2018-2019 Public Lecture Program

for the


the local chapter of the


  All lectures are illustrated, non-technical, free and open to the public.

All lectures are co-sponsored by the TOLEDO MUSEUM OF ART as part of the “It’s Friday” series

[last updated 12 August 2018]


Unless otherwise indicated, lectures will be given in the Little Theater at the Toledo Museum of Art [2445 Monroe St. in Toledo] . Directions: from I-75, take exit 202B at Collingwood Blvd (if southbound) or exit 203A at Bancroft St (if northbound). Follow the signs to Monroe St. and the Toledo Museum of Art. Park behind the Museum in the Visitors' Lot. Parking is free to museum members but costs $7 for everyone else.   


1.     7:00 pm, October 12 (Friday), 2018

Speaker: Michael Strezewski, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Southern Indiana (Evansville, IN) 


Lecture: Archaeology in Utopia – Research at New Harmony, Indiana


Synopsis: The town of New Harmony was founded in 1814 by the Harmonists, German religious separatists under the leadership of George Rapp. While the Harmonists left voluminous records on such matters as business transactions, there is little information on day-to-day life for Rapp’s 750 followers. Archaeology provides us with a unique opportunity to flesh out our knowledge of the Harmonists and, in a sense, get to know them better as individuals.



2.    7:00 pm, November 2 (Friday), 2018

Speaker: John Hale, Ph.D., Director of the Liberal Studies Program and the “Individualized Major” in the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Louisville (Louisville, KY)


     * * * National AIA Lecturer * * *


Lecture: From Mastodon Hunters to Mound-builders: The Peopling of North America


Synopsis: Beginning with the pioneering excavation of a prehistoric mound by Thomas Jefferson, researchers have brought to light thousands of ancient sites and artifacts that shed light on the lives – and deaths – of the first Americans.  Nomadic hunting groups first reached North America during the Ice Age, more than 10,000 years ago.  They brought their dogs with them, and left behind the weapons they used to kill mastodons and other Pleistocene “megafauna”.   In later millennia, these tribes began to exploit local flint deposits, explore caves and waterways, and establish settlements from the Arctic Circle all the way south to the mineral springs of Florida.  Once women had succeeded in domesticating corn, beans and squash, extensive villages were built to accommodate the booming populations.  At sites like Serpent Mound in Ohio and Cahokia in Illinois, extraordinary effigy mounds and other earthworks bear witness to the beliefs and the artistic genius of these first Americans.



3.     7:00 pm, December 7(Friday), 2018

Speaker: Alysia Fischer, Ph.D., Independent Researcher and glass artist from Louisville, KY


          * * * 6th Annual Dorothy M. Price Memorial Lecture * * *

Lecture: Glass-working in the Eastern Mediterranean: Insights from Archaeology and Ethnoarchaeology


Synopsis: The speaker will discuss the history of Eastern Mediterranean glass as seen through the lenses of the archaeology of the site of Sepphoris, located in the Galilee region of northern Israel and ethnoarchaeology conducted in the region.  The recently published corpus of glass from the site of Sepphoris includes glass from the Hellenistic through Islamic eras, including a Late Roman/Early Byzantine glass industry.  Dr. Fischer, a former glass-blower, has also worked with glass-workers from Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Turkey to better understand the Eastern Mediterranean glass tradition.



4.     7:00 pm, January 18 (Friday), 2019

Speaker: Kathleen Lynch, Ph.D., Professor of Classical Archaeology at the University of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH)


Lecture: The Ancient Athenian Symposium: Wine Drinking and the Birth of Democracy


Synopsis: We usually associate the Greek Symposium, an all-male wine drinking party, with elite men, but something surprising happens around 500 BC in Athens. A sudden increase in the number of painted pottery in Athenian houses makes it clear that many more men were participating in symposia. This lavishly illustrated talk will make a case that the new Athenian democracy, with its newly enfranchised voters, used the small group environment of the symposium to form bonds that support the success of the radical new governance structure. Wine and politics do mix!



5.     7:00 pm, February 15 (Friday), 2019

Speaker: Lisa J. Lucero, Ph.D., Professor of Anthropology and Medieval Studies in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Urbana, IL)  


Lecture: Ancient Maya Cosmology of Conservation: The Sacred Pools of Cara Blanca, Belize


Synopsis: In this paper the speaker will present a cosmology quite different from our Western one, especially because the Maya worldview privileges the entirety of the world in which they lived. She will show how such a view promoted biodiversity and conservation based on how the Classic Maya (c. 250-850 CE) interacted with their environment.  This cosmology is illustrated through a discussion of how the Maya engaged with the 25 pools of Cara Blanca, Belize. The Maya considered openings in the earth, such as caves and bodies of water, as portals to the Otherworld, through which they could communicate with gods and ancestors, a practice manifested in offerings. As such, some areas were left untouched by settlement and farming, which in turn promoted biodiversity and conservation.  



