University of Virginia: Archaeology Brown-Bag Workshop


Archaeology Brown-Bag Workshops provide an informal, interdisciplinary venue for presentations of work in progress by students, faculty, and visiting scholars, and for discussion of developments in the recent archaeological literature. Light refreshments are served. Workshops convene more-or-less tri-weekly on Fridays at 4:00-5:30 in the conference room on the second floor of Brooks Hall, unless otherwise noted below.

Want to volunteer a talk or discussion topic? Email Adria LaViolette, or Fraser Neiman.
Dame Barbara Cartland and Sir Mortimer Wheeler attending a Brown Bag. c. 1965.
Dame Barbara Cartland and Sir Mortimer Wheeler, attending a Brown Bag, circa 1965.
Fall 2014 Schedule
Sept. 12
Predatory Commerce and Economic Disaster: A Cautionary Tale from the 17th-Century Indian Ocean Economy. Chapurukha Kusimba, Professor and Chair, Department of Anthropology, American University.

Abstract My presentation will model and demonstrate the negative effects of commercial deregulation on global economies using data on the Indian Ocean economy over the past 500 years. I will present a "trading system" model to show how predatory behaviors and agents are selected in a deregulatory climate. These agents work to further reduce regulation while simultaneously intensifying short-term maximization, leading to long-term collapse and disaster for small-scale economies. This change is a departure from traditional network-centric organizations common in ethnic trading groups that emphasize self-regulation and self-limiting behaviors as survival strategies. I use archival, archaeological and archaeometric data, to show that in the long run, deregulation of the macro-economy in the 17th-century Indian Ocean proved disastrous for Asia and Africa.
Oct. 11
Special Event
First-Ever University of Virginia Archaeology Fair. Campbell Hall, Ruffin Hall, an the Fralin Museum, 11:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m. For more information, click here.

Oct. 17
Black- and Red-figure Pottery from the Sanctuary of the Nymphs in Athens Renee Gondek, Visiting Scholar, George Washington University. Adjunct Faculty, University of Virginia

Located on the southern side of the Acropolis in Athens, the sanctuary of the Nymphe was a shrine established for the cult of a single Nymph whom some scholars believe was the personification of the Athenian bride. Finds from this sanctuary range from specialized nuptial vessels known as loutrophoroi, some of the oldest ever discovered, to perfume and oil vessels. Since the dates of these votive objects range from the seventh century BCE to the third, it is clear that the shrine had an important place in the Athenian religious sphere. Interestingly, along with its nuptial associations, the sanctuary may have had an additional chthonic aspect as well. Such an interpretation is based on a fourth century stele dedicated to Zeus Meilichios and showing the image of a snake. Ironically meaning "the gentle" or "the gracious one," Zeus Meilichios in the fifth century was Zeus in his underworld aspect.This presentation will investigate the black- and red-figure loutrophoroi discovered at this shrine. In addition to exploring the marital iconography on these vessels, we will also discuss the connection of marriage and death in Ancient Athens and examine fragments from the sanctuary that display Charon, the ferryman of the dead.
Oct. 17 and 18
Special Event
Monticello Archaeology Open House In celebation of Virginia Archaeology Month, join the staff of Monticello's archaeology department for updates on their latest research, including walking tours of the the vanished Monticello Plantation landscape. The Woodland Pavilion at the Monticello Visitor's Center, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. For more information, click here.

Oct. 31
TBA. Karenne Wood, University of Virginia Department of Anthropology and Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.

Workshop Schedule from Past Semesters
For topics and speakers from past semesters, click here.