AIA Lecture October 26th – Scott MacEachern

Please join us for our fall lecture by Dr. Scott MacEachern (Bowdoin College), titled “African crossroads: the rise of states around Lake Chad”. See the end of this post for the lecture abstract. The lecture will take place on October 26th at 6:30 pm in room 108 in Rhode Island Hall on Brown University campus. We hope to see you there!


AIA fall 2017 poster image


Lake Chad sits at a crossroads in Africa, where trans-Saharan trade routes open up to the savannas and forests south of the desert, and astride the immense grasslands that extend west-to- east from the Atlantic to the Nile. It is no surprise that this region has been a zone of encounter between very different groups of people throughout prehistory, and that its political history is enomously complex. Archaeological research in the region through the last 50 years has provided a great deal of evidence for that complexity: large defended communities contemporary with Iron Age oppida in Europe; the early introduction of horses, used in warfare and predatory slave-raiding; and the development of defended mountain zones that are enormously complicated culturally and linguistically. Today, the lands around Lake Chad are best known in the West for the activities of the Boko Haram terrorist organization. In this lecture, I will try to provide an alternative view of an endlessly complex and fascinating part of the world.


International Archaeology Day 2017

International Archaeology Day
Saturday, October 14th, 2017, 11:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Come visit the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World in Rhode Island Hall. Faculty and students will be on hand to tour you through the building, as well as to show you artifacts and images, both from some of our current fieldwork (in the Caribbean, Egypt, Italy, Jordan, Turkey, and Rhode Island) and from the Institute’s collections. Located at Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology, Rhode Island Hall, 60 George Street.

Watch Brown undergraduates digging (yes, really digging!). This year, as part of ongoing work on Brown’s campus and in the surrounding neighborhoods of College Hill, students will be excavating at the nearby Moses Brown school. Stop by (with your family or on your own) any time between 11 am and 2 pm to see what we’re up to or try your hand at digging. All are welcome!
Moses Brown School, 250 Lloyd Avenue (Excavation at the corner of Hope Street and Lloyd Avenue)

AIA Lecture March 2 – Stephen Batiuk

Please join us for our spring lecture, given by Dr. Stephen Batiuk (University of Toronto).  He will present a talk titled “The ‘Kingdom of Idols’: Recent Investigations at Tell Tayinat (Ancient Kunulua, Biblical Calno) in Southeastern Turkey.” See the end of this post for a lecture abstract.


This lecture will take place Thursday, March 2, 2017, at 6:30 pm, in Room 108, Rhode Island Hall, Brown University. We hope to see you there!


The interplay between the Hebrew Bible and the archaeological record has all too often been a contentious affair, greatly dependent on how one understands its compositional history, as well as the cultural and geopolitical context in which it was written. This talk presents the latest results of the University of Toronto’s excavations at Tell Tayinat, ancient Kunulua (Biblical Calno), located in the North Orontes Valley in the southeastern province of Hatay in modern day Turkey. The lecture will focus on the Iron II-III levels (9th to 7thCentury) at the site, which record the changing fortunes of a Neo-Hittite Kingdom perched on the edge of the Assyrian Empire, and will explore how archaeological evidence from the Northern Levantine Royal city can shed light on the local history of a region, while also providing insight into the cultural environment in which the Biblical texts were written.

Community Archaeology Day 2016

It is once again time for our local chapter’s annual celebration of Community Archaeology Day.
We will be celebrating this Saturday, October 22 from 11 am to 3 pm. Please join us in Rhode Island Hall, Brown University, to experience hands-on exhibits with human and animal bones, learn about Egyptian artifacts and underwater archaeology, and discover the fascinating history behind Rhode Island Hall.

You can also take part in a local excavation on Moses Brown campus on the corner of Hope St. and Lloyd Ave. as part of the Joukowsky Institute’s “The Archaeology of College Hill.”

See our Facebook event for more information. We hope to see you Saturday!

AIA Lecture October 13

Please join us for a lecture by Dr. Lilia Campana (Texas A&M University) on Thursday, October 13 at 6:30, when we will hear her talk titled “Megalomania at Sea: The Recovery of Hellenistic Naval Architecture during the Renaissance” (see below for a lecture description).

