Archaeological Institute of America
Western Illinois Society

2023-2024 Lecture Descriptions


Monday, October 23, 2023

"Death and Rebirth: Religious Change and Reincarnation during the Copper Age in the Southern Levant”
Yorke Rowan of the University of Chicago
Why did people invent ossuaries – the ceramic and stone containers for the reburial of human skeletons? In this lecture, we examine ossuaries invented during the Copper Age (Chalcolithic) period, c. 4500-3700 BCE in the southern Levant (Israel, Jordan, Palestine). The extended process from death to burial, and subsequent re-burial, inspired the invention of specialized containers for some members of the community. When, and why, did this change occur, only to disappear again by the Early Bronze Age? This phenomenon is examined in the context of rapid changes in Chalcolithic society, from large population growth to the expansion of diverse ritual activities.
7:30 PM, Center for Science and Business 276, Monmouth College, Monmouth, IL

Monday, November 13, 2023
Sienkewicz Lecture on Roman Archaeology
"Excavating Hidden Lives in Roman Pompeii"

Allison L C. Emmerson, Associate Professor of Classics, Tulane University

The Roman city of Pompeii, utterly destroyed by the volcano Mt. Vesuvius in 79 CE, has long occupied a privileged place in modern imaginings of the Roman past. Beyond the city’s well-known monuments, however, lies a well of data that has barely begun to be tapped. This talk will introduce the research program of Tulane University’s Pompeii I.14 Project, a new excavation that brings the most cutting-edge archaeological technologies to stratigraphic exploration below the floors, streets, and sidewalks buried by Vesuvius. A series of case studies will illustrate how the excavation team—made up of both international experts and student trainees—applies interdisciplinary techniques to restore the experiences of some of Pompeii’s hidden and forgotten residents: the enslaved, the women, and the urban poor who might appear only rarely in traditional sources, but who shaped their town and their own lives in distinct ways.

7:30 PM Morgan Room, Poling Hall, Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois

Thursday, January 25, 2024
Burkhardt Memorial Lecture
"Understanding Baptism: Its Origins in Roman Judaea and Why They Matter"
Danielle Steele, Associate Professor of History, Knox College
Baptism is an important part of the Christian tradition, a part we can trace to roots in ancient Jewish practice. Professor Fatkin has been studying the archaeology and culture of Roman Judaea for over twenty-five years. In this talk, she discusses the physical remains of ancient Jewish ritual baths in order to illustrate how the culture and politics of first century Judaea influenced this important rite of modern Christianity and associated rituals in modern Judaism.
7;00 pm. Alumni Hall 302 (Trustees' Room), Knox Collegee, Galesburg, Illinois