The Archaeological Institute of America
Western Illinois Society
Calendar of Events


Monday, September 15, 2008

“Roman Gladiators: Recovering Gladiatorial Tactics from Artistic Sources”

Steven L. Tuck, Associate Professor of Classics at Miami University (

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

The tactics gladiators used in the arena remain a mystery. Their training was almost certainly oral so no training manuals survive. The extant literary sources are of little help. Our best sources to recover this lost martial art may in fact be artistic representations of the events in the arena. Because of the enormous public interest in gladiatorial combat, these provide a wealth of images in all conceivable media. Examining representations of gladiators and their counterparts, venatores, and comparing them with the illustrations from the first western fighting manuals of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, allows us to reconstruct the tactics of gladiators and venatores. Identifiable in the art are certain details such as stance, weapon placement, angle of attack, and tactics. Notable in images of gladiatorial combat is evidence of close work: grappling, throws, and wrestling that were, and remain, integral to military personal combat. This study confirms the notion that gladiators were highly skilled, specifically trained, and determined not just to kill their opponents but to entertain and display virtue.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

“Oscar Broneer, World-Class Archaeologist:  from Bråna to Isthmia, by way of Augustana            College”

Jane Borelli, Professor Emerita at Augustana College (

1:00 P.M. in Old Main 122 at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois

Per Oscar Jonson left his home--and hard physical labor--in Sweden in the early 20th century, and came to Illinois.  In short order he learned English, earned a B. A., and launched himself on graduate studies in Classics.  Opportunities to study at the American Academy in Rome and the American School in Athens led to a long career as an archaeologist, one marked by such notable achievements as discovery of Poseidon’s Temple at Isthmia.  In a memoir written for his sons, Oscar Broneer, as this man would come to be known, describes his journey from Brana to Isthmia, by way of Augustana College.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

“Should the 'Elgin Marbles' be Returned to Greece?”

Nancy Sultan, Professor of Classics at Illinois Wesleyan University (

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

The Greek temple to the goddess Athena Parthenos  'Maiden'—The Parthenon—is one of the most reverered historic monuments in the world. It was built between 447-432 B.C. on the rock of the Acropolis in Athens, where it still stands, a holy ruin.  For nearly 2500 years the Parthenon has embodied the ancient Greek ideas of justice, freedom, and intellectual and artistic excellence that marked the height of the political power of Athens in the 5th century. It has endured centuries of earthquakes, military operations, weather, pollution, and looting. Fragments of monumental sculpture from the Parthenon and other buildings on the Acropolis can be found in museums around the world, but the largest collection outside Greece—and the most hotly debated—are the so-called 'Elgin Marbles', housed in the British Museum in London. For two hundred years, from the moment that Elgin had the marble sculptures removed from the Parthenon and shipped them to England, the Greeks and their friends in Britain have been lobbying for their return. The British Museum acquired them through an Act of Parliament, and it will take an Act of Parliament to return them. The British government has consistently rejected requests for restitution. Should they be returned?


Monday, November 10, 2008

“Who Owns the Past?  Identity and the Practice of Archaeology”

Nicholas Gresens, Ph.D, Candidate at Indiana University (

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

The question of who “owns” the past has been the subject of numerous books, articles, and conferences.  This question is not merely an academic one; it is a question of identity that has led to serious conflict.  When it comes to the practice of archaeology, the question becomes even more complicated.  Not only are we then dealing with a question of who owns the past, but who gets to discover and own the objects from the past—a question which may seem simple on the surface, but is full of complicated and complicating factors.  Using the modern state of Greece as a model, but bringing in examples from around the world, this talk will examine how the practice of archaeology, from research design to publication and exhibition, influences, and is influenced by, the joint issues of ownership and identity.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

“Excavating in Romania 2008: the Porolissum Forum Project”

Derek Huff and Leigh Anne Lane, Classics and History majors, Monmouth College            ( and

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

Two participants in the 2008 summer excavations at Porolissum in Romania will provide background to the project and discuss some of the activities from 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.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

“The Western Greeks and their Neighbors”

Barbara A. Barletta, Professor of Art History at the University of Florida ( )

 7:30 P.M. in Science 304 at Augustana College

Western Greece, or Southern Italy and Sicily, was settled by Greek colonists beginning in the 8th c. B.C.  The colonists came primarily from Mainland Greece, the area that comprises most of the modern country.  It is generally assumed that their artistic heritage was also derived from the Mainland.  This is supported especially by the architecture of the western colonies, which was usually constructed in the Doric style of their homeland.         This lecture explores the diverse influences on the early art of Western Greece and elucidates the impact from particular regions of the Greek and non-Greek worlds.  It looks at architecture, for which the area is so well known, as well as sculpture and painting.  An explanation is found for such correspondences as the result both of trade and of common approaches to art, materials, and to some extent even religion.


Monday, February 16, 2009

“Herclé or Herakles: Hero-gods in the Middle Ground of Ancient Italy”

Victor Martinez, Ph.D. Candidate in Art History at the University of  Illlinois (

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

The ‘hero-god’ known as Herclé was one of the most widely venerated mythological figures of pre-Roman Italy.  To the populations of central and northern Italy (i.e. Etrusco-Italic peoples), Herclé’s appeal was universal and his imagery pervasive but never static.  Despite the notoriety of Herakles, his Greek namesake, the representations and roles of Herclé developed in Italy within a cultural and historical “middle ground”.  I argue that Herclé emerged at a point before one culture had succeeded in dominating or effacing the other and that he grew from a willingness on both the part of foreigners, especially Greek settlers, and the Etrusco-Italic peoples to enhance and compliment religious impulses between them.  In short, as I explore in this paper, Herclé was more than a provincial version of the Greek hero.
Note: This lecture was cancelled.


Tuesday, March 31, 2009
“What’s New at Manchu Picchu?”

James S. Kus, Professor of Geography, California State University (

7:30 P.M. in Ferris Lounge, Seymour Lounge, Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois

Since its discovery (or re-discovery) in 1911 by Yale professor and explorer Hiram Bingham, Machu Picchu has become the premier tourist attraction in Peru, and perhaps all of South America.  It was recently ranked as one of the “Seven Wonders of the World” in internet balloting and is listed as a UNESCO “World Heritage Site.”  Yet, from the very beginning, controversy has swirled around the site – questions about who built it, why it was built, and why it was built in that particular location, were the focus of much debate during the first half of the Twentieth Century.  In recent years, however, the focus has shifted as research has provided answers to these basic questions.  Today, the two most important unresolved issues associated with Machu Picchu are 1). the future status of artifacts removed from Peru by Hiram Bingham and 2). how best to protect the site in the face of ever increasing tourist numbers (and modern commercial interests)


 Wednesday, April 15, 2009

“Excavating the Emerald Isle”

Sally Y. Hayes, MC 2010 (

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

Sally Hayes participated in a six week field school in County Roscommon, Ireland over the summer of 2008. The site, Kilteasheen, houses a building with multiple theories of purpose and a raised platform discovered to be a cemetery used for centuries. Kilteasheen is one of the few sites allowing students to work directly with human remains. Hayes will discuss the methods taught on site by the American-Irish consortium, the finds from the excavation on the western coast of Ireland, and she will also discuss the local culture, weekend trips, and other sites visited.





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