The Archaeological Institute of America
Western Illinois Society
Calendar of Events

Monday, September 14, 2009
“New Excavations and Approaches in Jordanian Archaeology”
Danielle S. Fatkin, Visiting Assistant Professor in History at Knox College (
7:30 P.M. in the Morgan Room of Poling Hall, Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois

The 2009 excavation season at Tall Dhiban in west-central Jordan revealed exciting new finds related to Biblical, Roman, and Mamluk history. One of the site’s excavators discusses evidence relating to a variety of topics including: state formation in the Iron Age; growth and development of the Nabatean kingdom and Roman Empire; and Islamic-Christian relations during the Crusades. This lecture also relates the research at the ancient site to development in the modern community of Dhiban and to on-going archaeological investigations throughout Jordan.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009
“From Sea to Sahara: The Romans in North Africa”
Naomi J. Norman, Professor of Classics at the University of Georgia and Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Archaeology (
7:30 P.M. Science 102 at Augustana College in Rock Island

This lecture includes a general survey of the cities, villages and farms established in North Africa (in particular in the area of modern Tunisia) in the Roman period. Of particular importance and interest are the monuments of Carthage (the capital of the Roman province Africa Proconsularis) and Dougga (the “Pompeii” of North Africa); the lecture looks at these two sites in some detail. The lecture also includes an examination of the rituals of death and burial in the Yasmina cemetery, an important cemetery in Carthage that was excavated by the lecturer and a team from the University of Georgia. Excavation in this cemetery uncovered two magnificent funerary portrait statues, several tomb monuments with figured reliefs and funerary inscriptions and a number of interesting children’s burials. The focus of the lecture is the process of Romanization of the province and includes an examination of some of the evidence for continued and strong indigenous influence on the Romans living in the area.

Thursday, October 22, 2009
“Big Men, Little Women: Art and Society in Early Greece”
Susan Langdon, Department of Art History and Archaeology, University of Missouri (
7:30 P.M. in the Morgan Room of Poling Hall, Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois

The Early Iron Age in Greece was a period of rapid political and cultural development. Between 1000 and 700 BCE Greek society underwent a remarkable shift from post-palatial recession to incipient classical culture. This transformation is usually explained in terms of a heroic ethos that emphasized the changing role of “big men” or chieftains with their followers without considering the contribution of and impact on the non-warriors of the population. Excavated graves, sanctuary offerings, and figural art reveals a rich but neglected body of material for reconstructing gender roles and social identities. Reexamination of evidence recovered over the last 100 years reveals the unsuspected roles of women in a hero-centered society. This talk examines the ways in which Geometric art shaped the distinctive social and gender asymmetries on which later classical society was based.

Monday, November 16, 2009
“Excavating in Romania 2009: the Porolissum Forum Project”
Leigh Anne Lane, Classics and History major, Monmouth College (
7:30 P.M. in the Morgan Room of Poling Hall, Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois

A two-time participant in summer excavations at Porolissum in Romania provides background to the project and discusses 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.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010
“Terra Incognita No Longer: Archaeological Research in Grevena, Southwest Macedonia, Greece”
Nancy Wilkie, William H. Laird Professor of Classics, Anthropology and the Liberal Arts at Carlton College (
7:30 P.M. at Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois

Grevena first came to the attention of archaeologists early in this century when Wace and Thompson published their work Nomads of the Balkans.. In it they described their travels with a group of nomadic pastoralists as they moved their flocks from their winter pastures in Thessaly to the mountains of Grevena. Since similar transhumant practices continue even today, one of the goals of the Grevena Project has been to study modern pastoralists and agriculturalists in order to shed light on the archaeological remains of the region. Because there are few references in the ancient literature to the area now encompassed by the modern province of Grevena, archaeological exploration has provided our only evidence for the occupational and environmental history of the region.

Thursday, February 25, 2010
“Myth and Memory in Ancient Roman Fountains”
Brenda Longfellow, Assistant Professor in the School of Art and Art History at the University of Iowa (
7:30 P.M. in the Morgan Room of Poling Hall, Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois

Monumental freestanding civic fountains were built by emperors and elite patrons in select cities throughout the ancient Roman Empire. These imposing edifices stood one to three stories high and contained elaborate sculptural programs that often interacted with flowing water to create innovative kinetic displays. Typically fed by new aqueducts and positioned in heavily trafficked areas of the city, these extravagant fountains showcased a variety of sculptures, from donors to divinities to local heroes, carefully arranged to highlight the prestige of the community and benefactor. In all but two cases, the sculptural ensemble was created for the fountain. This paper explores the two exceptions to this practice: the Fountain of Domitian in Ephesus (92/3 C.E.) and the Nymphaeum of Alexander Severus in Rome (226 C.E), both of which incorporate sculptures originally intended for other contexts.

Thursday, April 15, 2010
“Fans and Fame in the Roman Circus”
Sinclair Bell, Assistant Professor in the School of Art at Northern Illinois University (
7:30 P.M. in the Morgan Room of Poling Hall, Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois

In the first century CE, the funeral for Felix, a charioteer of the Red team, made headlines in the acta diurna—so Pliny reports—when one of his fans immolated himself on his favorite’s funeral pyre. While an extreme example, fan behavior in ancient Rome is not unknown. Yet where charioteers assumed a highly-visible presence in Roman society and have been much studied, the fans whom they inspired remain largely overlooked and poorly understood. This paper draws upon a wide range of literary, artistic and archaeological evidence in reconstructing and reclaiming the interactive experience of the sport’s various kinds of followers. The evidence of material culture—including funerary monuments, game boards and smaller articles (fingerings, game tokens)—is shown to have particular value in offsetting the largely hostile view of fans that emerges from the literary record. Contemporary perspectives drawn from the sociology of sport are also brought to bear. The central aim of the paper is to demonstrate how the study of the sports fan, who sat at the fault line between staged spectacles and everyday life, can enlighten us in new ways about the centrality of the Circus to Roman culture.