The Archaeological Institute of America
Western Illinois Society
Calendar of Events

Monday, September 18, 2006

“A Wealthy Athenian Builds a Roman Bath near Corinth: Archaeology in the Sanctuary of Poseidon at Isthmia”

Dr. Jayni Reinhard, AIA Milwaukee Society and Carthage College (

7:30 P.M. in the Huff Center Classrooms 1012 A & B, Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois

In the second half of the second century CE an enormous, lavishly decorated Roman bath was built at Isthmia. Although no dedicatory inscription exists, many details of the building’s construction, decoration and function suggest that the famous rhetorician and philanthropist Herodes Atticus (Herod of Athens) was the dedicator of this bath. Most conspicuously among the sculptural ornamentation were two identical portrait herms of a youth named Polydeukion, a student of Herodes. Other decoration included a monumental mosaic with marine mythological themes and an extravagant usage of marble revetment, and a marked similarity in overall decoration with that of the Neptune Baths in Ostia is notable. There is also evidence to suggest that Herodes established a cult of Polydeukion in connection with that of Palaimon, a local hero for whom the Isthmian Games were inaugurated. Herodes is known to have financed other projects in the Corinthia, the locale of a family estate. Ancient authors Pausanias and Philostratus attest his dedication of majestic gold and ivory statues in the Temple of Poseidon at Isthmia. He is also considered by scholars to be responsible for renovations to the Odeion and perhaps the Peirene Fountain in Corinth. Herodes had lived in Rome as the tutor of Antonine princes, and had the opportunity to experience the capital’s elaborate imperial baths and the new Neptune Baths built by the emperors in Rome’s harbor at Ostia. This may explain two of the philanthropist’s predilections: financing hydraulic projects; and mimicking the emperor in his benefactions. The Isthmian baths’ interior fittings, scale, design and placement within a panhellenic sanctuary convey an imperial character so in keeping with Herodes’ own that I suggest the building should be added to his known oeuvre.

Thursday October 5, 2006

“Tutankhamun: The Egyptian Boy-King Then and Now”

Víctor M. Martínez, Ph.D. candidate in Art History at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign (

7:30 P.M. in the Huff Center Classrooms 1012 A & B, Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois

This talk is intended to complement the exhibit at the Field Museum in Chicago and explores various aspects of the tomb, the contents, and the "afterlife" of King Tutankhamun. We will move across time and space to view objects in their context as Egyptian regalia, archaeological artifacts, and modern fetishes.


Thursday October 12, 2006

"Women and Poison at Rome: Separating Truth from Type-Casting."

Dr. Chery Golden, Assoc. Professor of History at Newman University, Wichita, Kansas (
7:00 P.M., Currens 205, Western Illinois University, Macomb, Illinois

Not requiring the violence and blood associated with hand weapons or the strength of hand-to-hand struggle, societies have often identified poison as the weapon of choice for women who would murder. The stealth, deception, and planning implied in its use played into social expectations connected with magic and witchcraft, also overwhelmingly associated with women. In ancient Rome the stereoptypical poisoner in literature was a woman. The strength of the type-casting can still be seen in many modern mystery novels. This pattern shows up in various Roman literary sources including Suetonius, Tacitus, Galen, and Apuleius among many others. Famous accused poisoners include Plancina from Syria and Livia, wife of Augustus. Indeed the poisonous thread woven by Suetonius has been transmitted to the modern world by Robert Graves in his "I Claudius" and as a result of its production as a TV miniseries Livia's association with poison is now accepted as fact by the general public. In truth, this identification of poison as the exclusive weapon of women is not as firm as we might expect. A consideration of the evidence, both material and literary, casts doubt on this connection and exposes a facet of the way Roman society type-cast women. This lecture has been funded by the Western Illinois University Theme Committee and the Visiting Lecture Committee.  


