Recent Events

02/19/2019 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall

Mastering Speed

The Bronze Age of Mongolia

Ursula Brosseder

The use of horses has had a tremendous impact on the history of societies, in the Old as well as in the New World. While existing narratives focus on the impact of the horse in warfare, our work counters current narratives of the development of horse riding and the social changes associated with it. The data we recovered from our in-depth study of a ritual landscape in central Mongolia allows for a new reconstruction of the cultural changes during the Bronze and Early Iron Age (ca. 1900 to 400 BCE). In this talk, I discuss the social dynamics we observe in connection with horse riding which eventually led to the establishment of the famous armies of mounted warriors that were troubling neighboring powers and Chinese Dynasties.
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02/12/2019 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall

The Archaeology of Colors

Polychromy and Classical Chinese Bronze Art

Allison Miller

Researchers of Hellenistic art have long recognized that many statues that now appear as works of pure white marble were originally polychrome. In early Chinese art, in contrast, the hallowed works of China's classical antiquity—the bronzes—are generally believed to have been unpainted. After all, why would artisans paint over an expensive bronze surface? In recent years, however, many varieties of bronzes have been uncovered with colorful ornamentation including sacrificial vessels, figural sculptures, mirrors, lamps, weapons, and personal ornaments. Using this data, this talk will survey China's polychrome bronze tradition from the Shang to the Han (1600 BCE-220 CE), considering the diverse functions assumed by painted ornamentation and identifying two major transitions in polychrome bronze art in the 5th c. BCE and the mid-2nd century BCE. Special attention will be paid to technical aspects of painting craft in early China, particularly the development of new binding agents in the Western Han.
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02/05/2019 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall

Assyria Identities

The Role of Elite Individuals in the Art of Assyria

David Kertai

Kings play an outsized role in the historical recollection of the Assyrian Empire. The Assyrian rulers themselves deliberately fostered this notion of royal predominance and omnipresence through royal images situated throughout the empire. The Mesopotamian conceptualization of images, however, diverged from our own in several respects: it neither demanded mimesis nor privileged naturalism. Assyrian royal images were not designed to showcase individual physiognomic features, but to communicate the status of the king as divinely perfected (and nearly indistinguishable) examples of Assyrian kingship. Empires, however, are not ruled by their kings alone but are better understood as collaborative enterprises. This raises the question of how other Assyrian elites, such as eunuchs and queens, were able to represent themselves. This lecture will explore the ways in which these groups and individuals were able to negotiate, establish, and communicate their own roles and status within the Assyrian imperial enterprise.
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01/31/2019 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall

The Practical Archaeologist's Approach to 3D Modeling and Related Technologies

Sebastian Heath

This talk will introduce methods and tools that can be adopted by archaeologists, art historians, and other cultural heritage practitioners with relative ease. Among the techniques to be discussed is making 3D models from photographs and restoring the three-dimensional aspect of architectural plans. Both these processes can be achieved with free or relatively inexpensive software. What to do with 3D content will also be a theme. Animations that include simulation of real-world phenomena such as wind and realistic environments are both techniques that almost any notebook computer can handle. On-screen and immersive 3D environments that include interactive elements are likewise straightforward to make and share with the public. This talk is predicated on the idea that archaeologists and others should actively engage with these technologies and come to understand how they will affect our work. A focus will be on tools that can be learned relatively easily by anyone interested in exploring this rapidly developing field.
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01/28/2019 05:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall

Opening of the Digital Exhibition: “The Sogdians: Influencers on the Silk Roads”

Organized by Judith A. Lerner (ISAW) and Thomas Wide (Freer|Sackler)

This “born-digital” event celebrates the going “live” of the first exhibition, digital or otherwise, devoted to the Sogdians, a Central Asian Iranian people who served as “middlemen” in the circulation of people and commodities as well as religious and artistic ideas, along the Silk Roads, during the 5th to 8th centuries CE. The exhibition combines the latest academic research with a variety of digital media– from interactive maps to 3D photogrammetry, drone footage of archaeological sites to video interviews with leading scholars. It is a case study of how the digital humanities can bring scholarship on the ancient world to new audiences.
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01/05/2019 09:00 AM ISAW Galleries
Photograph of Joan Chiverton

Exhibition Gallery Event: Sketch Morning

Joan Chiverton

Please join illustrator and teaching artist Joan Chiverton for a morning of sketching in the galleries in conjunction with the exhibition Devotion and Decadence. Develop your drawing skills and discover a new way of seeing as you sketch Roman silver masterpieces and other ancient luxury objects. Following a brief introduction and tutorial, Ms. Chiverton will circulate the galleries and provide individual coaching, if desired. All skill levels are welcome, from beginner to advanced. Participants should bring their own drawing pad or paper with a board. Gallery specific pencils will be provided by ISAW. For conservation reasons pens, pastels, charcoal, and paints need to be kept at home.
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01/02/2019 12:00 PM ISAW Galleries

