SWTAS 2019-2020 Lecture Series! All lectures are free and open to the general public. Most lectures are hosted by Trinity University, but occasionally we meet at other venues, as listed in the program notes below. Refer to the Find Us! page for location maps. All lectures last approximately one hour, with a reception afterwards. A pre-lecture dinner is available with the speaker at 5:45pm. The lecture series is made possible by the Archaeological Institute of America, the Southwest Texas Archaeological Society, and the Trinity University Department of Classical Studies.

Monday, September 16, 2019
7:30 pm, Trinity University (venue TBD)

Lecture by Dr. Nicolle Hirschfeld, Classical Studies, Trinity University

Under the Bronze Age seas

Jason crossed the Black Sea in search of the Golden Fleece, Agamemnon commanded a mighty fleet towards Troy, Poseidon wrecked Odysseus’ raft. Stories of the sea permeate Greek myth. It is perhaps fitting that it was the excavation of a ship from the era of the Trojan war that initiated another era: the age when underwater archaeology became a science. This lecture presents an overview of what archaeologists now know about the ships and cargoes that traversed Homer’s wine-dark seas, with special reference to the lecturer’s ongoing research on the cargoes found at Cape Gelidonya and Uluburun.


Monday, October 28, 2019
7:30 pm, Trinity University (venue TBD)

Lecture by Dr. Kenneth Seligson, Department of Anthropology, University of Southern California

Burning Rings of Fire: Ancient Maya Resource Conservation

The Ancient Maya used burnt lime for everything. From the mortar that held their elaborate temple pyramids together to the processing of corn into a nutritious staple food, burnt lime was literally the glue that held the Maya world together. Yet until recently, archaeologists did not know how the Prehispanic Maya made their burnt lime. The amount of wood used in traditional aboveground kilns during the Colonial Period and more recently raised the possibility that burnt lime production may have led to rampant deforestation during the Classic Period. In this lecture, I discuss the many archaeological methods that I used to identify a fuel-efficient Prehispanic pit-kiln technology in the Northern Lowlands – a finding that questions the idea that Classic Maya civilization “collapsed.”


Thursday, February 20, 2020
7:30 pm, Trinity University (venue TBD)

Lecture by Dr. Olga Koloski-Ostrow, The Kevy and Hortense Kaiserman Endowed Chair in the Humanities, Professor of Classical Studies, Brandeis University

The Sensorium of the Roman Urban Landscape: Sights, Sounds, Smells, Tastes, and Touch

This talk explores the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touch of ancient Roman cities (focus on Pompeii and Herculaneum, but reference to Ostia and Rome as well) using textual and archaeological evidence, in order to discover how we can identify the sensorium of the Roman city and how it can sharpen our understanding of life on Roman streets, in public spaces, and in private dwellings. We review the chief institutions and structures of the city to find the evidence: in the streets (dung, vomit, pee, shit, detritus, garbage, filthy water, fresh produce and baked goods); from inside tenement buildings (mould, damp basements, fires, charcoal, stagnant well water, overflowing cesspits); from shops (burning ovens, smoke, meat and vegetables); from live animals; from crowded public venues (including games in the amphitheaters, theaters, fora, and markets); from urban disasters (fires and floods); from inside public baths and toilets; from religious worship in and outside temples; and from the rituals associated with death and burial. Such an investigation into the sources and dissemination of the ancient sensorium revivifies the complexity of the ancient city and even contributes to a better understanding of urban zoning.

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