The Archaeological Institute of America

Western Illinois Society





Tuesday, September 13, 2011

“The Magnificent Peutinger Map: Roman Cartography at its Most Creative”

Richard J. A. Talbert, William Rand Kenan, Jr., Professor of History and Adjunct Professor of         Classics at the University of North Carolina (

7:30 P.M. in the Round Room, Ford Center for the Fine Arts, Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois

Romans – more than any other ancient people – came to realize that maps are not mere factual records, but also value-laden documents.  Then, as now, maps could even be designed to promote and reinforce values, from peace and civilization to unashamed pride in conquest and entitlement to world-rule.  Scholars recently have developed more sensitive and satisfying approaches to interpreting the cartographic products of pre-modern societies: this lecture deepens insight into the particular case of the Romans.  Richard Talbert reconsiders the thinking behind the immense Marble Plan of the city of Rome.  Above all, he exposes powerful meaning and purpose in the so-called ‘Peutinger Map’, an elongated, astonishingly rich, Roman world-map.  He constructs a compelling fresh context for this underrated masterpiece (which is 22 ft. long!).  In addition, he identifies its creation as a pivotal moment in Western cartography, an inspirational awakening with a long-term cultural impact that would influence Christian mapmaking through to the Renaissance. 


Monday, October 3, 2011

“The Archaeology of the Athenian Agora: Excavations of the World's First Democracy”

Michael Laughy, Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow at Monmouth College           (

7:30 P.M. in the Round Room, Ford Center for the Fine Arts, Knox College

The Agora, or public square, of Ancient Athens was the center of the city's intellectual, social, and economic life, as well as where the concept of democracy was first invented and practiced. Excavations of the area began in 1931 and continue to this day, making the Athenian Agora the longest continuously excavated site in all Greece. These excavations have brought to light the government buildings that lined the public square, as well as thousands of objects and inscriptions that were used to run the democracy. In this presentation, we will discuss the ways in which these excavations have both enriched our understanding of the history of world's first democracy, and revealed surprising differences and similarities between ancient and modern democracies.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

National Archaeology Day
Fieldtrip to Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site
The Western Illinois Society of AIA will provide free transportation for all society members for this trip. Additional seating for non-members is available on a first-come, first-served bases. For further information contact, see

For reservations, contacat Tom Sienkewicz (


Monday, October 24, 2011 

“The Dining Gaul: Daily Life at Hellenistic Gordion”

Shannan M. Stewart, Visiting Assistant Professor of Classics at the University of Illinois         (

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

In the early third century B.C. the Greek world was plagued by tribes of Gauls migrating east from their Danube homeland. Ancient historians described their barbaric behavior, and ancient sculptors represented their distinct physiognomy in the now famous Capitoline Dying Gauls. Not all Gauls were terrorists; many found a new and permanent home at the site of Gordion in Anatolia (central Turkey). Through recent excavation and research at Gordion, we can now reconstruct one complex and fascinating aspect of the Gauls that did not concern ancient historians or artists: their daily life.


Tuesday, November, 1, 2011

“Vikings: the North Atlantic Saga”

William W. Fitzhugh, Director of the Arctic Studies Center in the Department of Anthropology, National       Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution (

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

An account of a ‘block-buster’ exhibition of 2000-2004 celebrating the 1000th anniversary of Leif Erikson’s discovery of North America. This major new millennium initiative--including an exhibit, catalog, website (, television documentary, and educational programming--explores the origins and impacts of this pivotal moment in history. From the rise of the Scandinavian kingdoms during the Viking Age (A.D.750 to 1050) to the demise of the Greenland colonies around A.D. 1500, “Vikings: The North Atlantic Saga” examines the history of the western expansion of the Vikings and sheds new light on a well known culture. 


Monday, March 19, 2012
“Rattlesnake Mound and the Experience of Death at Cahokia”

Sarah Otten Baires, Ph.D. candidate at the University of Illinois in Urbana (

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

Rattlesnake Mound is one of the last standing ridge-top burial mounds at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site. It is also one of the largest. Warren K. Moorehead conducted excavations into this mound in the 1900s to prove that Native Americans built the mounds.  However, many questions were left unanswered including what were they doing at this mound?  When was it built and used?  And how was it constructed?  This past summer (July 2011) I conducted new excavations at Rattlesnake to answer these questions and to obtain a better understanding of Cahokian burial practices.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

“Music, Healing and Sacred Space in Classical Greece: A New Interpretation of the Thymele of       Epidauros”

Peter Schultz, Olin J. Storvick Chair of Classical Studies at Concordia College, in Morehead, Minnesota            ( or

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

Around 380 B.C.E., the citizens of the small Peloponnesian city Epidauros launched a massive building program at the nearby healing sanctuary of Asklepios. One of the most impressive and sophisticated structures belonging to this program was an elaborate, mysterious round building known in the ancient sources as the thymele. At that time, and for its size, the thymele was the most costly and most ornate building in all the Peloponnese. Since its excavation in the nineteenth century, archaeologists have proposed a wide range of interpretations for the thymele.  In this lecture, Dr. Peter Schultz offers an intriguing solution to this long standing mystery, the speculative suggestion that, in addition to many other possible functions, the thymele at Epidauros also served as a space for musical performance and that the design of the thymele, specifically its elaborate substructure, served to amplify and resonate sacred music performed within the building’s cella.  This argument complements a growing body of scholarship on the acoustics of ancient structures, a field of study known as archaeoacoustics, and seeks to place the thymele at Epidauros within a dynamic, living past.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

“Forts de Chartres: an Archival Detective Story”

Margaret K. Brown, former state archaeologist and former director of the Cahokia Mounds State Historic    Site in Collinsville (

7:30 P.M. in the Morgan Room of Poling Hall, Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois
Fort de Chartres was the governmental, military and commercial center in 18th century Illinois.  Illinois was part of the colony of Louisiana and remained a French colony until 1763 when the Treaty of Paris ended the French and Indian War and ceded the east bank of the Mississippi River to the British. The first wooden fort was built in 1721, and a replacement in 1725.  It has been thought that these were the only wooden ones, the third being the presently reconstructed stone fort - Fort de Chartres State Historic Site.Reanalysis of documentary evidence and archaeological testing have shown that a third wooden fort existed. Evidence for this has also come from reconstruction on paper of the associated village layout.  This has led to a new understanding of the history of the area.