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

If you wish to subscribe to this list please follow the instructions in our Contact page.
“Tombs, Transformations, and Athenian Vases in Etruria
Friday, 22 October 2021
11:00 AM
Sheramy Bundrick, University of South Florida
Virtual, Zoom ,
Register here: https://ancient-mediterranean.columbia.edu/events/lecture-sheramy-bundrick-university-of-south-florida/
Sponsored by: Center for the Ancient Mediterranean, Columbia


Athenion of Maronea (Pliny, Historia Naturalis 35.134) and the Painting of his Time
Friday, 22 October 2021
12:00 PM
Michael Koortbojian , Princeton
Penn Museum Classroom 2, University of Pennsylvania
Sponsored by: Art and Archaeology of the Mediterranean World at Penn


Virtual Global Guide Tour: Mexico and Central America Galleries
Friday, 22 October 2021
2:30 PM
Virtual, Zoom ,
What better way to learn about the culture of another place than to speak to someone who is from there? Join us for a thought-provoking tour of the Mexico and Central America Gallery by a guide who grew up in the region. See incredible artifacts from the Maya and Aztec civilizations in context with contemporary cultures from this part of the globe. 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. Register here: https://www.penn.museum/calendar/936/virtual-global-guide-tour
Sponsored by: Penn Museum


The Ancient City: Lessons for a Modern Age
Friday, 22 October 2021
3:30 PM
Dean Saitta, University of Denver
Virtual, Zoom ,
The discipline of archaeology has generated many excellent studies of cities in the ancient world, from their origins six thousand years ago in Mesopotamia to more recent manifestations of urbanism on every continent. Ancient cities were diverse in physical layout, in the extent to which they were formally planned and governed, and in their histories of development. In recent years we’ve gained valuable insights into how urban life was experienced by a broad cross-section of ancient populations, including immigrants and refugees. This lecture will highlight the most significant of these findings about ancient cities of the Old and New Worlds, and discuss the utility of this knowledge for city building and placemaking today. Virtual event. More information here: https://www.archaeological.org/event/the-ancient-city-lessons-for-a-modern-age/
Sponsored by: AIA Albany


What Kind of Reception? Martha Graham’s 1947 Dance “Night Journey”: Jocasta, Memory, Desire, and Noguchi’s Bed
Friday, 22 October 2021
4:30 PM
Ronnie Ancona, Hunter College
Carpenter Library B21, Bryn Mawr College
Stemming from Ancona’s current project, Classical Reception of Greek Myth in Modern Dance and the Visual Arts: The Collaboration of Martha Graham and Isamu Noguchi, the first part of the talk addresses some of the larger issues involved with Graham’s reception of Greek myth in numerous dances and her collaboration with the sculptor and set designer Isamu Noguchi. The second part focuses specifically on Graham’s reception of the Oedipus story in her 1947 dance piece, “Night Journey.” Graham, as both choreographer and dancer, typically distilled features of Greek myth that interested her mind and her body (as performer). This piece is a woman-centered exploration of desire, memory, and a “bed” (designed by Noguchi). Jocasta is the central figure with Oedipus, Tiresias, and the Chorus in supporting roles. Graham’s work and her collaboration with Noguchi show how Classics, specifically Greek myth, was re-imagined through movement, images, and objects, rather than words, in the mid-twentieth century, and with a woman at its center (Graham/Jocasta). One of the values of classical reception is its ability to have Classics continually reinvent itself.
Sponsored by: Department of Classical Studies, Bryn Mawr College


Global Guide Tour: Mexico and Central America Gallery
Saturday, 23 October 2021
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 Mexico and Central America Gallery by a guide who grew up in the region. See incredible artifacts from the Maya and Aztec civilizations in context with contemporary cultures from this part of the globe. 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


Global Guide Tour: Africa Galleries
Sunday, 24 October 2021
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.
Sponsored by: Penn Museum


Wonderwerk Cave: Archaeology at the Edge of the Kalahari
Sunday, 24 October 2021
3:00 PM
Michael Chazan, University of Toronto
Virtual, Zoom ,
The town of Kuruman or Ga-Sagonyana is at the edge of the Kalahari in the Northern Cape Province. The archaeology of this region is an extraordinarily rich record of human presence over a period of two million years. The lecturer will present the experience of working in this fascinating part of the world and the results of research at the site of Wonderwerk Cave where he co-directs a project that has documented the earliest known evidence of cave occupation by human ancestors. This talk will give a sense of what it is like to do archaeology in a society experiencing dramatic social change, as South Africa experiences the transformation from apartheid. At the same time the current state of research—what we have learned and what we are still struggling to understand—will be presented for Wonderwerk and also for the neighboring sites of Kathu Pan and Canteen Kopje. Virtual event, register here: https://www.archaeological.org/event/wonderwerk-cave-archaeology-at-the-edge-of-the-kalahari-3/
Sponsored by: AIA Staten Island


