March 22, 2018 • 6:00 PM
University of Louisville, Chao Auditorium (Ekstrom Library)

Spotlight on Archaeology at the University of Louisville
Featuring a panel of faculty and graduate student speakers from the University of Louisville Department of Anthropology​

What archaeological research projects are scholars at the University of Louisville currently pursuing, and what opportunities does the University offer undergraduate and graduate students who are interested in studying archaeology? In this round-table presentation, a panel of faculty and graduate student speakers from the University of Louisville's Department of Anthropology will introduce their work and discuss opportunities for studying archaeology and anthropology at UofL. 

Presentations will begin with the plans to move the Archaeology labs and classrooms to a newly renovated building in historic Portland, after which speakers will give brief summaries of their research and follow with an open discussion with the audience. Dr. Jonathan Haws will talk about the Portland project and plans for the new Center for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage. Dr. Anna Browne Ribeiro will discuss pre-Columbian anthropogenic or human-made landscapes in the Brazilian Amazon through archaeological survey and geoarchaeology. Grace Gimbel will speak on the application of geospatial technologies to map the layout of pre-Columbian sites in the Brazilian Amazon. Dr. Amanuel Beyin will talk about the origin and dispersal of early modern humans out of Africa through an archaeological survey along the Red Sea coast of Sudan. Mallory Cox will discuss the identification and characterization of mineral residue indicators of malaria found on skeletons from historic cemeteries in Louisville and pre-Columbian Carib populations.

Thursday, February 25, 2021 • 7:30 PM EST

Online via Zoom

Finger Loops, Vases, and Chocolate: A Rare Maya Burial at Pacbitun, Belize

Professor Sheldon Skaggs – Bronx Community College, CUNY

Join us for our first archaeology webinar of 2021! Dr. Sheldon Skaggs will be talking about his work at the site of Pacbitun in Belize. 

The discovery of carved marble fragments with a Late Classic-to-Terminal Classic period (550–900 CE) elite burial in the center of a courtyard at the ancient Maya site of Pacbitun, Belize adds to the corpus of Ulúa Valley marble vases fragments found in the Maya lowlands. Confirmation of the vase's origins by both style and stable carbon and oxygen isotope analysis shows that the likely source of production is the archaeological site of Travesia, in northwest Honduras. Additional residue analysis hints at the use and contents of these mysterious vases. In addition to the implications for trade and political connections between the archaeological sites in Belize and Honduras, the direct association of the vase fragments to a potentially desecrated burial highlights some interesting questions about local politics at Pacbitun, Belize. Artifacts from Pacbitun available after lecture as 3D printed replicas and shown in real time online modeling.

This talk will be presented as a webinar via Zoom. Attendance is free, but space is limited and advance registration is required. Click the "register now" button to reserve your spot!

Sheldon Skaggs is Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry, Earth Sciences, and Environmental Sciences at Bronx Community College, CUNY. He is a Doris Z. Stone New World Archaeology Lecturer for the AIA in 2020-21. You can learn more about his research at Pacbitun here

“Finger Loops, Vases, and Chocolate”
 is part of an ongoing series of archaeology talks presented by the Kentucky Society of the Archaeological Institute of America with support from the University of Louisville Departments of Anthropology and History and the University of Kentucky. 

Thursday, November 18, 2021 • 12:00 PM EST

Online via Zoom

On the Road to the Great Hof:

Moving Through Space and Time at Old Uppsala

Meghan Mattsson Mc Ginnis – Stockholm University

Don't miss our next lecture, a joint presentation of the AIA-Kentucky Society and the University of Louisville Medieval and Renaissance Workshop! Meghan Mc Ginnis (Stockholm University) will be talking about recent excavations at the medieval Swedish site of Old Uppsala and what that research reveals about the site's usage.

The center of Svealand’s political, social, economic, and ritual life from the early Vendel period (500-800 CE) through the Viking Age (to ca. the mid 1100s), the great mounds and sprawling plains of Old Uppsala remain one of the most famous monuments in all of Scandinavia. And with its heroic kings, grand temple, and fabulously bloody rites so vividly described in semi-legendary tales recorded by later medieval authors and early modern antiquarians, a place forever encircled by myth as much as history. Thanks to recent excavations, however, details of this iconic area’s topography and the activities carried out there are becoming increasingly clear. In particular, the discovery of mysterious rows of posts, deposits of enigmatic amulets, and traces of processional routes now provide opportunities to investigate the different ways in which visitors moved through -- and experienced and interacted with -- the hallowed site’s performative architecture throughout its early medieval heyday. Including how bodies moving through this monumentalized landscape generated and reinforce a sense of mythical history that served to link the past to the present and the living with the dead. 

