Lecture Programme, Fall 2016

All lectures are in the Anthropology Building Rm 130, 19 Russell Street on the St George Campus of the University of Toronto.

Tuesday September 27th, 2016

Prof Ronald J. Leprohon, Professor of Egyptology, University of Toronto

A Wall for All Seasons: The funerary chapel of Pahery at El Kab

The Eighteenth Dynasty tomb chapel of Pahery, the Mayor of El Kab in southern Upper Egypt, contains scenes of the work done during all three seasons of the Egyptian calendar. A description of these and the symbolic direction in which they were meant to be viewed will be followed by an examination of the hieroglyphic captions accompanying the scenes and how these offered a different message to a literate audience.

Tuesday October 25th, 2016

Dr. Stephen Batiuk, GRAPE: the Gadachrili Garo Project Excavations. GEORGIA

Exploring the Roots of the Vine: The History and Archaeology of the earliest Wines

 Wine is one of the most commonly enjoyed and alcoholic beverages in the modern world. But what is the antiquity and history of this otherworldly drink? When and how was it first developed? How did it spread from its point of origin? Dr. Stephen Batiuk will show how new archaeological field work and bio-molecular chemistry and genetics are helping unlock this story, pushing its origins back to the Neolithic period and to the region of Caucasia, modern Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, and how one of our earliest and best documented examples of an ancient migration probably led to the spread of wine and wine culture across the Ancient Near East, and then eventually across the rest of the Mediterranean World.

Tuesday November 22, 2016

Dr. Jacquelyn H. Clements, Department of Art, University of Toronto

A Landscape of Identity: The Iconography of Autochthony in Late 5th Century BC Athens

A concept known as autochthony, the belief in an earthborn ancestry, was developed in the fifth century BC as an imperialistic “claim to fame” that linked the Athenian people to the land of Attica, and became a popular motif in Athenian vase painting. During the Peloponnesian wars in the late fifth century, however, this conviction took on a new twist: autochthony became expressed not only through a standard iconography of images, but their symbolic visual placement in the Athenian landscape also became increasingly potent. This talk considers autochthony within its topographical context, particularly through the visual dimensions of the Erechtheion, the small temple on the Acropolis that was the last to be built during the Classical period. I contend that as their land was threatened by Spartan invasion, the Athenians found solace and strength in the visual enunciation of their ideas of autochthony as a means of understanding their own identity. The iconography of autochthony celebrates the mythological ancestry of the Athenians in a time where the stability of their genealogical roots was of prime significance.  In addition, the Athenians were keen to express their autochthonous roots in imagery on a monumental scale that was closely integrated with the landscape from which they believed they had been born. Drawing on the understanding of autochthony across other cultures and in modern times, we can begin to comprehend a “topography of autochthony” that was consciously and conscientiously designed by the Athenians in the late fifth century BC.








Mosque at Medina Azahara near Cordoba Spain

Geometric Mosaic from a Roman villa at Conimbriga, Portugal



On the weekend of January 15-17, 2017, Gayle will be leading a small group to New York for conducted tours of the Egyptian collections of the Metropolitan Museum and the Brooklyn Museum which, between them, house some of the finest antiquities from that ancient land. Right now, until January 24, the Met is featuring a wonderful Middle Kingdom exhibition that is not to be missed. Accomodation will be in a four-star beaux arts hotel within walking distance of the Met. The cost will be $475US exclusive of air fare. For more information, visit Ancient Egypt Alive.


There have been no new articles in well over a year (retired life is very agreeable) but there are a number of irons in the fire. There will be a heavy emphasis on Scottish archaeology which is presently in a very dynamic phase due to the spectacular discoveries being unearthed on the Ness of Brodgar in Orkney. Much of what we know of the European Neolithic, let alone the British or Scottish, and is going to require a severe rethink of the whole subject. Stay tuned.

Ness of Brodgar, 2015

Latest Updates

6 May, 2014 Caesar and the Britons
15 October, 2013 Exploring Ancient Britain
30 August, 2012 The Siege of Lachish (Revised)
8 June, 2012 Skara Brae, A Neolithic Village in Orkney (Revised)
20 April, 2012 Knossos & the Palaces of Crete (Revised)
19 November, 2011 Norman Sicily
15 January, 2011 Delphi & the Oracle of Apollo