Posted by: aiawinnipeg | October 6, 2014


The line-up of lecture for the fall season 2014

For the fall season 2014, we have a packed and exciting schedule of public lectures… and the winter season will be just as good!

Our two speakers from the AIA touring lecturer series are:

September 28, 3pm, 237 University College – Prof. Thomas H. Carpenter (Ohio University) – Greek Tragedy amongst the ‘Barbarians’ in 4th century BCE Italy

November 9, 3 pm, 237 University College – Prof. Elise A. Friedland (George Washington University) – Seeing the Gods in Roman Palestine: Apollo from the Sanctuary of Kore at Samaria-Sebaste
(Prof. Friedland had to cancel her tour)

November 9, 3 pm, 237 University College – Prof. Mark Lawall (University of Manitoba) – Big Amphoras, Little Loom Weights: Archaeological Approaches to Economic Change

Other public lectures sponsored by the Department of Classics at the University of Manitoba include:

October 12, 3pm, 237 University College – The Third Annual Hellenic Civilization Lecture, Prof. Ioanna Sitaridou (Cambridge University) – In Search of the Lost Greek Infinitive: Continuity, Contact and Change in Romeyka of Pontus

October 20, Monday, 1:30 PM, 303 Tier Building – Classical Association of Canada Western Tour, Prof. Hugh Elton (Trent University) – The Late Roman Army and the Huns




Posted by: aiawinnipeg | September 23, 2014

Thomas Carpenter, September 28 at 3pm, 237 University College

Why buy a pot depicting a Greek tragedy if you can’t understand Greek?

This question is at the heart of Prof. Carpenter’s upcoming lecture. Red-figure vases imported to and produced in south Italy in the 4th century BC routinely depict images related to Greek tragedy and comedy. Indeed, these paintings often provide us with important evidence for aspects of performance and even content of ancient drama. Many of these vases ended up in non-Greek, indigenous settlements and tombs.

Prof. Carpenter has written numerous important works exploring this non-Greek interest in such quintessentially Greek artifacts: painted pots depicting Greek theater. The research is not easy. The vast majority of these vases were excavated by clandestini and now reside in museums and private collections around the world. A great value in Prof. Carpenter’s work has been his ability to exploit every trace of the remaining archaeological evidence.

Prof. Carpenter’s research also depends on a thorough knowledge of Greek vase painting in all periods. His publications include Dionysian Imagery in Archaic Greek Art: Its Development in Black-Figure Vase Painting; Masks of Dionysus; and Art and Myth in Ancient Greece: A Handbook (which has been translated into French, Spanish, Korean, Turkish and Greek!).

At Home in Classical Athens:

The Archaeology of a House near the Athenian Agora

Kathleen M. Lynch, University of Cincinnati

In 480 BC the Athenians famously abandoned their city before the Persian advance and retreated to the island of Salamis (and elsewhere). Once the Athenians and other Greeks defeated the Persians at Salamis and later at Plataea, the Athenians returned home to the mess left by the Persians in their city. Every hole or pit that could be found, including many wells, were filled in with the debris of the Persian attack. One can only imagine the number of times Athenian men must have been reminded by their wives and mothers (probably at the same time) to clear all the broken pottery out of the rec room.

Excavation of a well in the Athenian Agora

But we are on more solid ground when, as archaeologists, we begin to sift through the thousands of sherds, roof tiles, chunks of walls, and other debris that were thrown down these wells, dumped into convenient pits, or just shoveled out the back door for some later disposal.

Since 1931, the American excavations in the Athenian Agora have studied this debris and the associated architecture. But only in recent years has great care been paid to the precise nature of the artifacts found in the wells and what they can tell us about life before that fateful day when the Athenian husband finally stopped watching the Olympics and cleaned out the rec room.

Posted by: aiawinnipeg | September 9, 2013

Deborah Carlson’s Lecture September 22, 2013

Shedding New Light on Classical Ionia

Prof. Deborah Carlson, Texas A&M University
President, Institute of
Nautical Archaeology

Deborah Carlson and George Bass examine the ship’s eye

In 1996, one year after I arrived in Winnipeg, I received an email out of the blue from George Bass. The name may not be familiar to everyone, but he is – perhaps next to Jacques Cousteau – the most famous nautical archaeologist in the world. Imagine getting an email from Wayne Gretzky asking for advice on the selection of Team Canada – it was like that.

The email was asking me to identify the dates and places of production of a series of amphoras that Bass and his colleagues had just pulled off the sea bed near the Turkish coast across the water from Chios. My reply that the jars dated to the mid to late 5th century BC clearly made Bass very happy – a shipwreck of the Golden Age of Greece!