Meghan Mattsson Mc Ginnis graduated from the University of Louisville with an MA in Art History in 2012. She is now a doctoral candidate in Archaeology at Stockholm University in Sweden. Learn more about her dissertation research here.

"On the Road to the Great Hof" is part of an ongoing series of archaeology talks presented by the Kentucky Society of the Archaeological Institute of America with support from the University of Louisville Departments of Anthropology and History and the University of Kentucky.



Thursday, March 24, 2022 • 6:00 PM EST 

Online via Zoom

Digging Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben:

The Archaeology of Enslaved Cooks

Dr. Kelley Fanto Deetz (UC Berkeley & Stratford Hall Plantation)

In this free public lecture, Dr. Kelley Fanto Deetz discusses the role of archaeological investigation to debunk myths around enslaved cooks in the American south. Drawing from her book, Bound to the Fire: How Virginia’s Enslaved Cooks Helped Invent American Cuisine, Deetz interrogates the portrayal of the smiling images of "Aunt Jemima" and other historical and fictional black cooks found on various food products and in advertising. She draws upon archaeological evidence, cookbooks, plantation records, and folklore to present a nuanced study of the lives of enslaved plantation cooks from colonial times through emancipation and beyond, revealing how these men and women were literally "bound to the fire" and were nothing like their fictional depictions in food advertising.

Kelley Fanto Deetz is a visiting scholar in the Department of African-American Studies at the University of California-Berkeley and Director of Education, Programming, and Public Engagement at Stratford Hall Plantation. She is a national lecturer for the AIA in 2021-22.

"Digging Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben" is part of an ongoing series of archaeology talks presented by the Kentucky Society of the Archaeological Institute of America with support from the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville Departments of History and Anthropology. 

​​​​​​Tuesday, October 27, 2020 • 1:00 PM

Online via Zoom

Epidemics and Syndemics: from Leprosy (Hansen's Disease) in Medieval Europe to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Professor Fabian Crespo – University of Louisville

Kicking off our 2020-21 series of archaeology webinars with a very timely subject, Dr. Fabian Crespo (Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Louisville) will offer an anthropological perspective on medieval and modern disease outbreaks in a presentation titled "Epidemics and Syndemics: From Leprosy (Hansen's disease) in Medieval Europe to COVID-19 Pandemic." In this webinar, focused on leprosy in medieval Europe and COVID-19, Dr. Crespo will discuss how epidemics and pandemics have multiple dimensions, and the synergistic interaction of those dimensions ("syndemics"), in time and space, will help us to reveal how historical and biosocial processes ultimately affect our immune competence and mortality burdens. 

This talk will be presented as a webinar via Zoom. Attendance is free, but space is limited and advance registration is required. Click the "register now" button to reserve your spot!

Fabian Crespo is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Louisville. You can learn more about his research here

“Epidemics and Syndemics” is part of an ongoing series of archaeology talks presented by the Kentucky Society of the Archaeological Institute of America with support from the University of Louisville Departments of Anthropology and History. 

Thursday, October 4, 2018 • 6:00 PM 
Chao Auditorium, Ekstrom Library (University of Louisville)

When the Romans Came to Louisville: 
the Formation of the Speed Museum's Roman Collection

Professor Linda Gigante – University of Louisville

(Photo courtesy of the Filson Historical Society)

