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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The Speaking Steps: Reconstructing Narrative and Image on the Great Hieroglyphic Stairway at Copan.
Saturday, 14 May 2022
1:30 PM
David Stuart, University of Texas at Austin
Virtual, Zoom,
The Hieroglyphic Stairway at Copan is famous for being the longest inscription from the Maya world. But most of the text was discovered in fallen blocks, hopeless out of their original order and placement. Beginning in the 1980s, a concerted effort began to conserve and reconstruct the jumbled portions of the text, using old photographic records and new insights into Maya epigraphy. This talk will summarize these collaborative efforts, which Stuart has been a part of since 1986. Today, the end is in sight for the reconstruction and publication of the Hieroglyphic Stairway, as best as we can understand it. More information and registration here: https://precolumbian.org/next-meeting/
Sponsored by: Pre-Columbian Society of the University of Pennsylvania Museum


Global Guide Tour: Africa Galleries
Saturday, 14 May 2022
2:30 PM
Penn Museum , University of Pennsylvania
What better way to learn about the culture of another place than to speak to someone who grew up there? Join us for a thought-provoking tour of the Africa Galleries led by a guide who grew up on the continent. See incredible artifacts from the great kingdoms like Asante and Benin, while hearing about traditions still practiced today. Through the Global Guides program, the Museum offers gallery tours led by Philadelphians who grew up in countries around the world. In addition to sharing historical information about the artifacts on display, the guides combine personal experiences and stories to interpret objects from their countries of origin. Tour begins in the Main Entrance. Virtual option being offered Friday, May 20th. Registration here: https://www.penn.museum/calendar/1200/virtual-global-guide-tour
Sponsored by: Penn Museum


Daily Lives in an Age of Empires: Local Economic Life during the Late Bronze Age (1600-1200 BCE, Turkey)
Sunday, 15 May 2022
2:00 PM
Sarah Adcock, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, NYU
Virtual, Zoom ,
The Late Bronze Age (1600-1200 BCE) in the Eastern Mediterranean stands out in the history of the ancient world as a time of political and economic consolidation, with multiple great powers – Mycenae, Babylonia, Egypt, the Hittites – exerting their military power in the region and engaging in an unprecedented degree of international trade and diplomacy. The archaeological and historical records from this period offer a treasure trove of evidence including monumental architecture, kingly correspondence, and luxury goods from far-off locales. As a result, research on the Late Bronze Age has often focused on elite lives and histories, but the daily lives of non-elite individuals have remained largely unexamined. What was life like for those living outside of imperial capitals and other major centers? How were local practices of day-to-day life shaped by imperial aims? How deeply were rural settlements embedded in the political and economic structures of empire? In this lecture, I address these questions using evidence from the site of Çadır Höyük, a rural center in the provinces of one of the major political players of the Late Bronze Age, the Hittite empire (modern-day Turkey). In particular, I use the ancient animal remains from Çadır Höyük to reconstruct the organization of day-to-day economic activities at the settlement. I consider the choices Çadırans made about which animals to raise (e.g., more cattle? fewer goats? lots of pigs?) and what products to focus on (e.g. meat? wool/fiber? dairy? a combination?). I then discuss how these choices relate to the settlement’s place within the broader economic system of the Hittite empire and how they can help us characterize what life was really like at Çadır during the Late Bronze Age. More information and registration here: https://www.archaeological.org/event/daily-lives-in-an-age-of-empires-local-economic-life-during-the-late-bronze-age-1600-1200-bce-turkey/
Sponsored by: AIA Society, Westchester


Global Guide Tour: Asia Galleries
Sunday, 15 May 2022
2:30 PM
Penn Museum , University of Pennsylvania
What better way to learn about the culture of another place than to speak to someone who grew up there? Join us for a thought-provoking tour of the Asia Galleries led by a guide who grew up on the continent. See everything from oracle bones, the origin of Chinese writing, to a beautiful collection of Buddhist artwork revealing international Silk Road connections. Through the Global Guides program, the Museum offers gallery tours led by Philadelphians who grew up in countries around the world. In addition to sharing historical information about the artifacts on display, the guides combine personal experiences and stories to interpret objects from their countries of origin. Tour begins in the Main Entrance
Sponsored by: Penn Museum


Saving Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Online
Monday, 16 May 2022
12:00 PM
Anna E. Kijas and Quinn Dombrowski, Tufts University and Stanford University
Virtual, Zoom ,
In the midst Russia’s War on Ukraine, how can crowd-sourced efforts to preserve digital cultural heritage pave the way for future healing? “We are a group of more than 1,300 cultural heritage professionals – librarians, archivists, researchers, programmers – working together to identify and archive at-risk sites, digital content, and data in Ukrainian cultural heritage institutions while the country is under attack. We are using a combination of technologies to crawl and archive sites and content, including the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, the Browsertrix crawler. So far we have saved more than 30TB of scanned documents, artworks and many other digital materials from 3,500+ websites of Ukrainian museums, libraries and archives.” Register in advance at https://tinyurl.com/AAMLHealing
Sponsored by: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design, Drexel University


Coffee with a Codex: Medicine and Magic of Women
Wednesday, 18 May 2022
12:00 PM
Dot Porter, University of Pennsylvania
Virtual, Zoom ,
Every Wednesday at 12pm EST / 5pm GMT we host an informal lunch or coffee Zoom meeting (depending on your time zone) to visit virtually with Kislak Curator Dot Porter, onsite at the Kislak Center, and talk about one of the manuscripts from Penn’s collections. Each week Dot will bring out a manuscript (or two), give a brief overview and then answer questions and lead conversation. Registration is required but the visits are open to everybody. On May 18, Dot will bring out Ms. Codex 1136, 15th c. German copy of De secretis mulierum (also known as Secreta mulierum), a work erroneously attributed to Albertus Magnus and concerning various issues of women’s health, with an unidentified commentary. Register to attend: https://libcal.library.upenn.edu/event/9153576
Sponsored by: Schoenberg Institute of Manuscript Studies, Penn


