The Archaeological Institute of America
Western Illinois Society
Calendar of Events


Thursday, September 27, 2007

“Frankish Citadels, Pre-modern Architecture and a Crocodile's Sanctuary: Mapping the Past in Greece and Egypt”

Todd Brenningmeyer, Assistant Professor of Art History at Maryville University             (

7:30 P.M. in the Morgan Room of Poling Hall, Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois

Digital mapping and related spatial technologies have become important tools for understanding and reconstructing the past.  Since 1990, the Minnesota Archaeological Researches in the Western Peloponnese (MARWP) has applied these tools to the discovery, documentation and study of previously unrecorded buildings and towns dating from the Frankish occupation in the 13th century A.D. to the present in the northwest Peloponnese of Greece.  At the site of Tebtunis, Egypt, spatial technology is at the center of another ongoing architectural investigation.  Excavations conducted at the site between 1929 and 1936 uncovered architecture and cultural deposits representing over 1000 years of possibly continuous occupation. Unfortunately, the results of these excavations were never fully published. Wind, sand, and time have since buried or eroded much of the architecture identified during these excavations.  Recent digital reconstructions using aerial photographs from the 1930’s provide new information about architecture and finds that in many cases no longer exist. This paper discusses the results and methods used in these archaeological investigations.  Particular emphasis is placed on the lecturer’s use of GIS, remote sensing and related spatial analysis applications in these investigations.


Tuesday, October 9, 2007

“Roman Athens:  The Transformation into an Imperial City”

Michael Hoff, Professor of Art History at the University of Nebraska (

7:30 P.M. in Room 109, Morgan Hall, Western Illinois University, Macomb, Illinois

Few cities of the ancient world can rival Athens’ rich array of cultural splendors.  Monuments such as the Parthenon, Erechtheion, and Theater of Dionysos (to name only a few) serve as visual reminders of Athens’ glory during the Classical Age. But scholars have neglected the era in Athenian history when Rome held dominion over all of Greece and the “Golden Age” of Athens was long passed. The Romans heavily patronized the city with endowments of magnificent buildings and monuments that outwardly reflect and honor Athens’ past glory, yet also readily testify to Roman domination.  Considering the heavy debt the Romans owed to Greece with respect to their own art and culture, it is curious to note the Roman contributions to Athenian art and architecture.

                This talk traces the topographical and architectural changes Athens underwent during the formative period of Roman control, which occurred during the late Hellenistic period and to the mid-first century AD. There is a particular emphasis on the role Augustus played in the civic transformation based on research by the lecturer. Monuments to be discussed include the Parthenon, Agora, Temple of Roma and Augustus, Roman Market, and others.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

“Statuary of Gods and Heroes from a Late Roman Villa at Corinth”

Lea M. Stirling, Professor of Roman Archaeology at the University of Manitoba (

7:30 P.M. in the Morgan Room of Poling Hall, Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois

In 1999, excavators at a 4th-century villa outside of Corinth, Greece discovered a cache of marble statuettes. The nine statuettes include representations of Asklepios (twice), a seated Roma, a Hercules Farnese, a Dionysos, a Pan, and a cloaked woman of the “Aspasia/Europa” type. Several of the statuettes are virtually complete and preserve exquisite red paint and gilt. Some were contemporary with the villa, but others were “heirloom” pieces manufactured much earlier. This lecture will introduce the statuettes (hitherto unpublished), examine their iconography, and set their manufacture and use into the context of a society undergoing cultural and religious change. These excavations are conducted by the American School of Classical Studies under the direction of Dr. Guy Sanders.

Monday, November 12, 2007

“Excavating in Romania: the Porolissum Forum Project”

Seth Leitner, Classics and History major, Monmouth College (

7:30 P.M. in the Morgan Room of Poling Hall, Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois

A participant in the 2007 summer excavations at Porolissum in Romania, Leitner will provide background to the project and discuss some of the activities of this season. Porolissum is one of the largest and best-preserved archaeological sites in all of Romania. Located in modern-day Salaj County, this border (limes) military center was established in AD 106 by the Roman Emperor Trajan to defend the main passageway through the Meses (Carpathian) Mountains into the province of Dacia Porolissensis.