In November 1911 prominent Louisvillian Rogers Clark Ballard Thruston embarked on a motor trip through Europe with his brother, sister-in-law and family friend. When they reached Rome, he solicited the services of an Italian travel agent who escorted him to the Church of Santa Teresa d’Avila where antiquities had been unearthed some years before.  When the Church was under construction in the late 1890s Roman tombs had been discovered and hundreds of grave-goods were removed. Intrigued by the antiquities that he was shown by the Church’s clerics,  (ceramic and marble ash urns, two small marble sarcophagi, ceramic vessels and lamps, and inscribed epitaphs), Ballard Thruston contracted the agent to make the necessary arrangements for purchasing and shipping them to Louisville.  In 1912 twenty-eight crates containing the Roman artifacts arrived in New York City aboard the SS Princess Irene and were then transported by rail to Louisville. In 1929 when his plans to install the antiquities in a permanent venue did not materialize, Ballard Thruston made a gift of them to his friend, Hattie Bishop Speed, who had founded the Speed Museum two years earlier. He also donated to the Speed all the correspondence and documents pertaining to the purchase and export of the antiquities. Research has revealed that the Roman artifacts in the Speed Museum comprise the largest collection of its kind in North America and, given the international export laws, could never be duplicated by any American institution today. What also makes this collection valuable, and unique, is that the precise provenance of the antiquities can be documented; we know the location of the tombs from which they were removed at the turn of the 20th century.

The purpose of this talk is to tell the story of Ballard Thruston’s purchase of the Roman grave-goods, their journey to Louisville, and their rediscovery in the Speed Museum.  Illustrated with photographs taken by Ballard Thruston, archival records, and archaeological evidence, this talk will include information about the cultural context of the artifacts and highlight their value, both to the Louisville community and to scholars around the world.  

Linda Gigante is Professor Emerita of Ancient Art & Cultures at the University of Louisville and Vice-President of the Kentucky Society of the AIA.

March 1, 2018 • 7:30 PM
University of Kentucky, Young Library Auditorium

West Meets East: Commerce between Ancient Rome and South Asia
Dr. Sethuraman Suresh, Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (2017–18 Kress Lecturer)

The  Roman Republic (second-first century B.C.E.) and later, the Roman Empire under Augustus, Tiberius (first century C.E.) and their successors had commercial relations with the kingdoms of South Asia, primarily India and Sri Lanka. These trade links, flourished for around six hundred years and, in due course, extended to diplomatic relations and even cultural interactions. The height of the contacts was, however, unquestionably in the first two centuries C.E. The Romans procured gemstones (chiefly beryl or aquamarine), textiles (silk and cotton), ivory, aromatic woods, spices (primarily pepper and cardamom) and peacocks from South Asia. In return, Rome exported wine as well as metals such as gold, silver, copper and antimony to South Asia.  The evidences for these contacts include the limited but significant references to the trade in ancient Greek, Latin, Tamil and Sanskrit literature and the recurrent discoveries of Roman coins, ceramics and a few other types of Roman objects in different parts of India and adjoining regions. The archaeological evidences within Europe are very meager mainly because of the nature of the commerce—most of the trade goods (spices, textiles, ivory, peacocks) reaching Europe were perishable commodities that have not survived for archaeology.

Based on extensive field research in South Asia and Europe, this lecture unfolds the little-known story of the Rome-South Asia contacts. The presentation takes you on a unique voyage across the places through which the Romans travelled in India and the interesting things—coins, ceramics, sculptures –that they left behind in those sites.

November 2, 2017 • 6:00 PM 
University of Louisville, Chao Auditorium

Worlds in Motion: Ireland, the Atlantic, and Early Colonial America
Professor Audrey Horning, College of William & Mary 
(2017–18 Joukowsky Lecturer)

​Early British colonial settlements in Ireland and North America occupied a parallel and overlapping universe, so intimately connected that in the early seventeenth century, the chronicler Fynes Moryson would refer to Ireland as “this famous Island in the Virginian Sea” (Moryson 1605-1617). Drawing from a range of archaeological projects in both North America and Ireland, the lecture will consider the similarities and dissimilarities between the two lands and the cultural entanglements of the early modern Atlantic. Familiar places like Roanoke, Jamestown, and Plymouth will be discussed in light of their lesser known Irish connections, while the long held notion that Ireland served as a model for New World English colonial ventures will be challenged.​


Thursday, October 13, 2022 • 6:00 PM EST 

​Doors open at 5:30 for viewing the exhibit; the talk will begin at 6pm.

