Archaeological Institute of America-Milwaukee Society

2014-2015 Lecture Series

All lectures are held on Sunday afternoons at 3:00 p.m. in Sabin Hall Room G90 on the UWM Campus (3413 North Downer, corner of Newport and Downer Avenues). On Sundays, parking is available in the Klotsche Center surface lot directly north of Sabin or on nearby streets.

All lectures are free and open to the public and followed by refreshments. They are co-sponsored by the Departments of Anthropology, Foreign Languages and Literature-Classics, and Art History at UW-Milwaukee.

Fall, 2014

September 28, 2014 3:00pm
Sinclair Bell, Northern Illinois University
Title: 'The Greatest Show on Earth': Chariot Racing in Ancient Rome

Saturday, October 18, 2014, 1:00-4:00pm
International Archaeology Day Celebration
See International Archaeology Day for details

Sunday, November 2, 2014, 3:00pm
Michael Danti, Boston University
Title: The Rowanduz Archaeological Program in Iraqi Kurdistan

Sunday, December 7, 2014, 3:00pm
John Richards, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Title: City in the Wilderness: Mounds, Middens, and Ritual at a Late Woodland/Mississippian Community in Southern Wisconsin


Lecture Descriptions

September 28, 2014 3:00pm
Sinclair Bell, Northern Illinois University
Title: 'The Greatest Show on Earth': Chariot Racing in Ancient Rome

Chariot Racing

Wild ride: The Chariot Race,
c. 1882 by Alexander von Wagner (Bridgeman Art Library)


Description: Many misperceptions surround the spectacles held in ancient Rome, especially as a result of contemporary film and television. For instance, there is the popular belief that gladiatorial combats were the premiere spectacle at Rome: that they attracted the biggest audiences and the most partisan fans. In fact, neither assumption is true. The Circus Maximus in Rome – the original and largest venue for chariot-racing – was many centuries older and considerably larger than the Colosseum. In addition, chariot-races drew the largest crowds and most fervent fans in Rome and throughout the Roman Empire, and continued to do so centuries after the gladiatorial games faded away. This lecture will explore the circus games’ activity and setting, their star performers, their spectators and fans, and the central importance of the circus games for Roman society as a whole.

Roman Charioteer

Roman Charioteer, mosaic, 3rd century A.D.
(Palazzo Massimo alle terme, Rome)


Sinclair Bell

Dr. Sinclair Bell is a Classical Archaeologist and Associate Professor of Art History at Northern Illinois, where he teaches courses on Greek, Roman and Egyptian art and architecture. He has excavated Etruscan and Roman sites in Italy and Tunisia and interned in museums in Germany and Greece. He studied Classical Archaeology at the University of Oxford, the University of Cologne, and the University of Edinburgh, where he received his Ph.D. in Classics in 2004. Since then, he has given nearly fifty lectures and published five books and more than thirty scholarly articles, book chapters and reviews about the art and archaeology of ancient Italy.

For More about Sinclair Bell: http://www.niu.edu/art/Faculty/Art-History/sinclair-bell.shtml

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Sunday, November 2, 2014, 3:00pm
Michael Danti, Boston University
Title: The Rowanduz Archaeological Program in Iraqi Kurdistan

Description: The Rowanduz Archaeological Program (RAP) seeks to revitalize archaeology in Iraqi Kurdistan through the implementation of a long-term, integrative program of multidisciplinary archaeological research projects and cultural heritage management initiatives. The area represents one of the most compelling and unknown corners of the Near East — over a century of warfare and political strife have prevented most archaeological research. In 2013, the Department of Antiquities of the Kurdistan Regional Government granted RAP a five-year permit to conduct archaeological surveys and excavations in the Soran District of northeastern Erbil Province. The surrounding mountain ranges of the western Zagros have been renowned for millennia for their scenic wonders and strategically prized as a natural stronghold controlling the mountain routes afforded by the erosional forces of the Greater Zab and its tributaries, especially the immense Rowanduz Gorge and the passes at Kel-i Shin and Gawra Shinka. The high valleys provide summer pastures for herders and tracts of arable land that supported prosperous highland settlements as early as the Pre-pottery Neolithic. Remote sanctuaries, grotto shrines, and monumental rock inscriptions and stele dedicated to ancient storm and mountain deities stand testament to the primordial powers attributed to the awe inspiring landscape and the vitality of the rivers that emanated from the highlands to water the neighboring arid Mesopotamian plain and intermontane basins of Iranian Kurdistan. The Zagros also inspired fear, standing as a byword for the forces of chaos and the haunts of wild beasts, mythical creatures, bandits, and marauders. Previously scholars knew little about this region in antiquity save for its hidden potential gleaned from historical sources, travelers’ accounts, or the occasional archaeological reconnaissance. Cuneiform texts spanning the Early Bronze Age to the early Iron Age suggest the Soran District formed the territorial core of the Hurro-Urartian kingdom of Musasir/Ardini, doubly famed as home to the trans-regional cult center of the Hurrian storm-god Haldi and for the sacking of this temple and its treasury by the Neo-Assyrian king Sargon II in 714 BC during his renowned Eighth Campaign. Archaeological reconnaissance and excavations have revealed evidence for human occupation over the long duration of occupations with clear evidence of the region’s prosperity in the later Bronze and early Iron Age. RAP promises to shed much new light on this Zagrosian buffer state, whatever its ancient name(s), as well as its vacillating relations vis-à-vis its hegemonic neighbors Assyria and Urartu and their complex and shifting networks of vassals and allies.

