Past Events

Interested in Cotsen events? Sign up for our mailing list.
May 2, 2018
5:00pm to 7:00pm

Speaker: Dr. Ashraf Sobhy, Fayoum Inspectorate

Fowler A222
Matthew Swanson
May 2, 2018
12:00pm to 1:00pm

Speakers: Dr. Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati & Dr. Giorgio Buccellati, UCLA

During the last seven years when war has raged in Syria, foreign archaeological projects have come to an almost total standstill. But then, the question arises: what were the presuppositions that, instead of allowing archaeology to disappear or, worse, to be kidnapped by a violent iconoclastic fundamentalism, could have given archaeology an impetus in fostering stronger group identity precisely at a moment of crisis? Our talk will answer this question with reference to the site of ancient Urkesh, where we have had been excavating since 1984. We talked about it already on other occasions, but innovative projects have been burgeoning at a steady rhythm around this site. We will talk about these various new activities, and draw some conclusions about the nature of community archaeology as we have experienced it in ways that were unimaginable only a few years back: it is truly community archaeology "from below," where the "below" includes all of us, the community of archaeologists alongside the many other communities that find themselves nurtured by the distant past embedded in their territory.

Fowler A222
Matthew Swanson
April 27, 2018
3:00pm to 4:00pm

Speaker: Dr. Giorgio Buccellati, Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, UCLA

The recent publication of a book on theory (same title as this talk, Cambridge 2017), has its roots in a long and intense confrontation with the experience of field work, which began for me in Iraq and Turkey in the '60s: it was a very practical experience which elicited, by contrast, a strong interest in theory. It was also the beginning of the digital era, which we marked with the introduction of a bulky pre-PC computer to Terqa in 1978, the first of its kind in Syro-Mesopotamia: such an early start, too, conditioned my subsequent work in this area, with an emphasis on modes of thinking beyond technology per se. Starting from these conditioning factors, I will outline the basic points of the book, as defined in the subtitle: structural, digital and philosophical aspects of the excavated record. I will then describe the structure and goals of the accompanying website, with an invitation to collaborate in its continued operation.

Fowler A222
Matthew Swanson
April 22, 2018
2:00pm to 3:30pm

Speaker: Professor Duan Qingbo, Northwest University School of Cultural Heritage, Xi'an.

Followed by a concert of Chinese and Persian music by UCLA faculty, Li Qi and Amir Pourjavady.

Terra-cotta warriors, bronze chariots and horses are among the iconic artifacts associated with China's first imperial dynasty, the Qin (221-206 BCE). Chinese archaeologist Duan Qinbo shares new evidence that suggests the material culture and social governance of the Qin may not be solely indigenous Chinese, but may also have come to China along Central Asian trade routes. 

*Presented by the UCLA Fowler Museum, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, Department of Ethnomusicology, Boethius Initiative, Center for Chinese Studies, Confucius Institute, and Pourdavoud Center for Study of the Iranian World.

UCLA Fowler Museum
April 19, 2018
4:00pm to 6:00pm

Speaker: Dr. Peter Wells, Professor of Anthropology, University of Minnesota

Fowler A222
Matthew Swanson 310-825-4169
April 18, 2018
12:00pm to 1:00pm

Speaker: Dr. Joseph (Seppi) Lehner, Assistant Professor, Department of Archaeology, University of Sydney

The ship that sank at Cape Gelidonya (Turkey) ca. 1200 BC is one of only three known wrecks dating to the Late Bronze Age, though this was an era of intensive overseas exchange in the Mediterranean. It was also one in which metals had an importance like that of oil today, and the cargo found on the seabed at Cape Gelidonya consists primarily of copper and tin in the form of ingots and ingot fragments, along with broken bronze tools intended to be remelted and refashioned into useful implements. The ship likely belonged to a tinker traveling a circuit along the coasts of Cyprus, Syria, and southern Anatolia.