Reconstructing the Experience of the Divine in Ancient Mesopotamia: An Argument for Direct Perception, Decentralized Cognition, and Sensorial Plasticity.
Monday, 25 October 2021
12:00 PM
Anastasia Amrhein, Bryn Mawr
Penn Museum 345, University of Pennsylvania
The senses are a conundrum.  Sensation is a process that is both biological and cultural, one that often evades analysis, while at the same time furnishing us with our objects of study.  What, then, might an anthropology of (and beyond) the “sensorium” look like? The 2021-2022 Penn Anthropology Colloquium proposes to consider “sense” as a “boundary object” (Star and Griesemer 1989; star 2010) within our four-field discipline, one that has been differentially reckoned with and reified by archaeological, biological, cultural, and linguistic anthropologists. Despite the different identities accrued by this object across anthropology, “sense” also invites conversations across these boundaries. Diverse anthropologists invoke a number of mediating “keywords” that relate to the study of sensuous or sensorial phenomena: affect and experience; body and mind; ecologies and environments; kinesthesia and multi-modality; materiality and mediation; information and infrastructure; among many others. ”Sense” thus serves as a productive point of departure for examining wider comparative issues, beyond an explicit focus on “the sensorium” per se. Accordingly, the 2021-2022 Penn Anthropology Colloquium investigates “sense” in its widest possible sense. We are particularly interested in developing lines of inquiry that attend to and interrogate the following questions: • How can we understand sensation and perception as processes that are at once biological, experiential, and social? • How (and to what end) are sensory continua or gradients segmented into discrete dimensions of socio-semiotic life? What do such segmentations reveal about the relations between sensorial and discursive semiosis? • How can we engage critically with sense modalities beyond sight and hearing in fieldwork, analysis, and interpretation?  How has our near total reliance on vision and sound shaped anthropology? • From its origins in the Boasian critique of psychophysics in the late nineteenth century, to more recent decolonizing interventions, Americanist anthropology has long grappled with questions of sense and sensation. How might certain genealogies of sense and sensation illuminate new histories of anthropology as a discipline?   We invite you to probe these questions with us. The Penn anthropology colloquium is a scholarly forum that brings together around fifty to seventy-five students and scholars from the university and the greater Philadelphia area each week. 
Sponsored by: Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, Center for Ancient Studies


The Sound of Silence: On the Sonic Aspects in Plato’s Cave” and “Ṭūr ‘Abdīn Frontiers, New Archeological and Historical Perspectives on the Eastern Border
Tuesday, 26 October 2021
5:00 PM
Sinem Kılıç and Virginia Sommella , Freie Universität Berlin and Bilkent University
Virtual, Zoom,
Registration is restricted to academic participants. Undergrads, graduates, postdocs, & faculty are welcome. To RSVP, visit this weblink: https://as.nyu.edu/ancientstudies/events/fall-2021/ancient-world-graduate-workshop-series0.html. For more information, email: nyuniversitysas@gmail.com
Sponsored by: NYU Society for Ancient Studies, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World Student Council


The Hungry Eye: Eating, Drinking, and European Culture from Rome to the Renaissance
Tuesday, 26 October 2021
6:00 PM
Leonard Barkan and Carolina Mangone, Princeton University
Virtual, Zoom,
Eating and drinking can be aesthetic as well as sensory experiences. The Hungry Eye takes readers from antiquity to the Renaissance to explore the central role of food and drink in literature, art, philosophy, religion, and statecraft. It is an erudite and uniquely personal look at all the glorious ways that food and drink have transfigured Western arts and high culture.We invite you to a conversation between the author, Leonard Barkan, and Renaissance specialist Carolina Mangone. Register here: https://artandarchaeology.princeton.edu/events/leonard-barkan-and-carolina-mangone-hungry-eye-eating-drinking-and-european-culture-rome
Sponsored by: Humanities Council, Princeton, Department of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University, Labyrinth Books