Exhibition Gallery Talk: Object Histories

Clare Fitzgerald and Rachel Herschman

Join us in the galleries for a 20 minute in-depth discussion of a single object from Devotion and Decadence: The Berthouville Treasure and Roman Luxury. Every Wednesday from October 17 - December 19 we will focus on one object and explore its specific history, iconography, and manufacture in this brief lunchtime talk. Each discussion will feature a different object and visitors are welcome to return for a fresh conversation each week. Clare Fitzgerald is Associate Director for Exhibitions and Gallery Curator, and Rachel Herschman is Curatorial Assistant, both at ISAW.
12/19/2018 12:00 PM ISAW Galleries

Exhibition Gallery Talk: Object Histories

Clare Fitzgerald and Rachel Herschman

Join us in the galleries for a 20 minute in-depth discussion of a single object from Devotion and Decadence: The Berthouville Treasure and Roman Luxury. Every Wednesday from October 17 - December 19 we will focus on one object and explore its specific history, iconography, and manufacture in this brief lunchtime talk. Each discussion will feature a different object and visitors are welcome to return for a fresh conversation each week. Clare Fitzgerald is Associate Director for Exhibitions and Gallery Curator, and Rachel Herschman is Curatorial Assistant, both at ISAW.
12/15/2018 04:00 PM ISAW Galleries
Photograph of Wendy Yothers

Exhibition Gallery Talk: Ancient Silversmithing and Modern Practice

Wendy Yothers

The Berthouville Treasure showcases the sophisticated silversmithing technologies employed by ancient artisans to create sumptuous silver sculpture and vessels. Found by chance in the 19th century, this collection has recently undergone extensive conservation and study using modern imaging technologies that revealed new information about the practice of individual artists and that of workshops in Gaul and Rome. Although silvermithing has evolved from how it was practiced in antiquity, much remains startlingly the same. Please join silversmith Wendy Yothers for a gallery conversation about the materials and processes used in ancient silversmithing and how Roman techniques compare with present-day metalworking practices.
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12/14/2018 09:00 AM ISAW Lecture Hall
Composite photo showing cyclists at tree-lined New York City intersection and the archaeological remains of an ancient building in Tunisia.

The Archaeology of Neighborhood Life: Concepts, Communities, and Change

Conference organized by J. Andrew Dufton (ISAW) and Katherine Harrington (Florida State University)

The neighborhood offers rich ground to explore the social life of the ancient city—an intermediate unit of study, smaller than issues of top-down urban planning or state action but larger than the intimate details of the household. Yet despite this potential, the archaeology and history of neighborhoods remains underappreciated. This conference takes full advantage of a growing number of scholars interested in the communal and cultural aspects of city districts. Thematic topics include the conceptual and methodological implications of the neighborhood, its role in community formation, and its relevance in understanding long-term urban developments. Conference speakers, drawn from diverse departments with research in disparate regions and periods, all share a commitment to understanding and comparing neighborhoods. Their work relies not solely on quantification but on social foundations, not only on big data but also on close, comprehensive readings of the dynamic sphere of daily interaction among city residents. The interdisciplinary exchange and dialogue created by this event will set an exciting new research agenda for future studies on the archaeology of neighborhood life.
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12/13/2018 06:00 PM ISAW Galleries
Photograph of Wendy Yothers

Exhibition Gallery Talk: Ancient Silversmithing and Modern Practice

Wendy Yothers

The Berthouville Treasure showcases the sophisticated silversmithing technologies employed by ancient artisans to create sumptuous silver sculpture and vessels. Found by chance in the 19th century, this collection has recently undergone extensive conservation and study using modern imaging technologies that revealed new information about the practice of individual artists and that of workshops in Gaul and Rome. Although silversmithing has evolved from how it was practiced in antiquity, much remains startlingly the same. Please join silversmith Wendy Yothers for a gallery conversation about the materials and processes used in ancient silversmithing and how Roman techniques compare with present-day metalworking practices.
RSVP
12/12/2018 12:00 PM ISAW Galleries

Exhibition Gallery Talk: Object Histories

Clare Fitzgerald and Rachel Herschman

Join us in the galleries for a 20 minute in-depth discussion of a single object from Devotion and Decadence: The Berthouville Treasure and Roman Luxury. Every Wednesday from October 17 - December 19 we will focus on one object and explore its specific history, iconography, and manufacture in this brief lunchtime talk. Each discussion will feature a different object and visitors are welcome to return for a fresh conversation each week. Clare Fitzgerald is Associate Director for Exhibitions and Gallery Curator, and Rachel Herschman is Curatorial Assistant, both at ISAW.
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