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 2017
Sept. 1
Organization Meeting. Introductions and summer research updates.

Sept. 22
The Most Discouraged Mycenaeans: Performing Emotion and Death Through Gesture in Late Bronze Age Tanagra, Greece. Dr. Anastasia Dakouri-Hild. McIntyre Department of Art, Assistant Professor, Aegean and Near Eastern Archaeology.

Oct. 13
The Archaeology of Indentured Labor in Nineteenth-Century Mauritius. Julia Haines, Department of Anthropology, University of Virginia.

Oct. 18-21
Special Event
Universities, Slavery, Public Memory, and the Built Landscape. This three-day conference at UVA will highlight current research and memorialization projects that draw on documentary, architectural and archaeological evidence. A preliminary program can be found here.

Oct. 27
Special Event
The Phoenix Factor in Community Archaeology, NW Tanzania: Disease, Revitalization, and Heritage for the Future. Peter R. Schmidt, Department of Anthropology and Center for African Studies, University of Florida. Department of Anthropology Proseminar, 1:00 p.m., with reception following.

Abstract. If there is a common thread that weaves together different yet successful genres of community archaeology, it is an understanding by community members of archaeological principles and the capacity of archaeology to impact identity and historical representations. Communities without prior comprehension of archaeology or heritage research require the development of trust and reciprocal relationships as well as patient mentoring and exposure to the practices of archaeology. Heritage initiatives taken by communities in NW Tanzania built on four decades of familiarity with archaeology: first as hosts, participants, and interlocutors in archaeological and heritage research; then as archaeological supervisors in regional research, and as consumers and proponents of the power of archaeology to valorize local history; and finally as advocates of heritage and archaeological initiatives that built on these prior experiences. This background set the scene for a flowering of interest in reclaiming and revitalizing heritage sites and intangible heritage, leading to locally developed and managed projects designed to create enhanced economic and cultural well-being in a society devastated by HIV/AIDS over the last three decades.
Nov. 17
Negative Archaeology and Political Violence in the Syrian Civil War. Fiona Greenland, Department of Sociology, University of Virginia.

Dec. 1
The Porticus Eumachiae in the Forum of Pompeii. Valerio Dario, McIntire Department of Art, Program in Mediterranean Art and Archaeology.

Spring 2018
Feb. 1
The Vital Dead: Making Meaning, Identity, and Community through Cemeteries. Alison Bell, Department of Anthropology, Washington and Lee University, and Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.

Abstract In the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and well beyond, profound changes are underway in cemeteries: grave markers are still etched with images of bibles and flowers, but motorcycles, monsters, cats, and footballs are also appearing. Inscriptions ("Gone Hunting for the Lord" or "Had a Good Ride") and objects lefts on grave sites — bird feeders, whirligigs, letters to the deceased — echo this florescence. The Vital Dead, a book VFH fellow Alison Bell is writing under contract with the University of Tennessee Press, interprets these movements largely as a struggle against alienation, with people weaving loved ones into social webs that transcend the grave. The dead are vital both because they’re often imagined as cognizant, lithe, and accessible (if invisible), and also because they’re central to the creation of identity and community among the living. Because these sites of memorialization allow the visible championing of particular cultural values, they are also windows into historic as well as contemporary claims and counterclaims to visions of the future. Bell, who teaches anthropology at Washington & Lee University, will provide an overview of the book manuscript generally, and then specifically discuss case studies of African American burying grounds in the Valley.
Past Semesters
For topics and speakers from past semesters, click here.