Archaeological Institute of America-Milwaukee Society

2016-2017 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, 2016

Sunday, September 25, 2016 3:00pm
Bronwen L. Wickkiser, Wabash College, Indiana
Title: Healing, Space, and Musical Performance in Late Classical Greece: The Thymele at Epidauros

Sunday, November 13, 2016, 3:00pm
Joukowsky Lecture
Neil A. Silberman, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Title: Rebooting Antiquity How Holy Wars, Media Hype, and Digital Technology Are Changing the face of 21st Century Archaeology

Sunday, December 4, 2016, 3:00pm
David Pacifico, Director – Casma Hinterland Project
Title: Neighborhood Society Ancient and Modern


Lecture Descriptions - Fall 2016

September 25, 2015 3:00pm
Bronwen L. Wickkiser, Wabash College, Indiana
Title: Healing, Space, and Musical Performance in Late Classical Greece: The Thymele at Epidauros


Description: In the fourth century BCE, the citizens of Epidauros, a small polis in the Peloponnese, launched a massive building program at the nearby, much visited healing sanctuary of the god Asklepios, son of Apollo. In terms of labor, design, and expense, the most impressive and sophisticated structure belonging to this program was a mysterious round building located at the very center of the sanctuary, a building known from ancient sources as the thymele.

Since its excavation in the nineteenth century, archaeologists have proposed a wide range of interpretations for this building, such as that it was Asklepios's tomb, or a council house, a dining hall, an astronomical tool, or a library. A curious hole at the center of the thymele's floor opened into unique, labyrinthine foundations. This substructure has been interpreted as a well, an offering pit, a maze through which worshippers wandered like initiates in a mystery cult, or a residence for Asklepios's sacred snakes.

In this talk, we will explore another potential solution to the mystery of the thymele's form and function. I will suggest that this building served as a space for musical performance, and that this sacred music fulfilled a therapeutic role at the heart of Asklepios's most famous healing sanctuary.

Bronwen L. Wickkiser

Dr. Bronwen L. Wickkiser is the Theodore Bedrick Associate Professor of Classics at Wabash College in Indiana. Much of her research focuses on religion and medicine in Greek and Roman antiquity, especially as evident in the cult of the healing god Asklepios. Wickkiser's first book, Asklepios, Medicine, and the Politics of Healing in Fifth-Century Greece (Johns Hopkins 2008) argues that medical and political factors together fueled the cult's rapid rise in popularity as worshippers sought a capable healer for the body politic as well as the physical body. A new project explores references to the classical past in the Confederate Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery and the complex relationships between religious and civil liberty in our nation's not too distant, classically leaning past. Wickkiser is the recipient of numerous fellowships from institutions such as the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.

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Sunday, November 13, 2016, 3:00pm
Joukowsky Lecture
Neil A. Silberman, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Title: Rebooting Antiquity How Holy Wars, Media Hype, and Digital Technology Are Changing the face of 21st Century Archaeology

Description: There's a revolution happening today in the way we value, discover, and imagine the past. On the negative side, ancient sites by the thousands—not only in the Middle East but all over the world—are being bulldozed, looted, vandalized, or blown up. Feature films, bestsellers and specialized cable documentaries hopelessly muddle archaeological fiction and fact. Yet on the positive side, advanced satellite imagery and LIDAR sensors are uncovering complex civilizations in deserts and jungles where none were assumed ever to exist. Virtual reality environments and 3D digital reconstructions are now used both for scientific documentation and immersive museum experiences. And the sheer social reach of Facebook, Twitter, and research-by-crowdsourcing is offering archaeologists unprecedented opportunities to engage the public in their work. This illustrated lecture will highlight some recent discoveries and ongoing controversies in the Americas, Europe, and Asia that exemplify the dramatic new directions that archaeology is taking in our globalized, internet age.

Neil A. Silberman

Neil A. Silberman is an author and heritage interpretation professional with a special interest in emerging trends and techniques for public engagement. He has served in various capacities for ICOMOS (the International Council on Monuments and Sites) and other archaeological conservation organizations, and is currently a managing partner of Coherit Associates, an international consultancy specializing in public heritage programs. His books and edited volumes include: The Oxford Companion to Archaeology (2012); The Future of Heritage (2008); and Who Owns the Past? (2007). In 2008 he joined the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and became one of the founders of its Center for Heritage and Society.

Neil Silberman will be giving a Joukowsky Lecture, named for Martha Sharp Joukowsky, past President of the Archaeological Institute of America and Professor of Old World Archaeology at Brown University. The Joukowsky Lectureship is part of the AIA's National Lecture Program.

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Sunday, December 4, 2016, 3:00pm
Rachel Scott, Director – Casma Hinterland Project
Title: Neighborhood Society Ancient and Modern

David Pacifico

Description: Dr. David Pacifico presents his research on ancient urban neighborhoods in Peru and compares them with the society and cultures of modern urban neighborhoods. Specifically, this lecture details social diversity, urban economies, and politics in a commoner neighborhood at El Purgatorio, capital of the Casma culture in 13th century Peru. From the capital, the lecture moves outward to present preliminary findings from ongoing research on hinterland communities around El Purgatorio. Finally, David explores the meaning of these findings with respect to our understanding of modern urban neighborhoods and cultures.

Dr. David Pacifico is an archaeologist and ethnographer specializing in the Andean region of South America. His research focuses on food, ritual, and economy in ancient neighborhoods. David is director of the Casma Hinterland Project and editor of two forthcoming volumes on the archaeology of households and neighborhoods. He holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Chicago and is newly a resident of Milwaukee's North Shore.

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