Archaeology of the Headwaters of the East Branch of Codurus Creek
Tuesday, 26 October 2021
6:30 PM
Katherine Sterner, Towson University
Virtual, Zoom,
Mr. Burnell Diehl collected approximately 440 artifacts between 1933 and 1938 in the fields adjacent to an unnamed tributary to the East Branch of Codorus Creek, but the site was never reported to the state and is not listed in the state site files. For five weeks in the summer of 2021, students from Towson University conducted a systematic reconnaissance survey of the headwaters of the East Branch of Codorus Creek with the goals of: (1) locating and determining the level of preservation of the archaeological site collected by Mr. Diehl and (2) identifying other archaeological sites proximate to Mr. Diehl’s collection locale along the East Branch of Codorus Creek. The survey identified one seasonal logistical camp, as well as limited traces of the much larger site collected by Mr. Diehl. The site appears to have been mostly eroded away due to decades of plowing and grading for a wetland mitigation project. However, analysis of Mr. Diehl’s collection, supplemented by the survey data provides us with insights into the role that headwaters played in the prehistoric lifeways of people living in the Lower Susquehanna Drainage. Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcvdOCrqj4uGtOXF8NmidGU5CTSYMVlkJtW
Sponsored by: Pennsylvania Archaeological Council


Late Antique Empires on the Red Sea: Wars Without Faith
Wednesday, 27 October 2021
1:00 PM
Valentina Grasso, NYU and ISAW
Virtual, Zoom ,
This lecture aims to analyse the interactions between Jews and Christians in sixth century South Arabia, offering some reflections on the wider late antique socio-economic and political map. The talk will present a comprehensive analysis of this period through a reading of literary and epigraphic material, reconstructing the spread of Christianity in South Arabia and the events leading to the massacre of the Christians of Najrān in 523. It is a recurrent topos for late antique hagiographies and histories to ascribe the evangelisation of a region to the arrival of an itinerant figure leading to the sudden conversion of the entire population. However, this trend was the cumulative result of socio-economic networks and migrations, as the exchange of ideas followed that of resources. Accordingly, the depiction of the massacre of Najran as a 'religious slaughter' reflects more the 'religious' character of the available literary sources than the actual unfolding of the events, as economic reasons were the main motivations behind the negus's invasion of South Arabia. Registration is required here: https://isaw.nyu.edu/events/empires-on-the-red-sea
Sponsored by: Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, NYU


The Talmud in the Sea of Babylon
Thursday, 28 October 2021
12:00 PM
Shai Secunda, Bard College
Virtual, Zoom,
The Babylonian Talmud is by most measures a unique text in the history of religious literature. Its impressive size and complexity are remarkable, as is the great variety of topics and genres that it covers. At the same time, the Talmud is one component of the rabbinic canon, which opens with the Mishnah and includes many other compilations, including the Babylonian Talmud’s textual “sister,” the Palestinian Talmud. Register here: https://katz.sas.upenn.edu/events/talmud-sea-babylon The Babylonian Talmud is also neighbored by other major religious works of late antiquity, and it bears instructive similarities to, among other religious canons, the Zoroastrian tradition. This talk will introduce the Talmud as one distinct text among other classical Jewish works, and as an important component of—to adopt Guy Stroumsa’s term—the “scriptural galaxy” of the Sasanian Empire.
Sponsored by: Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, Klatt Family, Harry Stern Family Foundation


Jewish Women’s Wills before 1600: Gender, Religion, and Choice in a Global Republic of Instruments
Thursday, 28 October 2021
12:00 PM
Rena Lauer, Oregon State University
Virtual, Zoom,
From Cairo to Crete to Catalonia, significant numbers of premodern Jewish women chose to ignore male-centered inheritance patterns and record last wills and testaments, in Hebrew, Latin, Judeo-Arabic, and other vernaculars. This paper offers an introductory look into a new digital humanities project that aims to collect all extant Jewish women’s wills before 1600. It then presents a legal analysis of a ?core sample? of wills through which we can see the potential uses and implications of such a large-scale, big-data, global project: the question of Jewish women’s choice to utilize a secular (or Jewish) legal instrument, and the ways in which this choice differed from that of Jewish male testators and non-Jewish female testators. This case study, focusing predominantly on the late medieval and early modern Italian sphere, will also consider the global and local nature of these choices. A manifesto and work-in-progress, this paper aims to bridge a divide between big data and granular analysis, while it openly asks more questions than it can yet answer. Zoom details: https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://pennlaw.zoom.us/j/95554529138?pwd=aTZvTWI2MFVOMVhKbzNuOGU5T1R1QT09__;!!IBzWLUs!CFBfBOdlblzFAMM0Qm6uNLaEEm91A5mQqY0HBpijqcl9yK1MrIjK0z0UdNrOdXRevIv8$ <https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://pennlaw.zoom.us/j/95554529138?pwd=aTZvTWI2MFVOMVhKbzNuOGU5T1R1QT09__;!!IBzWLUs!H5HZU8ytUDGACtk9zHF57T5t_XKb5zyWc9PW8opQ4KMJrwryfIYo9hNoNwuiCtkuXw$> Meeting ID: 955 5452 9138 Passcode: 371886
Sponsored by: Penn Law, Department of History, University of Pennsylvania