6.     7:00 pm, March 8, 2019   


Speaker: Steven E. Sidebotham, Ph. D., Professor of Ancient History and Archaeology at the University of Delaware (Newark, DE)


Lecture: “From India to Alexandria: A Merchant's Odyssey in Roman Times”


Synopsis: The lecture will trace the journey of an imaginary Roman-Egyptian merchant named Alexandros Petosiris as he returns home from the south Indian entrepôt of Arikamedu. His ship makes intermediate stops along the way for commercial purposes, and to take on potable water and food for the crew and passengers. About a month and a half after leaving India the ship arrives at Berenike on Egypt’s Red Sea coast. Following some much-needed rest and finalization of paperwork at Berenike, our merchant then crosses the desert by caravan to the Nile where he and his wares board another ship bound for Alexandria. At that Mediterranean emporium Alexandros’ odyssey ends with the transfer of his cargo to a business associate. In recounting this richly illustrated narrative, the speaker draws on his archaeological excavations and surveys of ancient sites in Egypt, India and the southern Arabian Peninsula.



 7.     7:00 pm, April 5 (Friday), 2019 [previously announced as April 19]


Speaker: Kroum Batchvarov, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Maritime Archaeology at the University of Connecticut at Avery Point (Groton, CT)


    * * * National AIA Lecturer * * *


Lecture: The Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project


Synopsis: Since 2015 The Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project (MAP), one of the largest maritime archaeological projects ever staged, has been investigating the changes in the ancient environment of the Black Sea region including the impact of sea level change during the last glacial cycle and interconnectivity through the millennia. In the course of the Black Sea MAP’s surveys, more than sixty wrecks have been discovered and recorded with the latest robotic laser scanning, acoustic and photogrammetric techniques. The earliest wreck found so far is from the Classical period from around the 5th – 4th century BC. However, ships have also been found from the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods spanning two and a half millennia. They represent an unbroken pattern of trade and exchange, warfare and communication that reaches back into deep antiquity, and because of the anoxic conditions of the Black Sea, some of the wrecks survive in incredible condition. Ships lie hundreds or thousands of metres deep with their masts still standing, rudders in place, cargoes of amphorae and ship’s fittings lying on deck, with carvings and tool marks as distinct as the day they were made by the shipwrights. Many of the ships show structural features, fittings and equipment that are only known from iconography or written description but never seen until now.  This assemblage must comprise one of the finest underwater museums of ships and seafaring in the world.

8.     7:00 pm, May 10 (Friday), 2019

Speaker: Elaine Gazda, Ph.D., Professor of Classical Art and Archaeology at the University of Michigan and Curator of Hellenistic and Roman Antiquities at the Kelsey Museum (Ann Arbor, MI)


* * * 22nd Annual Kurt T. Luckner Memorial Lecture * * *


Lecture: “The Art of Wealth and Luxury: the Ancient Roman Villa of Poppaea at Oplontis, Italy”


Synopsis: In AD 79, a sprawling seaside villa was buried, along with Pompeii and Herculaneum, in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Some scholars think that this villa belonged to the family of Poppaea, the Emperor Nero’s second wife. It is one of the largest and most lavishly decorated Roman villas to have survived. Excavations initiated in the 1960’s by Italian archaeologists revealed nearly 100 rooms and many magnificent works of art. It is thought that at least a third of the villa still lies buried beneath the city of Torre Annunziata. Since 2006, the murals, marble sculptures, inlaid marble floors, architecture, and formal gardens have been restudied and are now being published by The Oplontis Project (a collaboration between the Superintendency of Pompeii and the University of Texas, Austin, co-directed by John R. Clarke and Michael L. Thomas). This talk will focus on the outstanding artworks of Villa A in relation to their architectural settings and will show how they framed the social life of Rome’s wealthiest citizens during the late Republic and early Empire.





 For more information on the Toledo Society's lecture program contact:


James A. Harrell, Lecture Program Coordinator for the AIA-Toledo Society 
(phone: 419-530-2193; e-mail: james.harrell@utoledo.edu)