2017-2018 Lecture Series

The Archaeological Society of Staten Island &

The Archaeological Institute of America

Staten Island Society

2017- 2018 Sunday Lecture Series


Sunday, Sept 17, 2017 at 3pm (Spiro 4)                                                 The Helen H. Loeffler Memorial Lecture

Dr. Marta Ameri

Assistant Professor of Art History, Colby College

“Ships from Dilmun, Magan and Meluhha:” Ancient South Asia and its Contacts with the West in the 3rd millennium BCE

The Harappan, or Indus Valley, Civilization, which flourished in India and Pakistan in the 3rd and early 2nd millennia BCE, is known to us today for its unique craft production and its neatly planned cities of baked brick. To the people of Ancient Mesopotamia, it was known as the land of Meluhha, the furthest destination on a well-traveled maritime route through the Gulf and a source of rare stones, exotic animals, and fine woods. Harappan seals and beads found at Mesopotamian sites point to the reality of these contacts, but also raise questions about their frequency and volume. This talk will present a basic overview of the archaeology and material culture of the Indus Valley civilization and then examine the textual and material evidence for contacts between Mesopotamia, the Gulf and the Indus Valley.


Sunday Oct 15, 2017 at 3pm (Spiro 4)                        Archaeological Institute of America – English Lecturer

Dr. Scott MacEachern

Professor of Anthropology, Bowdoin College

Landscapes of Boko Haram: History, Violence and Wealth in Central Africa

The terrorist organization Boko Haram has inflicted huge amounts of suffering on Central African communities through the last decade. In the course of its activities, it has used frontier zones between Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger as refuges and areas for the development of political and military power. We can understand some aspects of Boko Haram’s activities by looking at how borders developed in this area, during the period of predatory state formation in the early second millennium AD. These activities include the slave raiding that played so central a role in the formation of regional cultural landscapes, but also banditry and smuggling. In the Lake Chad Basin, frontier landscapes exist as spaces of danger and violence, but also as arenas for wealth creation and cultural innovation. The violence being played out in this area today illustrates the kinds of social disruptions that would have accompanied those processes at different times during the last thousand years.


Sunday Nov 12, 2017 at 3pm (Spiro 4)

Dr. Alicia Boswell

Postdoctoral Fellow, Bard College

Ritual Regalia of the Ancient Moche

In the last thirty years archaeological investigations on the north coast of Peru have produced a wealth of new information leading to nuances in our understanding of Moche sociopolitical organization (AD 200-800). These discoveries have included excavations of intact tombs of Moche male and female elites, interred with their ritual regalia and other grave goods. Metal ornaments made up an important part of this regalia, yet our understanding of Moche metallurgy technology and production remains under explored. This presentation presents current research on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection on Moche metal regalia, its production, presentation, and significance in the Moche world.


Sunday, December 3, 2017                                                              The Lynda Nilsen Memorial Lecture

Dr. Larissa Bonafante

Professor of Classics Emerita, New York University

Nursing Mothers in Ancient Italy

The image of the woman and child is so familiar to us in Western art from representations of the Virgin Mary with the Christ child that we tend to take for granted its interpretation as a universal symbol of maternity, and of the close physical and emotional bond between mother and child. But the motif was not universal. In antiquity images of nursing mothers were absent in classical art in Athens and elsewhere in mainland Greece, while they were abundant in Italy, in the Etruscan cities, as well as the Greek cities of Magna Graecia and Sicily. The lecture will consider possible reasons for this situation.


Sunday, January 28, 2018 at 3pm                                             The Dr.Ester Grushkin Memorial Lecture

Dr. Megan Cifarelli

Professor of Art History, Manhattanville College

Sex, Gender, and Identity in Antiquity

For centuries, the study of ancient civilizations was dominated by an approach that focused on the accomplishments and lives of men, and a few extraordinary women who succeeded in masculine spheres of activity. More contemporary approaches that integrate feminist theoretical perspectives have illuminated the significant roles of women in antiquity, and the social practices by which masculine and feminine roles were defined and performed. Rather than focusing on “Great Women” from the past, this talk will explore the limits of what we can know about the lives of ancient men and women from the perspective of material culture, by investigating the ways archaeologists try to understand the relationships between sexed bodies, gendered individuals, and grave goods in burial contexts.


Sunday, February 25, 2018 at 3pm

Patricia M. Salmon

Curator of History (retired), Staten Island Museum

Archeological Discoveries in Brewing: From the Ancients to Staten Island’s Nineteenth Century Brewery Barons

Ancient breweries have been discovered in Israel, Turkey, Cyprus, China, and elsewhere. Let’s look at the brewing past, both in ancient times and in our own borough, as we examine Staten Island’s nineteenth century German lager beer breweries and the bottle digs that have occurred locally.


Sunday, March 18, 2018 at 3pm                                     The Dr. George G. Hackman Memorial Lecture

Dr. Anna Semon

Director, North American Archaeology Lab, American Museum of Natural History

Mississippian pottery production and use on the Georgia coast

The Mississippian period (A.D. 200–1580) on the Georgia coast consisted of chiefdoms structured by a diverse landscape of villages, council houses, mortuary sites, earthen mounds, and camp/processing areas. Recent archaeological investigations of village and mortuary sites on St. Catherines Island, GA have provided new insight into Mississippian life on the coast, including village organization, subsistence practices, burial practices, wood-carving traditions, and pottery manufacturing. In this lecture, I will focus on complicated-stamped pottery recovered from St. Catherines Island and discuss how this pottery can be used to reconstruct life along the Georgia coast on the cusp of European contact, especially the social interactions surrounding how the pottery was made and used.


Sunday, April 8, 2018, at 3pm                                                          Archaeological Institute of America

Dr. Michelle Damian

Assistant Professor of History at Monmouth College

Maritime Trade Networks of Medieval Japan

This study demonstrates that despite the political upheaval of Japan’s late medieval period (15th–16thc), trade connections within the Inland Sea region actually flourished, resulting in the beginnings of a regional commodities market. Until now, it has been difficult to track maritime practices in this era due to the lack of written records of medieval seafaring. Using geospatial analysis of extant documentary and archaeological evidence, however, it becomes possible to discern the flow of certain commercial goods within the Seto Inland Sea region. Through this analysis it becomes apparent that smaller ports largely unrecorded in written documents were often critical transshipment hubs, facilitating trade in the region. Furthermore, geospatial analysis allows tracking of ship captains’ voyages, providing insight into medieval seafaring practices and proving the existence of complex individual and institutional maritime networks.


Unless otherwise noted Lectures are on Sundays at 3pm in Spiro Hall 2 (unless otherwise noted), Wagner College, 631 Howard Avenue (1 Campus Road), Grymes Hill, Staten Island, NY 10301

AIA lectures (Oct 15 & April 8) are FREE and open to all

ASSI lectures are free for ASSI and AIA members, students 22 years or younger

And Wagner Faculty and Staff – Please show ID

Others may attend ASSI lectures for a $10.00 donation or may join the ASSI at the door.


Meet the speaker over coffee and cake following each lecture

For more information write: The Archaeology Society of Staten Island P.O. Box 140504

Staten Island, NY 10314-0504

Email: info@siarchaeology.org

or visit our website www.siarchaeology.org

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