Thursday, January 31, 2008

“Reconstructing a Luxury Bath from an Ancient Villa at Tel Anafa (Israel)”

7:30 P.M. in the Morgan Room of Poling Hall, Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois

Benton Kidd, Associate Curator of Ancient Art, Museum of Art and Archaeology                        University of Missouri-Columbia (

Over several seasons in the 1960s and 1970s, the Universities of Missouri and Michigan excavated a luxurious villa in the Upper Galilee region of Israel.  Dating to ca. 100 B.C.E., the villa was probably occupied by hellenized Phoenicians from nearby Tyre.  The merchants’ cosmopolitan taste is reflected in the villa’s most outstanding element, a multi-roomed bath complex whose walls were covered with painted and gilded stucco. Fashioned in the “Greek Masonry Style,” the molded stucco scheme imitated stone walls and decorative elements often found in stone.

                This paper presents a new color reconstruction of the main bathing room and its stucco decoration. Additionally, evidence is presented for the chemical components of the pigments and the techniques for application of the plaster and gold leaf. This evidence is compared to similar studies and the comments of ancient authors on the subject.


Thursday, February 21, 2008
“Text as Trowel’s Edge: Homer, The Bible, and the Origins of Archaeology”

Nicholas J. Gresens, Visiting Lecturer in Classics, Monmouth College       (

7:30 P.M. in the Morgan Room of Poling Hall, Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois

The Homeric epics and the Bible are arguably the most influential pieces of literature in the history of western society.  Because of their status, both have been used to write histories of the ancient world and both have been used to interpret archaeological remains.  This talk will examine two periods in the history of the exploration of the archaeological record, the antiquarianism of the Roman Imperial period and the origins of scientific archaeology in the 19th century to see how the context of exploration changed the relationship between the written word and the archaeological record.


Wednesday, March 5, 2008
“Re-constructing and Rowing on the Trireme Olympias

James M. May, Professor of Classics, Provost and Dean, St. Olaf (

7:30 P.M. in the Morgan Room of Poling Hall, Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois

In 1990 and again in 1993 Prof. May was one of 170 rowers who powered the trireme Olympias, a replica of an ancient Greek warship, around the Aegean Sea. In this talk he will discuss the history of triremes in the ancient world, the project to construct a ship according to ancient design and his experiences as a rower on this ship, Olympias. This lecture is also the 22nd Bernice L. Fox Classics Lecture.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

“Heavy Lifting in Greek and Roman Monumental Architecture”

William Aylward, Associate Professor, Classics Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison (

7:30 P.M. in Science 102, Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois

Greek and Roman monumental building involved hoisting blocks weighing several tons. The heaviest loads weighed over 20 tons. How did they do it? This illustrated presentation examines methods and tools for hoisting and positioning blocks into place on ancient monuments across Asia Minor, Greece and Italy.


April TBA

“On Pleasures and Death: Etruscan Tomb Painting and the Journey to the Underworld.

Amalia Avramidou, Andrew Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow Department of Classics,     Northwestern University

7:30 P.M. in Morgan Hall 109 at Western Illinois University, Macomb, Illinois

 Grave customs and concepts of death of civilizations long gone can be extremely difficult for us to decipher today. In the case of Etruscan culture we have to take into consideration yet another obstacle, the lack of any written literary and historical sources produced by the Etruscans themselves. When it comes to Etruscan funerary rites, we are at once graced with an amazing corpus of tomb paintings that somehow compensate the lack of written accounts, and puzzled at the sight of scenes that strike us as inappropriate for such a context: sex, torture and mixed creatures are juxtaposed with the more traditional subjects of banquet and athletic competitions.

                This talk presents certain Archaic tombs from Tarquinia, the most prominent city in Etruria, and attempts a fresh interpretation of the Etruscan views of the Afterlife through the study of their iconography, grave goods, and setting, along with an overview of eschatological beliefs shared throughout the Mediterranean during the late sixth and early fifth century.

CPDU’s are available for attendance at these lectures.

Dr. Thomas J. Sienkewicz
Minnie Billings Capron Professor of Classics
Department of Classics, Monmouth College
700 East Broadway
Monmouth, Illinois 61462
Office: 309-457-2371; Home: 309-734-3543; FAX: 815-346-2565