Bass shortly thereafter turned much of the work of exploring and studying the wreck to Deborah Carlson, then a PhD student at the University of Texas, Austin. Our lecture on Sunday, September 22, will tell the story of this wreck’s excavation and the importance of the finds for our growing understanding of the region of Ionia in the late 5th century BC.

Some years later, I happened to visit Deborah Carlson while she was excavating another major underwater site not far from Tektas Burnu. This next wreck dated to the early 1st century BC, and it was just as stunning – huge columns drums were the main cargo when the ship went down.

The Kizilburun wreck site in 2005

I was amazed by my visit – the evening meetings to organize the next morning’s dives were like military briefings. We slept in an excavation camp perched on razor sharp limestone outcrops – the only place in the world where i simply could not go for a run! And I learned three things: 1) I get seasick, 2) if you don’t dive, you don’t see a lot visiting an underwater archaeological site(!), and 3) showers … somehow… can carry electrical current! But I had a great time studying the artifacts that had come out of the water.

Posted by: aiawinnipeg | February 25, 2013

Kim Shelton – Nemea and the Pan-Hellenic Sanctuary of Zeus

MARCH 3, SUNDAY, 3PM, 237 University College

Kim Shelton – Nemea and the Pan-Hellenic Sanctuary of Zeus

This lecture will present the Sanctuary of Zeus at Nemea and the history of the pan-Hellenic festival and games celebrated there from the 6th to the 2nd centuries BCE. Life on the site began much earlier with habitation during the prehistoric period. This evidence will be discussed along with the possibility of continuity of cult to the establishment of a hero shrine and the establishment of the pan-Hellenic sanctuary in the 6th century BCE.

The Temple of Zeus at Nemea

The festival and games, best known from the 4th century BCE, will be discussed in detail as will also the unique features and structures of Nemea discovered through excavation by the University of California at Berkeley, especially the initial results of the renewed research on the site during the 2010 and 2011 seasons under the direction of the speaker.

For further information about work at Nemea, please visit the Nemea Center website.

Posted by: aiawinnipeg | February 5, 2013

Brooke Milne, February 10, 3pm, 237 University College

Sourcing the stone:

A geochemical analysis of Palaeo-Eskimo technological organization on Southern Baffin Island, Nunavut

On February 10 our usual Mediterranean focus will shift dramatically to the world of southern Baffin island. Here is Prof. Brooke Milne’s description of her lecture:

“The Palaeo-Eskimos are the earliest inhabitants of the eastern Arctic and are well known for their small, sophisticated stone toolkit. The most common type of stone used by Palaeo-Eskimo toolmakers was chert. On southern Baffin Island the geology is such that chert is scarce in many coastal regions yet is abundant in the island’s interior where it can be found in widespread surface scatters. Geochemical analyses of this toolstone indicate that both early and late Palaeo-Eskimos were exploiting chert from the interior. These data appear to suggest long-term continuity in Palaeo-Eskimo technological organization and seasonal land use patterns, despite inferences elsewhere of significant differences in land use between early and late Palaeo-Eskimo populations.

Milne image

This talk discusses my ongoing research in this region of Nunavut including the many challenges archaeologists face when working in the far North. I also present the most recent results of this provenance study and explain how these new data are reshaping current interpretations of Palaeo-Eskimo lifeways in this region of the Arctic.”


Posted by: aiawinnipeg | November 1, 2012


November 25, Sunday, 3pm in room 237 University College


An Afternoon of Vampires past and present

Bela Lugosi, Dracula (1931)

Bela Lugosi (at left) may be the quintessential vampire. But fear of – and fascination with – vampires can be traced far earlier than this 1931 movie.

In June 2012, there was extensive media coverage of excavations at Sozopol, Bulgaria, of two medieval skeletons identified as vampires on account of the iron stakes used to pin the body into the burial (lest it return to bite unsuspecting necks!). Here is a video of those excavations.

The University of Manitoba is fortunate to have critical mass of scholars with a deep interest in vampires, past and present. So, November 25 the AIA (Winnipeg Society) and the Classical Association of Manitoba are hosting three speakers devoted to vampires.

David Annandale (University of Manitoba, English, Film and Theater)

David Annandale, a critically acclaimed writer of thrillers, science fiction and horror novels as well as a faculty member of the department of English, Film and Theater, will introduce the afternoon’s topic from a modern perspective.

David is the University’s resident expert on scary things, especially scary things that bite (see this article on the CBC website). He has graciously agreed to set the stage for our two lectures on ancient vampires.

