Derek Counts
Department of Art History
End-of-Year Fellowship Report for 2004-05

During the course of my fellowship term at the Center for 21st Century Studies, my research has focused on the relationship between iconography, religion, and cultural identity as manifested in the sanctuaries of ancient Cyprus during the first millennium B.C. The primary goal of this research is a monograph dealing with the intersection of religion and identity, with Cypriote archaeological remains providing a particularly fruitful corpus of material. More specifically, I have isolated a series of male divine images dedicated by worshippers in sanctuaries throughout the island; these statues represent hybrid forms that are clearly the products of the recombination of existing cultural (and cultic) traditions present among the diverse communities of ancient Cyprus during this period. While much of the data collection and formal analysis of the material had been accomplished prior to this year, my work was still in need of a broader theoretical framework for examining the complexity of cultural interactions in ancient Cyprus in the context of ancient religion and representational art.

The Center’s research theme “Geographies of Difference,” as played out in the internal dialogue of Center fellows, as well as the full program of invited speakers this year, proved to be an intellectual catalyst for my own thinking about concepts of culture and difference in the ancient world. Contemporary critiques of postcolonial encounters and the creation of hybrid forms and new identities appeared as common threads in many of the Center’s activities throughout the last two years of “Geographies of Difference.” This line of inquiry has profoundly impacted my understanding of the productive capacity of culture contact in the ancient world. In turn, it has helped me develop a more nuanced model for interrogating the archaeologies of religion, difference, and identity in ancient Cyprus. Some initial thoughts were presented at an international conference last November (2004) that will form the basis for an essay to be published in the Center’s on-line forum Working Papers. [editor’s note: see] Additionally, a paper which presents a slightly more focused discussion of postcolonial theory and concepts of culture in Mediterranean archaeology has been accepted for a conference later this year (November 2005). Aside from these two presentations and a third co-authored paper last January (2005), my Center fellowship afforded me the time and resources to publish one article and a book review, as well as commence work on a second book review to appear in January 2006. Finally and most significantly, I completed a 12-page monograph proposal for submission this summer.

conference presentations
* Potnios Theron: The Search for a Principal Male Divinity in Cypriote Sanctuaries,” Annual Meeting of the American schools of Oriental Research (San Antonio, TX, November, 2004)

*“The Athienou Archaeological Project: Fifteenth Season of Investigations,” 106th Annual Meeting of AIA (Boston, MA, January 2005)

“The Cultures Within Cypriote Culture: In-Between Orient and Occident,” to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the American schools of Oriental Research (Philadelphia, PA, November, 2005)

*“Art and Religion in the Cypriote Mesaoria: The View from Athienou-Malloura” in Cahier du Centre d'Études Chypriotes 34 (2004), forthcoming Spring/Summer 2005

book reviews
Rev. of J. B. Grossman, Looking at Greek and Roman Sculpture in Stone: A Guide to Terms, Styles, and Techniques (Los Angeles, 2003),  Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2005.05.17.

book proposal
Understanding Cypriote Cult: Potnios Theron and the Search for a Principal Male Divinity in Iron Age Cyprus. Submitted Summer 2005 to Routledge Press and Equinox Press

“Understanding Cypriote Cult: A Postcolonial Perspective,” in preparation for the Center for 21st Century Studies Working Papers

book reviews
Rev. of K. Lembke, Die Skulpturen aus dem Quellheiligtum von Amrit: Studie zur Akkulturation in Phönizien (Mainz am Rhein, 2004) in preparation for the American Journal of Archaeology.

* denotes Center support in the form of travel and research funds for publication

Current department website




Center for 21st Century Studies

Merry Wiesner-Hanks

Center for 21st Century Studies
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
P.O. Box 413, Milwaukee, WI 53201 USA
tel: 414-229-4141; fax: 414-229-5964; email:



  Last updated 7/23/08 by RVD