recent archaeological and conservation fieldwork under the auspices of the University of Pennsylvania—including new discoveries with the monumental "Midas Mound" and a new circuit of fortifications revealed by remote sensing. The talk highlights the benefits of a conjoined archaeological and conservation research program working together to reveal, interpret, and present this remarkable site. Free admission.


Rostovtzeff Lecture Series: Sumer in the Mesopotamian World: Reading Traditions & Traditions of Reading, III
Tuesday, 24 March 2015
6:00 PM
Gonzalo Rubio, Pennsylvania State University
ISAW ISAW Lecture Hall, 15 East 84th St. New York, NY
RSVP Required. http://isaw.nyu.edu/events/rostovtzeffthree NOTICE: Admission to the ISAW Lecture Hall closes 10 minutes after the scheduled start time. In a distinctively modern understanding, the term Sumerian often appears essentialized (the Sumerian World, Sumerian Art, etc.). This practice, however, reflects a construct, which is at odds with the original sources and stems from conflating linguistic realities and perceived identities. Instead, the civilization that blossomed in the southernmost region of Ancient Mesopotamia can be approached in accordance with categories that attempt to reflect (or at least not to ignore) their own original, explicit and implicit, discourses, inasmuch as they can be reconstructed. Any such reconstruction has to deal primarily with the nature of textual production in Sumerian and constitutes an endeavor defined and defied by the inherent writtenness of these traditions already in the third-millennium BCE. In this regard, our own reading of the Sumerian corpus and its tradition can be contrasted with the ancient readings enacted in Mesopotamia itself, particularly long after the Sumerian language had become a cultural relic to which only a few scholars and bureaucrats had access. The early decades of Sumerology were dominated by the study of historical, religious, and literary compositions. The field, however, eventually experienced a shift towards economic and administrative matters, towards the nitty-gritty of social history. This scholarly preoccupation with the daily lives of common people, as opposed to the intellectual realm of the elites, was called “Onionology” by I.J. Gelb, who placed it within “the struggle between Tammuz and onions.” The subsequent scholarly effort has yielded a veritable jungle of economic documents, often elliptic scraps of bureaucratic entries. As such, these constellations of texts constitute individual puzzles, which, when put together, can shed light on the administrative institutions of individual polities at specific times. This multitude of puzzles calls for theoretical frameworks and models in order to reconstruct the economic realities to which they bear witness. No text speaks for itself: their textuality is contingent upon an act of reading. Such an interpretative process blurs the apparent dichotomy between “Onionology” and “Tammuzology.” For the institutions and phenomena behind the textual information pertaining to land tenure, trade systems, private vs. public agents, the role of silver, and so forth, were also the product of the same ideological mechanisms that shaped the literary, religious, and historical corpora. Within the intrinsic writtenness of the evidence, rather than dealing with different disciplines, one is simply approaching diverse textual genres with their distinctive types of ambiguity.


War Stories, from Troy to Baghdad (and beyond): Reading Homer with Combat Veterans
Thursday, 26 March 2015
4:30 PM
Roberta Stewart, Dartmouth College
Cohen Hall 402, University of Pennsylvania
Roberta Stewart presents the work of an experimental reading course, a book group, designed for combat veterans. Since 2008 she has read Homer, Odyssey and Iliad, with combat veterans and used the ancient texts to explore the soldier's experience of combat and return from war. The talk will summarize the course (its premises, design, logistics, and sessions), explore the particular value of Homer, and suggest next steps for reading ancient literature with vets.


Rostovtzeff Lecture Series: Sumer in the Mesopotamian World: Reading Traditions & Traditions of Reading, IV
Thursday, 26 March 2015
6:00 PM
Gonzalo Rubio, Pennsylvania State University
ISAW ISAW Lecture Hall, 15 East 84th St. New York, NY
RSVP Required. http://isaw.nyu.edu/events/rostovtzefffour NOTICE: Admission to the ISAW Lecture Hall closes 10 minutes after the scheduled start time. In a distinctively modern understanding, the term Sumerian often appears essentialized (the Sumerian World, Sumerian Art, etc.). This practice, however, reflects a construct, which is at odds with the original sources and stems from conflating linguistic realities and perceived identities. Instead, the civilization that blossomed in the southernmost region of Ancient Mesopotamia can be approached in accordance with categories that attempt to reflect (or at least not to ignore) their own original, explicit and implicit, discourses, inasmuch as they can be reconstructed. Any such reconstruction has to deal primarily with the nature of textual production in Sumerian and constitutes an endeavor defined and defied by the inherent writtenness of these traditions already in the third-millennium BCE. In this regard, our own reading of the Sumerian corpus and its tradition can be contrasted with the ancient readings enacted in Mesopotamia itself, particularly long after the Sumerian language had become a cultural relic to which only a few scholars and bureaucrats had access. According to Herodotus, every Babylonian woman had to have sexual relations with a stranger at least once in her lifetime in the temple of Aphrodite; this stranger would then pay the woman with a coin, which immediately became sacred. This is the basis for the assumption of the existence of “sacred prostitution” in Ancient Mesopotamia. In fact, some native Mesopotamian sources seem to place priestesses in the same context as prostitutes. In Early Dynastic texts (mid-third millennium BCE) from Fāra, both regular prostitutes and priestesses are mentioned in the same lists of rations as dependants of a high temple official. Similar examples can be found in documents from various Babylonian cities in the first half of the second millennium BCE. This raises the question of whether there was a direct relation, cultic or economic, between temples and prostitution in southern Mesopotamia, or whether earlier functions performed by priestesses and cultic practitioners were misconstrued or recontextualized in later periods. As we strive to interpret ancient records on their own terms, so the ancient Mesopotamians themselves struggled to make sense of roles and institutions whose nature and functions evolved and mutated throughout three millennia.