Building an Academic Career in Sinology
Thursday, 19 May 2022
1:00 AM
Tom Mullaney, Stanford University
Virtual, Zoom,
More information and registration here: https://sinologymethods.com/schedule/
Sponsored by: Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Penn, Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies, University of Zurich


From a Roman House to a Bourbon Palace: Finding Ancient Rome on the Bay of Naples
Thursday, 19 May 2022
5:00 PM
Carol C. Mattusch, George Mason University
Virtual, Zoom,
Fascination with the ancient Romans on the Bay of Naples began with the Spanish Bourbon excavations at Herculaneum (1738) and Pompeii (1748). Five of the eight volumes of the magisterial Bourbon publication - Delle antichità di Ercolano – were about the paintings that were being removed from the walls of ancient houses and displayed in the Royal Museum. Thomas Martyn (1735-1825) and John Lettice (1737-1832), pirated 50 engravings of the paintings from the Antichità for a small-scale version, The Antiquities of Herculaneum, 1773, fanning the growing attraction for the Bourbon discoveries. Visitors on the Grand Tour were lured to Naples by the sites, the emerging images of ancient lives, the Museum, the continuing eruptions of Mt. Vesuvius, and the vibrant cultural life of Naples. Artists and writers featured Pompeii in their works: William Gell illustrated Pompeii as if it were coming back to life; Bulwer-Lytton imagined the city’s violent destruction. And lighthearted “Pompeiian” designs were painted on the walls and ceilings of public buildings and private homes from Athens, Greece, to Saratoga Springs, New York. More information and registration here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/a-roman-house-to-a-bourbon-palace-finding-ancient-rome-on-the-bay-ofnaples-registration-250950077437
Sponsored by: Institute for the Study of the Ancient World


New Archaeological Discoveries on Samothrace
Friday, 20 May 2022
11:00 AM
Samuel Holzman, Princeton University
Aaron Burr Hall 219, Princeton University
The sanctuary of the Great Gods on the Greek island of Samothrace was home to one of the ancient world’s most renowned mystery cults. The kings and queens who vied to succeed Alexander the Great funded lavish building projects at the remote island sanctuary where Alexander’s parents had first met. Currently, the American archaeological excavation on Samothrace is investigating the sanctuary’s largest building, a 100-meter-long portico dubbed the Stoa. Hidden behind the Stoa’s austere Doric façade we have discovered the earliest case of flat arches, a construction technology widely used in the Roman empire as well as the modern world.
Sponsored by: Department of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University, Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies, Princeton


Colloquium on Ancient Rhetoric with Laura Loporcaro
Friday, 20 May 2022
12:00 PM
Laura Loporcaro, Oxford University
Virtual, Zoom,
Colloquium on Ancient Rhetoric (CAR) is a regular venue for exchange of ideas and presentation of work-in-progress on ancient rhetoric and its reception. Through a series of informal events, we aim to build a sense of community among scholars interested in ancient rhetoric broadly construed. We welcome scholars at all levels, including early career and graduate students, who are using comparative or applied perspectives and those working on the reception of ancient rhetoric. We are especially interested in scholars that work at the intersection of rhetoric and other fields, including but not limited to art, literature, political theory, and gender studies. Registration here: https://harvard.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJcuf-ygqjgoHNU7awLq5uHdG8YMUkrIN1mW
Sponsored by: Colloquium on Ancient Rhetoric


Conference: Comparative Mysticisms
Saturday, 21 May 2022
9:45 AM
Amy Hollywood (Keynote), Harvard Divinity School
Virtual, Zoom ,
The Comparative Mysticisms conference aims to bring together several scholars from different disciplines and areas of study to examine how a variety of traditions has tried to express direct experience with the divine. A mystical event presents as a serious paradox: it is an event entirely dissimilar to anything else, but offers assimilation to the divine, which must be conveyed in comprehensible terms, which form the subject of this conference. All traditions use words and sensuous vehicles to express the notionally ineffable. Even if experiences differ, the same channels of discourse are used across traditions. In trying to express the paradox inherent in the mystical encounter, the language employed taps into other sources of perception and experience. Our first panel aims to examine how these vehicles of description move across media and genres and how these recurring patterns function alongside one another. The two papers on this panel take their examples from pre-modernity, and both try to place their monuments (the works of Dionysius the Areopagite and Ste. Foy in Conques) in their full sensory context. The second panel addresses how the individual event becomes public and what happens in its aftermath. These sensuous metaphors are embedded in the physical, the site of political experience. Although these stem from individual, private experiences, they require a common corporeality, a sense of oneself as embodied in a social community, and the movement from private to public life must be enacted in some manner. Both papers consider the fundamental issue of group experience and embodiment: the one synchronically (the case of late antique Jewish poetry) and the other diachronically (Chinese Buddhism across time and place). In the third and final panel, our speakers explore the movement of mystical events into new contexts. After the initial experience, mystical encounters take on lives of their own: they spread and adapt. Through such a movement, however, they take on different meanings and are re-interpreted to fit new situations. The papers in panel complicate understandings mysticism as universal or generalizable: one locates a particular French mysticism that runs the course of modernity up through the works of Georges Bataille and the other asks what “mysticism” means in the twenty-first century and how it might be understood as an ongoing phenomenon. Registration here: https://comparativemysticisms.wordpress.com/contact/
Sponsored by: Humanities Council, Princeton University, Department of Classics at Princeton University, Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies, Princeton