University of Louisville Center for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage (CACHe)
1606 Rowan Street, Louisville, KY 40203

Guarding the borderlands: a new fort of Locri Epizephyrii (Calabria, southern Italy)

Dr. Paolo Visonà (University of Kentucky)

Guarding the Borderlands, a public lecture and exhibition sponsored by the Archaeological Institute of America, highlights the results of recent archaeological investigations conducted in the territory of ancient Locri Epizephyrii, one of the main Greek cities in southern Italy’s Calabria region.  In the 6th century BCE, a time of intermittent conflict among the leading Greek city-states in this region, the Locrians built permanent fortifications on their mountainous borderlands. As the largest Locrian mountain fort identified so far, the settlement at contrada Bregatorto played a critical role in Locri’s territorial defense network.  Located on a high ridge marking the western boundary of Locri’s territory, at 14 km from the city, it was a control point on the most direct route from the eastern to the western coast of Italy. A geophysical survey and test excavations by a team from the University of Kentucky, Langara College (Vancouver, B.C., Canada) and the Foundation for Calabrian Archaeology, have yielded information on the fort’s layout and occupational history. The ceramic evidence and radiometric data indicate that the fort was constructed c. 500 BCE and may have been used until the end of the 3rd century BCE.  The site was also visited in the 2nd and 1st centuries BCE, but was not reoccupied afterwards.

Paolo Visonà is a classical archaeologist and the field director of the Dig Calabria project. Find out more about his work here

"Guarding the Borderlands" is part of an ongoing series of archaeology talks presented by the Kentucky Society of the Archaeological Institute of America with support from the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville Departments of Anthropology and History. 

February 1, 2018 • 6:00 PM 
University of Louisville, Chao Auditorium (Ekstrom Library)

Monks, Mummies, and Men of Letters: Exploring Egypt in the Age of Enlightenment

Professor Jennifer Westerfeld, University of Louisville

How and why did Egyptology, the academic study of ancient Egypt, first develop, and who were the first Egyptologists? Discussions of Egyptology's roots in the Renaissance and early modern periods often highlight the work of linguists, who sought to decipher the mysteries of Egyptian hieroglyphs, and that of the archaeologists, geographers, and other scholars who famously traveled with Napoleon during his invasion of Egypt in 1798. Less well-known is the work of the seventeenth and eighteenth-century travelers and explorers whose efforts to map the historical topography of Egypt laid much of the groundwork for the scholars of the Napoleonic expedition and for the subsequent nineteenth-century flourishing of Egyptian archaeology. A key figure in this early modern exploratory activity was the French Jesuit missionary Claude Sicard, who is significant for being the first European explorer to correctly identify numerous important sites, including the ancient cities of Thebes and Abydos. This talk situates Sicard and his colleagues within the larger history of Egyptian exploration during the Age of Enlightenment, offering a window into an era when monks and missionaries might also be men of letters, working to advance European knowledge of all aspects of Egyptian history and society, both ancient and contemporary. Type your paragraph here.

Archive under construction - please check back soon!

October 5, 2017 • 7:00-9:00 PM
Locust Grove Visitor Center (561 Blankenbaker Lane)

Bourbon Archaeology: A Kentucky Society Fundraiser

You probably know that bourbon has a long history...but did you know that traces of the bourbon industry's earliest origins still survive, buried deep in Kentucky's woods and hollers? Join us as Bourbon Archaeologist Nick Laracuente talks about his work excavating the remains of some of the oldest bourbon distilleries in the region. Then, tour Locust Grove's new Farm Distillery Project, watch a demonstration of early nineteenth-century whiskey production, and enjoy a bourbon tasting led by Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Famer Michael Veach.

Lectures in Archaeology: Archive

Since 1953, the Kentucky Society has been offering public lectures on archaeological topics. In this part of the website, our goal is to provide an updated archive of past lecture series. If you happen to have copies of lecture announcements prior to 2010, please contact us so that we can update the archive.

Thursday, September 13, 2018 • 7:30 PM (reception to follow)
William T. Young Library Auditorium, University of Kentucky

Earlier, Higher and More Important than You Thought:  The Role of the Rocky Mountains in the Pleistocene Peopling of the New World

Professor Bonnie Pitblado – University of Oklahoma

When most of us think about the initial peopling of the Americas at the end of the Pleistocene (ca. 12,000 years ago), we don’t think much about the Rocky Mountains. There are many reasons for this, chief among them that the Rockies have long been perceived by archaeologists and others as a “harsh” environment where no prehistoric person would have cared to tread. This lecture makes quite a different case, arguing that the Rocky Mountains, and for that matter, the entire western Cordillera, were critical to the process of the peopling of the New World. 