The lecture will take place in Room 108, Rhode Island Hall, Brown University campus with a small reception to follow. We hope to see you there!


Lecture DescriptionDuring the Renaissance, Italian humanists attempted to recover the maritime golden age of ancient Greece and Rome. In resurrecting ancient warships, humanists looked at the most magnificent period in maritime history, the Hellenistic Age (323-31 B.C.), which produced a burst of unprecedented proportions resulting in warships of increasingly large size that eventually came to replace the trireme. Since no archaeological remains of ancient warships were available and have yet to be found, the study of ancient texts was crucial to the recovery of ancient naval architecture. Based on the study of several Renaissance naval treatises and unpublished archival sources, two shipbuilding projects are known: the quinqueremis built in 1529 by the Venetian humanist Vettor Fausto (1490-1546), and the grandiose and yet completely unknown attempt in 1570 by the erudite Filippo Pigafetta (1533-1604) to recover the design of the tessarakonteres of Ptolemy IV Philopator (r. 221-204 B.C.), the biggest ship ever built in the ancient Mediterranean. Both Fausto and Pigafetta believed that the knowledge of ancient texts was centrally relevant to the design of their ships and to the solution of practical problems of naval architecture in the material world.

AIA Kress Lecture April 21

On April 21st at 6:30 pm, we will hear from Dr. Lorenzo Nigro (Sapienza University of Rome) in a talk titled The Phoenicians at the World’s Ends: The Formation of Mediterranean Civilization as seen from the Island of Motya in Sicily. As usual, the lecture will take place in Room 108 Rhode Island Hall, Brown University, with a Q&A and reception to follow. See the abstract below for more information on Dr. Nigro’s talk. We hope to see you for what will be a very interesting lecture!


“Fourteen seasons of excavations at Motya (2002-2015) revealed traces of the earliest Levantine and Phoenician habitation of the central Mediterranean, bringing to light the formative phase of Phoenician expansion to the West. The discovery of Building C8 and  a series of wells in the earliest settlement, matched with other recent finds in the Iberian Peninsula (Cadiz), North Africa (Utica, Carthage) and Sardinia (Sulky) have significantly transformed the history of the 2nd and1st millennium BC Mediterranean.

Examining the sea routes across the Mediterranean may help disentangle the intricate roots of our civilization—or suggest that a multicultural/ethnical approach is better for studying the historical scenario of the earliest centuries of the 1st millennium BC, when this enclosed sea became a melting pot for peoples and cultures.”

AIA Lecture October 29 – Filomena Limão

Please join us for a talk titled, Tróia (Grândola, Portugal) or the “Portuguese Troy” – A Mystery in the Edge of the Roman World: Space, Architecture, Sculpture, Painting, Mosaics by Filomena Limão of Universidade Nova de Lisboa (Portugal) and in 108 Rhode Island Hall,Brown University campus, on this Thursday, October 29, at 6:30 pm. See below for a description of Dr. Limão’s talk:

The aim of the lecture is to introduce the historical and artistic heritage of the Roman archaeological site of Tróia (in English “Troy”) located in the Southwestern Atlantic coast of Portugal. Tróia is the name of a peninsula on the left bank of the river Sado and despite having been subject of great interest and considerable studies since the sixteenth century CE, much remains to uncover about this place. Surrounded by an attractive natural environment, Tróia, conceivably an island in Antiquity, became an important Roman industrial complex in the first century BCE. Tróia displays noteworthy fish-salting workshops, diversified examples of architecture such as balnea (with remains of mosaics), insulae, diverse funerary monuments and an Early Christian Basilica with beautiful wall paintings. Although not numerous, the sculpture of Tróia (statuary, architectural sculpture and reliefs) is varied showing the relevance of this peripheral place in the intersection of religious (i.e. the Mithras cult and Christianity) and artistic movements of the Roman world. Tróia slowly declined through Late Antiquity (late fifth to early sixth century CE) but its historical and artistic legacy remains as one of the most eye-catching issues for the understanding of Antiquity in Portugal.

We hope to see you in 108 Rhode Island Hall Thursday Oct. 29 at 6:30 pm! As always, we will be live-tweeting this lecture so you can get the highlights from the talk even if you are unable to make it.