Frank M. Snowden, Jr., Race, and the Ancient Roots of American Modernity
Thursday, 28 October 2021
4:45 PM
Christopher Parmenter, University of Pennsylvania
Cohen Hall 402, University of Pennsylvania
Between 1947 and 2001, the African American professor, diplomat, and dean Frank M. Snowden, Jr laid out an influential thesis about ‘race relations’ in the ancient Mediterranean. According to Snowden, Greeks and Romans were ‘white’; Africans, whom Greeks and Romans called ‘Ethiopians’, were ‘black’; Greek and Roman societies lacked modern ‘color prejudice’. In this article, I contextualize the development of Snowden’s ‘race relations’ thesis in the politics of the early Cold War. Reviewing Snowden’s research notes archived at Howard University, I argue that Snowden — who travelled widely after the Second World War as a US diplomat — purposefully distanced his thesis from the sociology of race during the 1940–50s. Instead, Snowden envisioned American racial categories as permanent fixtures of world history, optimistically looking to Greece and Rome as models for a post-segregation America. Hybrid event, register here for Zoom access: https://www.classics.upenn.edu/events/department-colloquium-christopher-parmenter-penn-frank-m-snowden-jr-race-and-ancient-roots
Sponsored by: Department of Classical Studies, University of Pennsylvania


The Dunhuang 敦煌 Cave Manuscripts
Thursday, 28 October 2021
6:00 PM
Imre Galambos, University of Cambridge
Virtual, Zoom,
Few places are as famous as the Dunhuang 敦煌 Cave manuscripts. Located in modern Gansu Province in the People’s Republic of China, Dunhuang was a central node of communication along the equally famous Silk Road. A stunning discovery of manuscripts from a cave, then named Library Cave, occurred at the beginning of the 20th century by Taoist Wang Yuanlu 王圓籙. The cave was sealed around the 11th century CE. Wang almost immediately began to sell these texts to explorers such as Aurel Stein and Paul Pelliot. The cave included all sorts of materials: Buddhist texts, social documents (such as contracts), local histories, texts about geography, copies of the Analects 論語, but also records of divination, mathematics, and recreational games. The discovery of the Dunhuang manuscripts has thus made an enormous impact on the development of the field of Sinology, providing an abundance of first-hand documents and opening up entirely new directions of research. Despite this impact, the materials have primarily been looked at for their textual content, with only a handful of scholars paying attention to the manuscripts’ significance as physical objects. In recent years, developments in printing and digital technology have had a positive effect on philology in that an increasing number of manuscripts are accessible as good (or even high) quality photographs. As a result, their non-textual characteristics are attracting more attention. Nevertheless, the methods and tools of examining the physical and visual properties of Chinese manuscripts are still in the process of being developed. Prof. Imre Galambos is one of the experts in this field, with extensive knowledge of manuscripts from ancient China and orthography. His lectures will focus on the methods and tools used in the analysis of medieval Chinese manuscripts. Many of these are borrowed from other fields of research, which have had a longer history of dealing with materiality. During the lectures, we will learn how to approach a manuscript, which are the things that are meaningful, and which are the ones a researcher should look at first. We will see how the examination of a manuscript’s physical form can offer important insight into the use and function of the manuscript, which in turn can lead to a much better and more nuanced understanding of the text. More importantly, we will be able to connect specific instantiations of texts with real people and religious practices. Register here: https://sinologymethods.com/schedule/
Sponsored by: Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Penn, Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies, University of Zurich


Documents, Places,and Practices of Women's Incarceration in Antiquity.
Thursday, 28 October 2021
6:30 PM
Dr. Matthew Larsen and Dr. Mark Letteney, University of Copenhagen and University of Southern California
Virtual, Zoom,
This year, the meetings of Philadelphia Seminar on Christian Origins will feature a variety of scholars from different disciplines who will discuss the year’s theme, Law and Justice in Antiquity. The talks will explore a broad range of topics, including literary representations of law, incarceration practices, among others. All of this year’s meetings (for a full schedule, please visit https://web.sas.upenn.edu/psco/schedule/) will be conducted remotely via Zoom. To receive links for these meetings or ask any questions, contact us at pscoseminar@sas.upenn.edu. Zoom link: https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://upenn.zoom.us/j/99642703559__;!!IBzWLUs!AgE9FTgQkOdWQOZSYo4jOVTO56s61iAqgOTlIDk5mQ7qbRpSCZ0Pr1y2O4-5cv12sbTMtljs0fA$ .
Sponsored by: Philadelphia Seminar on Christian Origins