Why? There are two main reasons.  First, the Rockies offered prehistoric people, including the continent’s earliest residents, a remarkable suite of resources not found in other regions (even if those other regions are better known archaeologically). Second, and contrary to stereotypes of Siberia as flat, windswept tundra where the hardy ancestors of First Americans made a living killing wooly mammoths, northeast Asian Upper Paleolithic people (11,000 – 50,000 or so years ago) actually made their livings in spectacular mountain settings. 

Put simply, the First Americans were mountain people when they arrived in the Americas—and had been for at least 50,000 years.  Of course they gravitated to mountainous regions of North (and for that matter, South) America.  And the evidence showing this has been there all along—our own cognitive blinders have blocked our ability to see it.

Bonnie Pitblado is Professor of Anthropology & Robert and Virginia Bell Endowed Chair in Anthropology at the University of Oklahoma. ​She is a 2018-19 Stone Lecturer for the AIA.

Thursday, October 3, 2019 • 6:00 PM

Chao Auditorium, Ekstrom Library (University of Louisville)
2215 S. 3rd Street, Louisville, KY 40208

Hominin dispersal pathways out of Africa:

A view from the Red Sea basin 

Professor Amanuel Beyin – University of Louisville

Starting a little more than two million years ago, successive hominin lineages dispersed out of the ancestral homeland, Africa. While dispersing across different regions, hominins were exposed to new habitats and survival adversities. Those experiences helped our lineage to emerge as a resilient and adept species, which is evident in the technological ingenuity of modern humans. So, given that dispersal has been such a vital process in our evolutionary history, where do we trace the first glimpse of it? Due to its location at the nexus of northeast Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and the Levantine landmasses, the Red Sea basin occupies a pivotal position as a potential corridor for hominin movements between Africa and Eurasia. Drawing on results of his own fieldworks in the Red Sea coastal areas of the Sudan and Eritrea, in this talk, Dr. Beyin will discuss recent progress made in revealing the Stone Age record of the western littoral of the Red Sea, and the implications of the emergent data for recognizing the region as a viable hominin habitat and dispersal conduit. ​

Amanuel Beyin is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Louisville.


                                         KENTUCKY SOCIETY

Thursday, November 1, 2018 • 6:00 PM 
Chao Auditorium, Ekstrom Library (University of Louisville)
We Once Were a Numerous People: Long-term Legacies of Smallpox and Cultural Survivance on the Northern North American Great Plains
Professor Kacy Hollenback – Southern Methodist University

Contact between Old World and New World populations resulted in the exchange of ideas, technologies, and practices that dramatically changed world cultures. The Columbian Exchange also resulted in the spread of invasive species, including catastrophic Old World epidemic diseases like influenza, measles, and smallpox. The impacts on peoples in the Americas was disaster. In some areas fifty to eighty percent of the population died. Archaeology has contributed to our understanding of the spread of such epidemics. However, there has often been a focus on when and where disease outbreaks occurred and how many people were affected. Less attention has been given to what life was like for survivors. How did these individuals put their lives and societies back together after devastation?

 Using theoretical assumptions from the anthropology of disaster and technology, the social impacts of smallpox on survivors can be explored. Such an approach is important, especially in areas with no written record. This presentation explores how the Hidatsa, a group of earthlodge villagers in North Dakota visited by Lewis and Clark and home of Sacajawea, responded to the smallpox epidemics of the 18th and 19th centuries. Specifically, how did individuals maintain or modify daily practice in light of these catastrophic events? This is an important topic to consider because the decisions and actions of those who endured these processes resulted in culture change and cultural survival for Native American Nations today.  

Kacy Hollenback is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Southern Methodist University.

September 13, 2017 • 6:00 PM 
University of Louisville, Chao Auditorium

Take it from the bottom: 1500 years of Nubian history told through stratigraphy
Dr. William Y. Adams, Professor emeritus, University of Kentucky

The archaeological site of Meinarti, destroyed by flooding from the Aswan High Dam, was situated on an island in the Nile just to the south of Egypt, in the region known historically as Nubia.  Before excavation it was an artificial mound more than 40 feet high.   Excavation revealed no fewer than 18 occupation levels, covering a span from about AD 1 to AD 1500.  The remains were those of six separate episodes of occupation, separated in each case by considerable periods of abandonment.  As a result, each occupation phase witnessed a total rebuilding, and was markedly distinct from both its predecessor and its successor.  Each reflected the cultural, social, and religious traditions of its times. In this lecture, Dr. Adams, the excavator of Meinarti in 1963-64, will conduct viewers through the successive occupation phases not in stratigraphic but in historical order; that is, from the bottom up.  In that way the markedly different architectural and artifactual remains will illustrate the dynamically evolving story of Nubian history from pagan to Muslim times, reflecting influences from Egypt, Greece, Rome, and the Islamic caliphate, grafted onto a strong, persisting local tradition.​

