ISAW's upcoming exhibition Ritual and Memory opens September 21st

By Lily Wichert

We are pleased to announce our upcoming exhibition Ritual and Memory: The Ancient Balkans and Beyond, opening on September 21st. Featuring loans from eleven different countries, Ritual and Memory presents an exciting opportunity for audiences to experience archaeological artifacts from the region that stretches from the Balkan Mountains through the Carpathian Basin. Although many American museums have entire galleries filled with works from the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and the ancient Near and Far East, as well as from other cultures, artifacts from ancient southeastern Europe are unfamiliar and rarely exhibited. Yet these stunning works—some from Europe’s earliest settled farming communities—are a revelation: mother goddess–style figurines, weapons, miniature architectural models, elegant pottery, adornments in gold and amber, and more, all reveal great artistic and technological accomplishment and suggest the ritual practices of enigmatic cultures.

Presenting more than two hundred artifacts from the Neolithic Era through the Iron Age, the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World invites visitors to consider beliefs, ritual practices, and community organization in these long-silent civilizations, and to explore a much broader view of the interconnectedness of ancient cultures than can be understood through conventional narratives of antiquity.

Image of artifacts from the exhibition

Ritual and Memory: The Ancient Balkans and Beyond is organized in partnership with the Field Museum’s First Kings of Europe project and has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom.

This exhibition at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World is made possible by generous support from Nellie and Robert Gipson and the Leon Levy Foundation. Additional funding provided by The Gilbert and Ildiko Butler Foundation and James H. Ottaway Jr.

Image: Female figurines and model chairs, 4900–4750 BCE, ceramic, Poduri-Dealul Ghindaru, Romania, figurines (21): height: 3.4–8.7 cm, width: 1.5–4.7 cm; chairs (13): height: 1.5–3.3 cm, width: 1.8–4.5 cm; clay ball: diameter: 0.9 cm. Neamţ County Museum Complex, Piatra Neamţ, Romania: 10095–10113, 10115–10128, 10691; 10703. Photo © Field Museum, photographer Ádám Vágó