Monday, October 16, 2006

“Massalia:  The Oldest City in Western Europe”

Prof. A. Trevor Hodge, Department of Classics, Carleton University, Ottawa (

7:30 P.M. in the Olin Center Auditorium, Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois

Though one does not usually think of Marseille as a particularly ancient city, it has a history stretching unbroken back to its foundation in 600 BC by the Greek colonists from Phocaea, in Ionia.  Moreover, the entire littoral of Provence and the Cote D’Azur was thoroughly colonized by Greeks long before the Romans ever got near Gaul, giving the Celts their first taste of Classical civilization.  Marseille, Antibes, Nice, and Monaco can all boast ancient Greek origins, and even their names are Greek – Nice is “Nikaia” (“Victory City”), and Monaco is first mentioned in the 6th Century BC historian Hecataios.

                Though this colonizing movement is dealt with, the lecture naturally concentrates more on Massalia itself, in its period of independence, 600 till its subjection by Caesar.  Until the excavation of the Bourse site in 1967 there were few archeological traces of the ancient city, but now the harbor and a 10 meter section of the city walls are visible, overlooked by a new museum.  Slides of this are supplemented by an account of the often difficult excavations, and of the peculiarities of the social and economic institutions of a highly individualistic city which, devoutly admired (particularly by Romans) for its Hellenic cultures, yet leaves us facing many tantalizing contradictions.


Monday, November 27, 2006

“Bacchus on the Bay of Naples: The Importance of Wine to Roman Culture under the Shadow of Vesuvius in the First Century AD”

Dr. Myles McCallum, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Core Humanities Program at the University of Nevada, Reno (

7:30 P.M. in the Huff Center Classrooms 1012 A & B, Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois

Food and drink are key components of human culture, and the production, distribution and consumption of food has important social and economic implications.  In the Roman world, wine was considered to be quite literally the king of beverages; it had important cultic associations, costly vintages were consumed by connoisseurs at table, and it was an integral part of the Roman economy of the late republican and imperial periods.  Although the Romans initially associated wine with the god Jupiter, the prevailing spirit of religious syncretism in the ancient Mediterranean led to the adoption of the Greek/Asian wine god Bacchus, particularly in those parts of Italy in close contact with the Hellenistic world.  The Bay of Naples area, including the excavations at Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Stabiae, is an ideal setting in which to study the cultural significance of wine in the Roman world during the first century AD, and the increasing importance of Bacchus among Italian and Roman communities during this period.  The frescoes, mosaics, and other works of art from these sites attest to the social, economic, and religious significance of the vine throughout the region, and the growing importance of Bacchus and the vine in the daily lives of the area’s residents.  Recent archaeobotanical and archaeological investigation has provided substantial evidence about the nature of viticulture in the region, the social rituals surrounding the consumption of wine, and the economic importance of wine production to the region’s economy.  Overall, the evidence suggests that by the first century AD, Bacchus had come to stay under the shadow of Vesuvius, and that, as wine production and consumption came to play a greater role in the daily lives of the region’s inhabitants, his influence throughout the region waxed stronger.


Wednesday, February 7, 2007
“GIS and Archaeology”

Dr. Carrie Hritz, Post-doctoral Research Associate in the Department of Anthropology at Washington University (

Dr. Christopher Fasano, Professor of Physics, Monmouth College (

7:30 P.M. in the Huff Center Classrooms 1012 A & B, Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois

Dr. Fasano will provide a brief introduction to GIS (Geographic Information Systems) and how it works. A GIS is a computer system capable of capturing, storing, analyzing, and displaying geographically referenced information; that is, data identified according to location. Dr. Hritz will illustrate ways that GIS is used by archaeologists in the field and in research.


Thursday, March 1, 2007

“City of the Grim Reaper:  Rediscovery and Demise at Mashkan-shapir, Iraq”

Dr. Paul Zimansky, Professor of Archaeology and Ancient History, Stony Brook University (

12:00 Noon in Highlander Room, Stockdale Center, Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois  