Wednesday, November 6, 2019 • 6:00 PM

Chao Auditorium, Ekstrom Library (University of Louisville)
2215 S. 3rd Street, Louisville, KY 40208

Another Man’s Treasure? The Life and Afterlife of Pompeii’s Waste

Professor Allison Emmerson – Tulane University

Where humans gather, so does garbage. This truism applied to the ancient world as it does to the modern, but the waste management systems of Roman cities remain under-explored. Work on the topic has tended to fall into one of two camps, with the first emphasizing the unsanitary picture presented by Roman literary sources and the second stressing the legal mechanisms that moved waste out of the city center and into the suburbs. Clearly, archaeology has much to add to the debate. This paper presents evidence from recent excavations at Pompeii, including those I have conducted myself as part of the Pompeii Archaeological Research Project: Porta Stabia (directed by Steven Ellis of the University of Cincinnati). I argue that, regardless of any legal interventions, garbage was an unavoidable part of Pompeian life. It covered streets, clogged drains, piled in gardens, and filled shallow pits inside inhabited rooms. Outside the city, it formed large mounds alongside the fortification walls. These suburban garbage mounds, however, do not seem to have functioned like modern landfills, corralling waste in areas far removed from normal life. Instead, they developed in the busiest areas of the suburb, which could serve as staging grounds for processes of recycling and reuse. Indeed, the recent excavations show the extent of such reuse to be far greater than has been imagined in the past. Studying waste, therefore, reflects not only on Pompeii’s sanitation, but also illuminates essential patterns of its economic and social life. ​

Allison Emmerson is Assistant Professor of Classical Studies and Young Mellon Professor of the Humanities at Tulane University. She is an AIA Oliver Lecturer for 2019–20.

​​Friday, September 13, 2019 • 6:00 PM

University of Louisville Center for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage (CACHe)
1606 Rowan Street, Louisville, KY 40203

Making Memories: The Strange Case of the Mycenaean 'Ossuary' at Final Neolithic Ksagounaki, Mani, Greece

Professor Michael Galaty – University of Michigan

In 2013, Diros Project members excavating at Final Neolithic Ksagounaki (occupied 4250-3800 BC), located outside the remarkable Neolithic cave site of Alepotrypa in Mani, Greece, revealed a circular monument that had been inserted into the existing settlement/mortuary complex, truncating several burials. To our surprise, the monument - an "ossuary" - was filled with secondarily deposited bones and Mycenaean artifacts from the Late Helladic III A-B phase (circa 1400-1200 BC). We now believe the ossuary was built in a single construction phase and that the builders had some knowledge of Ksagounaki, which attracted them to the location, and, perhaps, a cultural memory of the cave, which had been destroyed by an earthquake and sealed shut sometime after  3800 BC, almost 3000 years earlier. The Ksagounaki ossuary is unique in the Mycenaean world, and the origin of the bones and artifacts found within remains a mystery, deepened by the fact that there are no known Mycenaean sites anywhere in the Inner Mani.  

Michael Galaty is Director of the University of Michigan Museum of Anthropological Archaeology and Professor of Anthropology and Classical Studies at the University of Michigan.

Thursday, March 25, 2021 • 6:00 PM EST

Online via Zoom

"A 'Culture Distinctly African': Intellectuals of African Descent and Egyptology 

Dr. Vanessa Davies – The Nile Scholars Collective

Don't miss our second archaeology webinar of 2021! Dr. Vanessa Davies (The Nile Valley Collective) will be talking about the contribution of scholars of African descent in the early 20th-century development of Egyptology in a talk titled "A 'Culture Distinctly African': Intellectuals of African Descent and Egyptology."

Long before Egyptology was ever taught as a formal discipline in US universities, intellectuals of African descent were already studying and writing about the ancient cultures of the Nile Valley. But the disciplinary history, as it is currently written, incorrectly excludes those voices. Conversations between Black scholars and writers and white Egyptologists in the early 20th century must be recognized as part of the formation of the discipline in the United States and integral to its future.

