LECTURES

2020 - 2021 Season

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

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Reflections from the Slave Wrecks Project's First Decade: Towards a Transformative and Decolonizing Maritime Archaeology

Steve Lubkemann, George Washington University

International Archaeology Day Lecturer

Online via Zoom

7:00 pm

Abstract: Drawing on the work undertaken over the last seven years in places as diverse as South Africa, Mozambique, Senegal, Alabama, the Us Virgin Islands, Florida, Brazil, and Cuba (amongst others) this paper examines how the Slave Wrecks Project as an internationally collaborative field research program, and its stakeholder engagement and capacity-building initiatives have all come to inform each other in profoundly transformative ways. Our investigations of specific slaver shipwrecks have compelled a re-conceptualization of notions of “the site” itself and of research strategies for addressing the “Black Atlantic”,  while also underwriting complex re-considerations of concepts of “heritage”, “stake” and “stakeholder”, ”community”, “engagement” and “memory”.  SWP’s emerging approach has drawn from sources as diverse as South African critiques of apartheid’s “heritage legacy” and Mozambican cultural scripts for contending with historical violence. We reflect on the signature approach emerging from this struggle to be “ethical social navigators“ in contexts where stakeholders may disagree with researchers and each other about the past’s meanings; about the merits of, or methods for, its recovery; and about the  disposition of tangible vestiges of the lived past in the living present. We critically consider what “collaboration” has often meant in international and inter-racial projects, and what it needs to entail—with respect to scholarship, decision-making, participation, and power-sharing—if we seek to contribute to the diversification and decolonization of the intersecting fields of scholarship that are drawn upon in the maritime archeology of the slave trade. We reflect on what we have learned through trial and error in a still evolving and learning project, about the need for, and what is needed to bring about,  a transformative maritime archaeology of the slave trade that will challenge our field—both analytically and as a socially-embedded practice, critically contending with colonial and nationalist legacies that have implicitly shaped it—while exploring the analytical possibilities for re-shaping archeological concepts and technical approaches themselves.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2020

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After Actium: Egypt in the Roman Imagination

Molly Swetnam-Burland, The College of William and Mary

AIA-DC Davidson Lecturer

Online via Zoom

7:00 pm

Abstract: After the defeat of Cleopatra at the battles of Actium and Alexandria, there was a fascination with Egyptian culture and a taste for Egyptian and Egyptian-looking artworks in Rome. In this lecture, I will discuss objects as large as obelisks and as small as cameo glass perfume flasks, asking what Romans knew of Egypt and how their conquest of an exotic land transformed their own culture.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

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Serious Play: Ballgames in Preclassic Mesoamerica

David S. Anderson, Radford University

AIA National Lecturer

Jeffrey Blomster, George Washington University

Online via Zoom

7:00 pm

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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

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Death Comes to Oplontis: Victims of Mt. Vesuvius Reveal Life in 79 AD

Kristina Killgrove, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

AIA National Matson Lecturer

Online via Zoom

7:00 pm

Abstract: Numerous urban centers in the Bay of Naples were completely destroyed by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD. Pompeii and Herculaneum are the most famous of these, but other areas were also affected and are less understood, even today, because of their location underneath modern development. The villa complex of Oplontis is one of these. Partial excavations in the 1980s found dozens of skeletons together in one room, killed by the catastrophic volcanic eruption. None of the skeletons had been scientifically studied, however, until 2017, when Dr. Killgrove led a team of archaeologists to finish the old excavation and analyze the human remains. Over the past three years, research questions about biological relationships, dietary resource use, and disease load among those people killed by the eruption have been at the center of this project. This talk will present the latest information gleaned from the Oplontis skeletons and reveal the new information we have about Roman life and death in 79 AD.

For previous lecture seasons, click here.

All lectures are free and open to the public

DID YOU KNOW?

The Archaeological Institute of America has been offering over 120+ years of free public lectures.

 

Our Washington D.C. chapter of the AIA frequently offers six or more lectures a year! While some of these are sponsored by the National AIA, many are organized by the local AIA-DC governance board.

Remember: the lectures are always free and open to the public!

CONTACT

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