Michael Danti

Michael Danti is Assistant Professor with the Department of Archaeology at Boston University, and Consulting Scholar with the University of Pennsylvania Museum. He holds his degrees from the University of Pennsylvania (Ph.D.) and Purdue University, and is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London. His areas of specialization are Near Eastern archaeology, Mesopotamia, Iran, cultural heritage management, museum studies, archaeological method and theory, and complex societies. He is currently Director of Excavations at Tell es-Sweyhat (Syria), Rowanduz (Iraqi Kurdistan), Mosul (Iraq), and Director of the Hasanlu (Iraq) Publication Project. Professor Danti's current publication projects include Hasanlu IVb: The Iron II Cemetery, Hasanlu Excavation Reports IV (with M. Cifarelli, University of Pennsylvania Musem, in preparation), Hasanlu V: The Late Bronze and Iron I Periods, Hasanlu Excavation Reports III (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013), and "Searching for Musasir: The Rowanduz Archaeological Program" in New Agendas in Remote Sensing and Landscape Archaeology in the Near East (The Oriental Institute, in preparation).

For more about Michael Danti:

For further reading:

  • Danti, Michael. 2014. The Ancient Near East Today. Friends of Asor: Current News about the Ancient Past, vol. II(7). http://asorblog.org/?p=7612
  • Hamilton, A.H. 1958. The Road Through Kurdistan. New edition. (London: Faber & Faber Limited).
  • Radner, H. 2012. Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Musasir, Kumme and Subria — The Buffer States between Assyria and Urartu. In S. Kroll, C. Gruber, U. Hellwag, M. Roaf & P. Zimansky (ed.) Biainili-Urartu. (Leuven: Peeters), pp. 243–264.

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Sunday, December 7, 2014, 3:00pm
John Richards, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Title: City in the Wilderness: Mounds, Middens, and Ritual at a Late Woodland/Mississippian Community in Southern Wisconsin

Southwest Mound at Aztalan

Southwest Mound at Aztalan, Photo: John Richards


Description: The Aztalan site in Jefferson County, Wisconsin is a mound and village complex that was occupied by a mixed population of Late Woodland and Mississippian Indians from about A.D. 900 to 1300. The site first captured the public imagination in 1837 when it was described as a mysterious “city in the wilderness”. Although certainly not a “city” as currently defined, one hundred and seventy-six years of archaeological investigations at the site have yet to fully dispel many of the mysteries surrounding Aztalan’ s presence in southern Wisconsin. However, recent investigations by UWM archaeologists have shed new light on previously under reported aspects of site structure, settlement chronology, subsistence practices, external relations, and community ethnogenesis.

Aztalan

Map of Wisconsin, Aztalan indicated


Nicholas Cahill

John Richards is an Associate Scientist in the UWM Department of Anthropology. Dr. Richards directs the UWM Cultural Resource Management program, serves as Associate Director of the UWM Archaeological Research Laboratory, and is an Adjunct Curator at the Milwaukee Public Museum. Richards began his archaeological career in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and after a brief sojourn in Mexico has worked in the Midwest ever since. His interests include the social dynamics of the late prehistoric period in the Great Lakes region, ceramic analysis, historic preservation, and the history of anthropology and archaeology.

For more information on the excavations at Aztalan, see: http://www.mpm.edu/research-collections/anthropology/online-collections-research/aztalan-collection/site-history

Read more about John Richards at: http://www4.uwm.edu/letsci/anthropology/faculty/richards-jd.cfm

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