Lecture Programme, Spring 2017

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

Tuesday February 28th, 2017

William A. Fox, Anthropology Graduate Program Trent University

Trade, Travel and Ceremony in the Great Lakes

The archaeological record of the Great Lakes Region, spanning some 12,000 years, includes tantalizing pieces of evidence concerning long distance contact between Indigenous peoples. A variety of social mechanisms have been proposed to explain the evidence, ranging from individual agency to corporate international relations and from down the line exchange to long distance travel. Evidence specific to particular time periods will be presented and the various explanatory paradigms discussed.

Tuesday March 28th, 2017

Dr. Morag M Kersel, Anthropology, Univ of Chicago. The 2016-2017 Wilkie Lecturer

Who Owns the Past? Competing Claims for Antiquities from the Holy Land

As artifacts travel from the ground to the consumer in the marketplace, recent research has shown that there are multiple stakeholders with competing claims in the legal trade in antiquities. In Israel it is legal to buy and sell artifacts from legally sanctioned dealers, if the collections pre- date the 1978 national ownership law. Not all aspects of this trade are legal, however, and not all participants have an equal voice. The market in Israel is comprised of archaeologists, collectors, customs officials, dealers, government employees, looters, middlemen, museum professionals, and tourists, all expressing a degree of entitlement in the acquisition and disposition of artifacts. Adding to the complexity of the situation is the porous nature of the borders between Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority as artifacts in the market come from those areas and go out to Europe, the Far East, and the United States. The journey of a Roman coin from the Palestinian countryside to the Upper West side of New York City allows the examination of the various positions in the debate over who owns the past

Tuesday April 25th, 2017

Dr. Alexandra Ann Carpino, Dept of Comparative Cultural Studies, Northern Arizona University

A Glance in the Mirror: Reflections on Motherhood in Aristocratic Etruria

Bronze mirrors form one of the largest corpora of extant Etruscan luxury art. The earliest examples date to the mid-late sixth century BCE and production continued through the Hellenistic period. These hand-held artifacts had multiple functions in the integrated environment of the Etruscan home: not only did they reflect the status and prosperity of their owners–marking them, as Greg Warden has pointed out as “member[s] of the right club”– but they were also important and sophisticated vehicles of visual communication, with the engravings on their reverses evoking the values, beliefs, aspirations and fears of their patrons and users.

In this lecture, I will discuss the narratives chosen to communicate aristocratic Etruscans’ social and cultural expectations about motherhood, a subject that remained popular in mirror iconography from the fifth through third centuries BCE. Two themes prevail, one of which proclaimed the intimate bond between mothers and their sons during life and/or in the aftermath of tragedy, and a second that focused on moments rife with hostility and violence, where mothers exhibit behaviors that transgress established ideals. By comparing and contrasting these different visual narratives – all of which were directed to an educated clientele – we can better understand the types of exempla that were presented for consideration on a daily basis. Moreover, these stories served as statements, ones that reminded mirror owners about important social and cultural ideals with respect to motherhood in general. They also illuminated the range of tensions that could be part of family life and what should be avoided in order to maintain one’s prestige and lineage perpetually..





Meg Morden is offering a course entitled Gender and Status in Classical Athens at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies. Click on the link for more information.


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.

Tarquinia.Tomb of the Leopards

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