Matt Maher (University of Winnipeg, Department of Classics)

Chasing Lesvian Vampires: Modern Greek Folklore and the Archaeological Pursuit of the Vrykolaka

In Greece, the traditional belief in the vampire (vrykolaka) is long-standing, considerably widespread, and is well attested at least until the end of the 20th century. In this lecture, Matt Maher explores the perceived causes of vampirism, the behavior ascribed to the Greek vrykolaka, as well as the role religion has played in propagating this conviction, in order to better understand how this belief, and more importantly the fear it generates, is manifested in the archaeological record. After exploring archaeological examples of suspected vampires in cases reported from Greece, it is demonstrated that from a bioarchaeological standpoint, the belief in vampires can perhaps be explained by a number of more ‘rational’ and scientific reasons.

Amy Scott, University of Manitoba, Anthropology Department

The Rising of the Undead: An Examination of Vampire Folklore and Archaeological Evidence in Medieval and Post-Medieval Poland

Amy Scott is the field osteologist for the Slavia Foundation Mortuary Archaeology Field School Program in Drawsko, Poland. Working at the Drawsko site for over three years, she has been a primary investigator of the unique vampire burials recovered at the site and their association with Polish and Slavic folklore. In addition to this unique academic research, Amy is also an instructor with the field school program, teaching undergraduate and graduate students proper excavation techniques and laboratory protocols for working with human remains.

Amy is currently teaching a Human Osteology course, and she is an active member of the University of Manitoba Anthropology Students’ Association and the Canadian Association for Physical Anthropology.

Posted by: aiawinnipeg | October 17, 2012


Sunday October 28 at 3pm, 237 University College

Prof. Jennifer Tobin, University of Illinois-Chicago, will speak on

The 2000 Excavations at Zeugma, Turkey

Sometimes the most important archaeological research happens just ahead of the construction equipment – or in this case, the flood waters! The archaeological potential of the site of ancient Zeugma in southeastern Turkey was known since the 1980s. But only the impending construction of a major hydroelectric project in the 1990s, which would result in the area being flooded, spurred on large scale excavations. Numerous campaigns, by research teams from many different countries, in the late 1990s and early 2000s uncovered amazingly well preserved houses and public buildings. Most spectacular of all, perhaps, were the mosaics from the houses.

Jennifer Tobin’s lecture will give us a first-hand account of these very important excavations.

A substantial portion of the financial support for the Zeugma excavations (2000-2004) came from the Packard Humanities Institute. The Institute has also supported considerable archaeological research at the Athenian Agora and supports an exceptionally useful database of Greek Inscriptions.

A very good blog on Zeugma is found here.

Posted by: aiawinnipeg | October 16, 2012


The AIA is partnering with its 108 Local Societies to host events in over 100 cities across the United States and Canada for people of all ages and interests as part of its second annual Archaeology Day on October 20. Archaeology Day is officially recognized in the United States, but we’re happy to celebrate in Canada, too!


The Winnipeg Society is celebrating by presenting an interactive Archaeology Open Lab Day at the University of Winnipeg.

11am – 4 pm, Room 4C39 – 4th floor of Centennial Hall at the University of Winnipeg downtown campus, 515 Portage Avenue

Come by to experience what it is like to excavate an archaeological site and to process and analyze artifacts (including ancient bones and tools). Materials from different excavations and displays of archaeology in action will be on exhibit for the public to view – a chance to indulge your inner Indiana Jones! All events are free and open to individuals of all ages!

Posted by: aiawinnipeg | September 17, 2012

The Layered City of Alexandria

Alexandria from the French Institute hostel… July 2006

This coming Sunday’s lecture by John Dillon, in which he proposes to examine Alexandrianism through the ages, reminded me of my own, very brief encounter with that city. In July 2006, a small group of archaeologists were brought to Alexandria by the French archaeological mission to discuss the future of studies of transport amphora studies in the Eastern Mediterranean. The hope was that this meeting of minds would come away with a unified research plan and better lines of communication. There were, of course points of success and points of failure to our meeting, but it was a great introduction to an amazing city.

We stayed in an early 20th century apartment building, of the same sort that have mostly been long-since torn down in Greece, but many of which still stand in Alexandria. We drank coffee at cafes staffed with Greek -speaking waiters, and imagined Cavafy composing his poetry just across the room. The crowds that emerged as darkness fell could be transplanted to any Mediterranean, night-life culture. But an early morning run (5am to avoid the heat of mid-day) along the famed Corniche took me past women wading in the ocean in full Islamic dress. Such are the modern, cultural layers of Alexandria.

Of course there are the archaeological layers too. The modern excavation sectors sometimes have ancient names (like the Serapeion, remains from which are illustrated here), but sometimes the names preserve the more modern grandeur of the city: the Majestic Cinema, the Billiards Palace, the Diana Theatre. Despite the presence of the very bustling and crowded modern city, archaeological studies have thrived in Alexandria and its surroundings. For the latest news from Alexandria, you can visit this site, the Centre d’Études Alexandrines.

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