Daedalus, Knossos and the Beginnings of Greek Sculpture
Thursday, 28 October 2021
6:30 PM
Antonis Kotsonas, NYU and ISAW
Virtual, Zoom,
Ancient tradition associated early Greek sculpture with the legendary master craftsman Daedalus, who was based at Knossos, Crete. This tradition inspired scholars of the early 20th century to believe that the beginnings of Greek monumental sculpture should be sought in Crete. The idea drew support from the then recent discovery of a 7th century BCE temple with rich sculptural decoration at the central Cretan site of Prinias, which is still considered widely as the earliest Greek temple with architectural sculpture. The travels of Daedalus and his pupils were taken to have disseminated the art across the Aegean and the Mediterranean. This interpretative model grew unpopular over time, but current discussions of Greek sculpture still highlight the early evidence from Crete. Both dated and current approaches to early Greek sculpture, however, typically overlook a set of important, yet little-known monuments from Knossos. Bringing together old but previously overlooked finds and new discoveries from the site, my lecture reveals an exceptionally rich tradition of early Greek sculpture. It also investigates the interaction of the Knossian workshop with sculptural traditions from elsewhere in Crete, the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean, and revisits the significance of the Knossian and other Cretan evidence for the beginnings of Greek sculpture. Register here: https://nyu.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_UPUmraJbQbKFaIasm5hDJQ
Sponsored by: Institute of Fine Arts at NYU


Art and Archaeology of the Mediterranean World Colloquium, Title TBD
Friday, 29 October 2021
12:00 PM
Alexandra Sofroniew, UC Davis
Penn Museum Classroom 2, University of Pennsylvania
Sponsored by: Art and Archaeology of the Mediterranean World at Penn


Greek Myth and Roman Empire 146 to 240 BCE
Friday, 29 October 2021
12:00 PM
Jay Fisher, Rutgers University
Virtual, Zoom,
When Scipio Aemilianus quoted Homer as he watched Carthage meet a fiery end in 146 BCE, he did not simply demonstrate his Greek cultural competence, he was also making a commentary on empire as the Romans practiced it. As I hope to demonstrate, the Romans had been using Greek myth in Latin and Greek as one way of understanding their rapidly acquired empire in a world of empires for some time before the sack of Carthage. Aemilianus’ use of Homer at a moment of imperial violence not only addresses an obvious aspect of empire, but also the sack of a city where the Carthaginians once ruled an empire controlled by an oligarchy from their imperial center, a form of empire that bore significant similarities to the Roman empire of the middle Republic. Although there is much less evidence for the use of Greek myth to think with about empire in 240 BCE, there is enough to say that the presentation of the first tragedy in Latin in that year was yet another imperial moment. The Romans first obtained an overseas empire after the First Punic War ended in 241 BCE and appear to have adopted the Carthaginian model of empire in their newly acquired overseas provinces. These circumstances, I suggest, made the Romans willing to accept Livius Andronicus’ first attempt at a Greek tragedy in Latin and to continue to produce literary versions of Greek myth in Latin that would serve a part of a larger bricolage of empire. In-person attendance open to Princeton affiliates only. To attend via Zoom, register here: https://princeton.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYtdeyspzwrGNDU1axS8DrT_J1dq1AB0xMl
Sponsored by: Department of Classics at Princeton University


The Blue Marble of Greek Architectural History: Delos and the Delos Symposia
Friday, 29 October 2021
3:30 PM
Mantha Zarmakoupi, University of Pennsylvania
Meyerson Hall B3, University of Pennsylvania
Hybrid event, check here for further details: https://arth.sas.upenn.edu/events/colloquium-mantha-zarmakoupi-blue-marble-greek-architectural-history-delos-and-delos-symposia
Sponsored by: Department of Art History, University of Pennsylvania


Death Imagined: Conceptualising the Dead in Archaic and Classical Greece
Friday, 29 October 2021
4:30 PM
Karolina Sekita, University of Oxford
Carpenter Library B21, Bryn Mawr College
Sponsored by: Department of Classics, Bryn Mawr College


First Wave Feminism: Craftswomen in Plato’s Republic
Saturday, 13 November 2021
5:00 PM
Emily Hulme Kozey, Ormond College/University of Melbourne
Virtual, Zoom,
Zoom registration link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeYLw0rIFzkuyppNpw09euJt5QeoM31NNFh3L1PxhKP2rQ-Iw/viewform
Sponsored by: Center for the Ancient Mediterranean, Columbia