This talk will be presented as a webinar via Zoom. Attendance is free, but space is limited and advance registration is required. Click the "register now" button to reserve your spot!

Vanessa Davies is an Egyptologist and founder of the Nile Valley Collective. She is the author of Peace in Ancient Egypt, the co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Egyptian Epigraphy and Palaeography, and the editor of The Phoebe A. Hearst Expedition to Naga ed-Deir, Cemeteries N 2000 and N 2500.

"A 'Culture Distinctly African'" is part of an ongoing series of archaeology talks presented by the Kentucky Society of the Archaeological Institute of America with support from the University of Louisville Departments of Anthropology and History and the University of Kentucky. 

Thursday, October 21, 2021 • 6:00 PM EST

Online via Zoom

Artifacts and Archaeological Processes:

The Lives and Afterlives of Objects in Pompeii

Dr. Catherine Baker – Bryn Mawr College

​​Don't miss the first installment in our series of archaeology talks for 2021-22! Dr. Catherine Baker (Bryn Mawr College) will be talking about her work at the site of Pompeii and what we can learn about the lives and afterlives of the artifacts found there.

From the chipped corners of an ancient die to the mortar on a reused inscription, artifacts tell stories. Archaeologists reconstruct these object biographies, tracing the lives of ancient artifacts from their creation to their final deposition. In this talk, I explore the stories of some of the artifacts excavated by the Pompeii Archaeological Research Project: Porta Stabia (University of Cincinnati), including dice and gaming pieces, statuettes, tools of potters, and even nails. These object biographies shed light not only on the way people first used these objects, but on their afterlives – the ways in which objects were discarded, recycled, and reused.  These lives and afterlives of objects, in turn, shape the archaeology of a site, allowing us to trace the complex patterns of use, reuse, and discard which characterized the history of one neighborhood in the Roman city of Pompeii.

Catherine Baker is a Classical archaeologist and Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Greek, Latin and Classical Studies and the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology at Bryn Mawr College. 

"Artifacts and Archaeological Processes" 
is part of an ongoing series of archaeology talks presented by the Kentucky Society of the Archaeological Institute of America with support from the University of Louisville Departments of Anthropology and History and the University of Kentucky.

Thursday, February 28, 2019 • 6:00 PM

Chao Auditorium, Ekstrom Library (University of Louisville)

Boomtown Blues: Archaeologies of Expansion and Collapse in Amazonia

Professor Anna Browne Ribeiro – University of Louisville

Amazonia has a deep and complex history of human habitation marked by political diversity, ancient practices of environmental engineering, and long-distance networks of communication. As we have seen elsewhere in the world, this deep history is marked by cycles of political or economic consolidation and resource control and maximization, and periods of infrastructural collapse and settlement abandonment. In this lecture, Dr. Browne Ribeiro explores some of the major ancient and historic patterns of expansion and contraction of political-economic systems alongside an analysis of resource and land-use strategies. Building on recent findings about environmental shifts and her own ethno-archaeological research, she grapples with the relative successes of late pre-colonial and modern systems of exploitation, and consider these in terms of contemporary risk-management and the future of tropical forests.

Anna Browne Ribeiro is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Louisville.

Thursday, March 28, 2019 • 6:00 PM

Chao Auditorium, Ekstrom Library (University of Louisville)

1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed

Professor Eric Cline – The George Washington University

For more than three hundred years during the Late Bronze Age, from about 1500 BC to 1200 BC, the Mediterranean region played host to a complex international world in which Egyptians, Mycenaeans, Minoans, Hittites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Cypriots, and Canaanites all interacted, creating a cosmopolitan and globalized world-system such as has only rarely been seen before the current day. It may have been this very internationalism that contributed to the apocalyptic disaster that ended the Bronze Age. When the end came, as it did after centuries of cultural and technological evolution, the civilized and international world of the Mediterranean regions came to a dramatic halt in a vast area stretching from Greece and Italy in the west to Egypt, Canaan, and Mesopotamia in the east. Large empires and small kingdoms, that had taken centuries to evolve, collapsed rapidly. With their end came the world’s first recorded Dark Ages. It was not until centuries later that a new cultural renaissance emerged in Greece and the other affected areas, setting the stage for the evolution of Western society as we know it today. Blame for the end of the Late Bronze Age is usually laid squarely at the feet of the so-called Sea Peoples, known to us from the records of the Egyptian pharaohs Merneptah and Ramses III. However, as was the case with the fall of the Roman Empire, the end of the Bronze Age empires in this region was probably not the result of a single invasion, but rather of multiple causes. The Sea Peoples may well have been responsible for some of the destruction that occurred at the end of the Late Bronze Age, but it is much more likely that a concatenation of events, both human and natural — including earthquake storms, droughts, rebellions, and systems collapse — coalesced to create a “perfect storm” that brought the age to an end. In this illustrated lecture, based on his book of the same title (1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed; Princeton University Press, 2014) that was considered for a 2015 Pulitzer Prize, awarded the American School of Oriental Research’s 2014 prize for “Best Popular Book on Archaeology,” and is being translated into fourteen foreign languages, Professor Eric H. Cline of The George Washington University will explore why the Bronze Age came to an end and whether the collapse of those ancient civilizations might hold some warnings for our current society.

