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.
Spring 2020
Feb. 7
Uncovering the Foundations of a Greek Colony: Ancient Selinus. Andrew Farinholt Ward, Classical Studies, College of William and Mary.

Abstract: Founded on the southwestern coast of Sicily by settlers from mainland Greece in the seventh century BCE, the ancient "colony" of Selinus (modern Selinunte) quickly became a wealthy and populous city-state, famed even in antiquity for its many monumental temples and its conflicts with Athens and Carthage. The early history of the settlement has remained controversial for much of the twentieth century, with the scant early remains used to support a variety of often opposing interpretations. This talk will highlight recent discoveries in the Selinus’ main urban sanctuary, sponsored by the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, and the Università degli Studi di Milano, that have unearthed a wealth of new evidence for understanding the early history of this Greek settlement, and the importance of religion in ancient Mediterranean migration.
April 17
Understanding Variation in Internal Markets among Slave Societies in the British Caribbean. Fraser D. Neiman, Department of Archaeology, Monticello. Note: Thanks to the pandemic, this talk is being being given via Zoom. Please contact Adria LaViolette for information on how to connect.

Abstract: This paper offers a simple model of the causes and consequences of variation in the subsistence strategies that evolved in British Caribbean slave societies and their implications for the shifting organization of internal markets and island economies. To evaluate the model, I analyze two independent sources of archaeological evidence: 1) data from the DAACS database on typological variation assemblages from St. Kitts, Nevis, Jamaica, and Dominica and 2) the chemical characterization of coarse earthenware pastes sampled from ceramic assmblages from St. Kitts, Nevis, and Jamaica.
Roman Water and Sensory Experience: Revisiting the Processions of the Eleusinian Mysteries. Dylan Rogers, McIntire Department of Art, University of Virginia. Location: Brooks Hall Commons.

Abstract: Founded on approaches related to sensory archaeologies (particularly regarding the multisensory element of water), this paper explores the processions of the Eleusian Mysteries from Athens to Eleusis in the second century CE. While the Mysteries had been active since the Bronze Age, in the Roman period, with the addition of at least two fountains in the Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore's Forecourt, the sensorial experience of an ancient pilgrim was drastically altered with the addition of flowing water at the end of the famous processions. Paying attention to ancient literary sources on water and fountians (especially in regard to the senses), the processions themselves, and the fountains themselves at Eleusis, this paper will argue for a more nuanced interpretation of the role of fountains at the ancient sanctuary--one that successfully straddled both Greek and Roman identities--while advocating for an increased use of sensory archaeology in Classical Archaeology.
Iron production and Regional Variation in Machili: Recent Archaeological and Geophysical Survey in Western Zambia. Zachary McKeeby, Department of Anthropology, University of Virginia.

Abstract: The Machili Valley in Western Zambia after 700CE is exemplary of the type of "in-between" places that made up large portions of the African continent where states did not develop, but which were anything but isolated and undifferentiated. Limited archaeological surveys in the late 1960s tentatively fit the Machili Valley into a larger context of Iron Age life in Zambia, and into south-central Africa more broadly. This paper details early results from recent survey work in Machili. A combination of geophysical and shovel-test survey methods were used to re-survey previously documented sites, identify new sites, and to study localized variations in iron production practices in the Machili Valley in the absence of, and on the periphery of, state-level control. Results suggest geographic and temporal changes in settlement patterns and iron production practices, and in the spatial relationships between domestic areas and iron smelting and smithing locations.
Past Semesters
For topics and speakers from past semesters, click here.