Located in an uninhabited part of Iraq 150 km southeast of Baghdad, the ruins at Tell Abu Duwari cover an area greater than the celebrated Sumerian city at Ur.  From 1986 until shortly before the Gulf War, the lecturer and his wife, Elizabeth Stone, conducted a survey and excavations at the site, discovering cuneiform inscriptions that proved it was ancient Mashkan-shapir a city dedicated to the Mesopotamian god of death, Nergal, and a stronghold of Hammurabi's greatest rival, the kingdom of Larsa.  This site offers a unique archaeological portrait of Mesopotamian city life. It was occupied for only a short period in the early second millennium B.C. and has stood isolated in the desert ever since.  Its surface is littered with hundreds of objects of art, tools, weapons, inscriptions, and architectural remains--not to mention about thirty million pieces of pottery.  Mapping the distribution of these objects and features through surface survey and aerial photography has provided indications of where certain activities were practiced. Excavations in various areas have shown how the surface remains correlate with what is under ground. Work at the site was brought to an end by Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait and the political situation that followed.  Aerial photographs and satellite images reveal that in recent years the site has been almost entirely destroyed by looting on an industrial scale.


Thursday, March 1, 2007

“End of an Empire: Archaeology and the Collapse of Urartu”

Dr.. Paul Zimansky, Professor of Archaeology and Ancient History, Stony Brook University (

7:30 P.M. in Room 109, Morgan Hall, Western Illinois University, Macomb, Illinois  SEQ CHAPTER \h \r 1The Iron-Age Kingdom of Urartu in eastern Anatolia, with its impressive fortresses, elaborate artistic and metalworking traditions, and substantial cuneiform literature, was the one power in the Near East that was able to survive the aggressive onslaught of the Assyrian Empire.  Yet at some disputed date around the end of the 7th century B.C. it was violently destroyed by enemies of unknown identity.  Even the memory of Urartu appears to have been expunged: indications of its material influence are hard to find in later Anatolia and Greek historians were unaware that the empire ever existed.  Materials excavated by the lecturer in storerooms at Bastam, Iran, during the late 1970's have been used by others to present new theories about the time and circumstances of Urartu's collapse.  The lecture reviews these and other recent archaeological evidence relevant to the end of Urartu and argues offers an explanation for the thoroughness of Urartu's disappearance.

Thursday, March 8, 2007
“Reading the Popol Vuh: Authorship and Historical Context”
Dr. Nestor Quiroa,
Assistant Professor of Spaniah, Wheaton College (
2:00 P.M. in the Highlander Room, Stockdale Center, Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois
An informal presentation of Dr. Quiroa’s extensive research on the effect of the placement of the text of the Popol Vuh within a larger treatise (by Friar Francisco Ximenez) aimed at the extirpation of idolatry in Colonial Guatemala. He will describe the Ximenez manuscript as it exists in the Newberry Library in Chicago and also touch on ways that scholars, failing to account for its context of production, have often been tempted to view it as a source of “authentic,” “pre-Hispanic” lore.

Monday, April 2, 2007

“Priam’s Gold: The Straightforward Story of a Controversial Treasure”

The Revd Dr Donald Easton, Recipient of Schliemann Medal, Berlin Academy of Sciences, 1990 (

7:30 P.M. in the Huff Center Classrooms 1012 A & B, Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois

Schliemann’s Troy Treasures, including the famous “Priam’s Treasure”, disappeared from the Berlin Museums at the end of World War II. For decades there was total mystery as to what had become of them until, in 1993, the Russians admitted to having had them since 1945. This lecture unravels the extraordinary story of this collection, addressing in the process the two controversial questions: who do the treasures now properly belong to, and were they ever authentic in the first place?  The lecturer is one of the few scholars to have handled the material in modern times.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007
“Troy, New Reflections on an Old Site”

The Revd Dr Donald Easton, Recipient of Schliemann Medal, Berlin Academy of Sciences, 1990 (

7:30 P.M. in the Huff Center Classrooms 1012 A & B, Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois  

Since 1988 there have been new excavations under the leadership of Professor Manfred Korfmann (late of the University of Tübingen) which in some respects have revolutionized our picture of Troy in the Late Bronze Age.  Drawing on their findings and on other recent studies this lecture asks what we now know about the archaeology of this famous site, how it fits into the history of the surrounding area, and what (if anything) it can tell us about the historicity of the Trojan War.