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. Plus there is free food and drink. 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.
Fall 2018
Sept. 7
Organizational Meeting: Introductions, summer research updates, plans for the year.
Sept. 21
Houses for the Living, Houses for the Dead: Mortuary Feasts and Social Inequality at a Post-Collapse Andean Necropolis (AD 1000-1450). Erika Brant, Department of Anthropology, University of Virginia.

Abstract. The collapse of the highland state of Tiwanaku around AD 1000 was accompanied by a dramatic uprising against the ruling elite. Elite ancestor effigies placed in large open plazas were iconoclastically disfigured, while the Putuni Palace, home to Tiwanaku's ruling elite, was leveled. In the post-collapse period, Titicaca Basin people abandoned the symbols of Tiwanaku's authority. A 1500-year tradition of ritual architecture and craft goods disappeared, and ritual practice turned to the worship of ancestors placed in modest burial towers, or chullpas. Does such a transition in ritual architecture and the abandonment of state-affiliated material culture signal a reinvention or, conversely, a rejection of hierarchy in the post-collapse period? Excavations conducted at the post-collapse Colla necropolis of Sillustani revealed a series of kin-focused ritual compounds as well as a previously understudied domestic sector characterized by multiple elite houses. Ceramic, faunal and architectural findings indicate a more segmented, and possible situational, role of leadership during the Late Intermediate Period (AD 1000-1450).
Oct. 5
Power, Honor, and Violence in Mycenaean Greece: The Archaeology and the Images. Dr. Katherine M. Harrell.

Oct. 20
Special Event
Archaeology at Monticello: Open House. Location: The Woodland Pavilion at the David M. Rubenstein Visitor Center, Monticello. Time: 10:00am to 4:00pm, Saturday, October 20, 2018.

Abstract. Monticello archaeologists host their annual Open House, as part of Virginia Archaeology Month. The Open House features exhibits on current research, including this summer's fieldwork at Site 6, an early-19th century domestic site that was home to enslaved field laborers. Walking tours to Site 6 leave the Woodland Pavilion at 11:00, 1:00, and 3:00.

For more information, see
Nov. 2
The Ismenion Hill in Thebes: Temples, Tombs, and Traditions Professors Kevin Daly and Stephanie Larson, Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies, Bucknell University.

Abstract.Kevin Daly and Stephanie Larson will present some of the preliminary results from their excavations on the Ismenion Hill, Thebes, Greece, from 2011-2016. This multi-period site has revealed new facets of the ancient temple to Apollo, the early Byzantine cemetery, and late Byzantine neighborhood life in this area that offer new insights on aspects of healing, disease and death in the Eastern Mediterranean. [Our own Dr. Fotini Kondyli is the main Byzantine pottery specialist working on the medieval material from this excavation.
Nov. 16
Restoring the Constitutional Landscape at James Madison’s Montpelier: Combining Landscape Archaeology, Social Justice, and Digital Technology. Dr. Matthew Reeves, Director of Archaeology and Landscape Restoration, Montpelier.

Dec. 7
The Space Between: Sidewalks, Social Integration, and Economic Structure in Roman Italy Dr. Claire Weiss, McIntire Department of Art, University of Virginia. n.b. 4:30-6:00 p.m.

Abstract: Sidewalks were central features of ancient Roman urban life and society. This study combines an analysis of textual, juridical, and physical evidence for the construction of sidewalks, or their absence, at four ancient Roman cities: Pompeii, Herculaneum, Ostia, and Minturnae. At Pompeii and Herculaneum, sidewalk construction, or curbing at least, seems to have been legally required of buildings with street frontages, since sidewalks were constructed against nearly every building façade. In these cities, sidewalks existed, in part, to separate pedestrians from street traffic, keeping them removed from hazards, but they also facilitated social and economic interconnections that were characteristic of the late Republican and early Imperial periods. At Ostia and Minturnae, there were fewer sidewalks and curbs. Instead, corridors and alleys provided pedestrians with access routes through and between buildings, away from the view and the social display of the streets. These high-imperial cities seem to have no longer required sidewalks as a legal condition of construction, their façades instead overwhelmingly dedicated to commercial endeavors. At these cities during the high empire, economic competition was no longer so indelibly tied to social connections, just as domestic and economic properties had been disentangled and resituated into more discretely defined buildings. The four cities examined in this study allow for the suggestion that there was diachronic change in Roman social and economic relationships evident from the differing construction arrangements of the four cities’ frontages. The alteration in access and provisioning for pedestrians is suggestive of a larger shift in social and economic behavior that removed the focus of interaction from the public street to the privacy of indoors. Using Structure from Motion and GIS to record and analyze the façades of these cities, this study determines that the way these cities provided for pedestrians reflected the prevailing urban social and economic culture, a culture that differed from city to city and transformed over time.
Past Semesters
For topics and speakers from past semesters, click here.