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Lecture series to focus on ancient Greece, Egypt and Africa

painting of an ancient society
February 11, 2014

ASU's School of International Letters and Cultures in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is teaming up with the Archeological Institute of America, Central Arizona Society and ASU’s Project Humanities to present a lecture series this semester exploring aspects of ancient societies in Greece, Egypt and Africa.

All events are free and open to the public.

Events in the series include:

Irene Lemos, "Towards a Geometric Perfection: The Arts and Crafts of Early Greece"
6-7:30 pm, Feb. 13, BAC 116, Tempe campus
This AIA Kress Lecture by Lemos will look at the work of the craftsmen and artists of the period from 1200 to 700 BCE. Though Mycenaean architecture and art have been greatly admired, and the Archaic and Classical Greek monuments, ceramics and sculpture are well known and discussed, the achievements of the early Greek artists and craftsmen are less acknowledged and, often, even ignored.

John Bauschatz, "Cops and Robbers, Egyptian Style: Police Work in Ptolemaic Egypt"
6-7:30 p.m., March 20, BAC 116, Tempe campus

Throughout the nearly 300 years of Ptolemaic rule in Egypt (330–30 B.C.), victims of crime in all areas of the Egyptian countryside called upon local police officials to investigate crimes, hold trials and arrest, question and sometimes even imprison wrongdoers. In this lecture John Bauschatz will examine the evidence for four of the main areas of police activity – arrest, investigation, detention and resolution – via case studies. As will become clear over the course of the lecture, the police system in place to tend to the needs of Egyptian villagers was efficient, effective and largely independent of central government controls.

Scott MacEachern, "Genetics and African Prehistory: Possibilities and Challenges"
6-7:30 pm, April 10, BAC 116, Tempe campus
There has been less archaeology done in Africa than on any other continent, and the prehistory of much of this vast continent remains more or less unknown. Historical genetics provides us with a new and extremely powerful way of looking at population movements and contacts in the past, and the comparison of archaeological and genetic data offers the prospects of immense improvement in our understanding of African prehistory. At the same time, there are dangers involved in such interdisciplinary undertakings: archaeological and genetic data offer insights into different aspects of human history, and each approach has its own strengths and weaknesses. In particular, genetics can reinforce assumptions that African populations are "people without history," remnants of humanity’s past. This lecture will offer a discussion of these issues, with examples drawn from the Lake Chad Basin and other parts of the continent.

The School of International Letters and Cultures offers majors in classics and classical civilization, a certificate in classical studies, as well as a study abroad trip to Naples, Italy, where students have the opportunity to explore Pompeii and some of the best-preserved Greek architecture in the world. On this study abroad trip, students “often have their perspectives broadened in unexpected ways,” says classics professor Mike Tuller, “and are able to see the world from a new angle. In conjunction with class work, a trip abroad to walk where the ancients walked and see through their eyes enables their world to come even more vividly alive.”

The mission of the Archaeological Institute of America is to promote “archaeological inquiry and public understanding of the material record of the human past to foster an appreciation of diverse cultures and our shared humanity. The AIA educates people of all ages about the significance of archaeological discovery and advocates the preservation of the world’s archaeological heritage.” Advancing this premise, the Central Arizona Society is dedicated to encouraging active involvement and interest in the archaeological community both locally and globally.