Eric H. Cline
is Professor of Classics, History, and Anthropology in the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at The George Washington University and Director of the GWU Capitol Archaeological Institute. He is the AIA's Norton Lecturer for 2018–19.

The Norton Lecture
is named for Charles Eliot Norton, Professor of the History of Art at Harvard University and one of the founders of the Archaeological Institute of America, as well as its first president. The Norton Lectureship is one of the highest honors that the AIA can bestow, and has been held by a series of distinguished scholars since its inception in 1907.


Thursday, November 3, 2022 • 6:00 PM EST 

William T. Young Library Auditorium, University of Kentucky

401 Hilltop Avenue, Lexington, KY 40506

​​An Urban Garden at Pompeii: Reexploring the "House of Queen Caroline"

Professor Kathryn Gleason (Cornell University)

The House of Queen Caroline (VIII.2.14) at Pompeii was first excavated between 1790 and 1840, revealing fine wall paintings in finely decorated rooms and a kitchen and latrine arranged around an atrium ornamented as a garden. The complex opened on the north side to one of the larger walled gardens of the city, featuring two shrines with altars and, now lost, a statue of DIana. A brief period of tourism followed, but as the paintings left in situ faded, the house's popularity faded. Never well-documented, by the 1870s the "Casa della Regina Carolina" no longer appeared on maps nor in guidebooks through the 20th century. This talk brings the garden and house back to life based on new excavations by Cornell University and the University of Reading in collaboration with the Pompeii Archaeological Park between 2018-2022. The team's findings show how the house's owners used their garden to recover from the devastating earthquake of 62 CE.

Kathryn Gleason is Professor of Landscape Architecture at Cornell University and co-director of the Casa della Regina Carolina Project. She is the 2022-23 Hanfmann Lecturer for the Archaeological Institute of America. Find out more about her work here

"An urban garden at Pompeii" is part of an ongoing series of archaeology talks presented by the Kentucky Society of the Archaeological Institute of America with support from the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville Departments of Anthropology and History. 

Thursday, November 12, 2020 • 6:00 PM EST

Online via Zoom

Water Histories and Spatial Archaeology: Ancient Yemen and the American West

Professor Michael Harrower – Johns Hopkins University


Water and its histories reveal deep similarities and pivotal differences among human societies. Michael Harrower (Associate Professor of Archaeology, Johns Hopkins University) will present highlights of his recent book that compares and contrasts water histories of ancient Yemen (3200 BC - 600 AD) and the American West (2000 BC - AD 1950). Arabs have long served as an archetype of nomadic and tribal societies, while American frontier settlers have similar longevity as a historical stereotype of the mythical West and Western civilization. In both instances agriculture focused not in water-rich regions where rain-fed agriculture was possible, but in hyper-arid areas where attention focused on water scarcity rationalized massive state-constructed irrigation schemes that helped generate state identities, religiosities and sovereignties.

This talk will be presented as a webinar via Zoom. Attendance is free, but space is limited and advance registration is required. Click the "register now" button to reserve your spot!

Michael Harrower is Associate Professor of Archaeology at Johns Hopkins University. He is a Kershaw Lecturer for the AIA in 2020-21. You can learn more about his research here

“Water Histories and Spatial Archaeology” is part of an ongoing series of archaeology talks presented by the Kentucky Society of the Archaeological Institute of America with support from the University of Louisville Departments of Anthropology and History and the University of Kentucky.