The Serpent Column: a Cultural Biography
Friday, 27 March 2015
12:00 PM
Paul Stevenson, Radboud University (Netherlands)/ Onassis
Penn Museum Widener Lecture Hall, University of Pennsylvania


More than Dirt: Princeton and Archaeology
Friday, 27 March 2015
1:30 PM
Scheide-Caldwell House 103, Princeton University
This symposium will present the exciting results of Princeton’s archaeological projects in Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Romania, and Turkey. The expeditions investigate a wide variety of cultures and time periods, but are united in using archaeological approaches to answer important historical, social, and political questions. The purpose of this symposium is to present the latest findings and to highlight the types of questions archaeology can---and cannot!---begin to answer.


Ovid’s Pygmalion and a Poetics of Touch
Friday, 27 March 2015
4:30 PM
Melissa Haynes, Princeton University
Carpenter Library B21, Bryn Mawr College


Urbanism and Ancient Maya Neighborhoods: Social and Spatial Organization
Monday, 30 March 2015
12:00 PM
Scott Hutson, University of Kentucky
Penn Museum 345, University of Pennsylvania
Sponsored by: Center for Ancient Studies, Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania


The Akchakhan-kala Wall Paintings: Kingship and Religion in Ancient Khorezm
Monday, 30 March 2015
6:00 PM
Alison Betts, University of Sydney
ISAW ISAW Lecture Hall, 15 East 84th St. New York, NY
NOTICE: Admission to the ISAW Lecture Hall closes 10 minutes after the scheduled start time Akchakhan-kala is perhaps the largest, and has proved to be certainly among the richest, of the sites known in ancient Khorezm. The main occupation at the site has been dated to c. late 3rd century BCE to late 2nd century CE. Akchakhan-kala is particularly remarkable for its wealth of well- preserved wall paintings and clay sculpture. A recently cleaned painting has revealed important new evidence for Zoroastrian imagery in association with royal ritual and cult practice. This paper will discuss the site and the important implications of the newly discovered monumental image.


Crossing Cultures Crossing Time: New Displays for Historic Collections at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
Tuesday, 31 March 2015
4:30 PM
Susan Walker, Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford
Lang Performing Arts Center LPAC Cinema, Swarthmore College


Past and Future under a Fascist Obelisk: Aurelio Amatucci’s Codex fori Mussolini
Tuesday, 31 March 2015
5:30 PM
Bettina Reitz-Joosse, University of Pennsylvania
Williams Hall Cherpack Lounge, 543, University of Pennsylvania


Jephtah's Daughter, Sarah's Son: Children, Death, and Scripture in Late Antiquity
Tuesday, 31 March 2015
6:00 PM
Maria Doerfler, ISAW
ISAW 2nd Floor Lecture Hall , 15 East 84th St. New York, NY
NOTICE: Admission to the ISAW Lecture Hall closes 10 minutes after the scheduled start time Childhood mortality rates in the pre-modern world were notoriously high: as many as half of all children did not live to see their tenth birthday. Yet, perhaps surprisingly, there is little explicit evidence of parental grief over such deaths: ancient burial grounds offer at best ambiguous evidence for children's commemoration, and letters and speeches directed at those who had suffered bereavement encourage stoic self-possession in the face of tragedy. Late ancient Christians differed little from their Jewish and Greco-Roman contemporaries in these regards; if anything, the focus on an all-knowing Deity intensified calls for parental equanimity in theological treatises. Beneath these elite conversations about childhood mortality, however, lurks a broader if quieter stratum of discourses surrounding families facing grief and loss. This lecture examines the treatment of biblical characters who had suffered (or expected to suffer) the death of a child in late ancient homilies and liturgical writings. By expounding, inventing, and valorizing parental bereavement in the patriarchs and prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures, late ancient writers could give voice to their and their audiences' experiences of loss, outrage, despair, and need for consolation in ways that shaped conversations about the death of children for centuries to come.


Reviving tradition in Hadrianic Rome: from incineration to inhumation
Thursday, 2 April 2015
4:30 PM
Barbara Borg, University of Exeter
East Pyne 010, Princeton University
Open to the public, reception to follow.


Long-Term Occupation and Seasonal Mobility in Mongolia: A Comparative Analysis of Two Communities
Thursday, 9 April 2015
6:00 PM
Jean-Luc Houle, Western Kentucky University
ISAW 2nd Floor Lecture Hall , 15 East 84th St. New York, NY
NOTICE: Admission to the ISAW Lecture Hall closes 10 minutes after the scheduled start time An important aspect of the development of more complex forms of social organization was the emergence of larger more integrated communities. These complex societies frequently came into existence after the establishment of face-to-face sedentary agricultural life. However, many mobile pastoralist societies also exhibited complex features of social organization. To be sure, evidence of elaborate burials and large-scale communal projects have all been linked to such developments in the Eurasian Steppes. The question remains, however, under what circumstances can mobile pastoralists develop and sustain complex social organizations? This presentation compares Bronze and Iron Age settlement data as well as data from burial and ritual sites to try and understand under what circumstances pastoralists in the Khanuy Valley region of central Mongolia managed to develop complex social organizations while it does not seem to have been the case in the Khoton Lake region of western Mongolia. Preliminary results suggest that environmental conditions and stability of occupation, rather than simply continuity of occupation, played an important role. In addition, findings also suggest a need for caution when interpreting common archaeological indicators of mobility and residential fixedness—too often linked to specific types of monuments and the permanency of domestic features.


Horace as a Love Poet
Friday, 10 April 2015
4:30 PM
Richard Tarrant, Harvard University
Carpenter Library B21, Bryn Mawr College