The shipwreck was among the first to be scientifically excavated, when in 1960 George Bass announced to the world the exciting discoveries he made. Newer discoveries at Cape Gelidonya have now shed new light onto this important site, and cutting-edge scientific analyses of the cargo now gives us brand new insight into Bronze Age technologies and trade networks. Even more, we get a view into the life of a maritime metal at the end of the Bronze Age when the famous civilizations and empires of the Mediterranean and Near East experienced significant upheaval. Here Dr. Lehner presents the Cape Gelidonya shipwreck in its cultural and historical context, revealing how maritime cultures and trade in this crucial time period functioned and what new problems now emerge in the study of ancient societies in this dynamic region.

Fowler A222
Matthew Swanson 310-825-4169
April 11, 2018
12:00pm to 1:00pm

Speaker: Gazmend Elezi, Ph.D. Candidate, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA

The large amount of ceramic sherds in archaeological contexts and the variety of ceramic wares, shapes and dimensions during the Late Neolithic period in the Balkans is an indication that pottery was involved in many social activities. As such, it is among the best proxies to understand the daily life of Neolithic communities. In this paper, I am going to present the first preliminary results of a multidisciplinary and multidimensional approach of the Late Neolithic pottery from the Korçë region in SE Albania. In order to investigate the sociocultural dimensions of the pottery, I have used a number of methods including typological and stylistic classification, ceramic petrography, X-ray analysis, and residue analysis. The first results of this study show that, although there are significant similarities between different sites, there are also technological, stylistic, and functional differences that characterize the ceramic assemblage of each settlement. The variety of pottery is also evident within each site, while there are some indications for sharing technologies between different media. The potters have used different clay sources or recipes for manufacturing their vessels, while a number of techniques were used for finishing and elaborating their surfaces. Ceramic vessels were also involved directly or indirectly in the extended exchange networks developed in the area during this period. Moreover, some of the ceramic containers seem to have an additional social value that probably was not related to their function as their life was extended by repairing them.

Fowler A222
April 2, 2018
5:00pm to 7:30pm

Himalayan Wonders Unearthed

30 Years of Discoveries in India and Tibet

For thirty years, Peter van Ham has been researching regions in the Himalayas that had been closed for research for over half a decade. His major research focus is the life and achievements of one of Tibet's greatest masters - Lotsava Rinchen Sangpo, the 'Great Translator' from the eleventh century CE. The few surviving religious establishments founded under his aegis are the oldest temple sites of the entire TIbetan cultural realm. Their works of art, mostly preserved in their original state, are of great importance not only for TIbetan culture but also for India, Central and even Middle Asia, revealing influences reaching as far as the Mediterranean. Supported by H.H., the Dalai Lama, the Archaeological Survey of India, and the UNESCO, van Ham has made important art historical and archaeological discoveries and was the first to document these unique sites that for centuries eluded public attention. 

The event was livestreamed and the recording is available below.

April 2nd, 2018, 5:00 - 7:30pm

Lecture and Reception at the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI) Auditorium at UCLA

570 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90095

Parking available at Lot 9

Click here to RSVP by March 23rd, 2018

California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI) Auditorium
Sonali Gupta-agarwal (310) 206-8934
March 14, 2018
12:00pm to 1:00pm

Speaker: Michael Moore, PhD Candidate, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, UCLA

Virtually all studies of Hittite festivals have focused on philological issues and the cultural and religious background of the festivals (Hattic, Hittite, Luwian, Hurrian, or Mesopotamian). Studies of the roles of the participants, the political ramifications of festivals, the sensorial experience of participants, and other aspects of Hittite festivals remain unexamined. Taking the festival celebrations and sacred landscape of the Hittite capital of Hattusa as its points of departure, this talk examines the sociopolitical aspects of Hittite festivals and how spectacle was used to display and contest power in the Hittite court.

Fowler A222
Matthew Swanson
March 13, 2018
4:00pm to 7:30pm

Please see the flyer below for the upcoming UCLA Archaeology & Anthropology Film Festival. This will take place on Tuesday, March 13 from 4:00—7:30pm in the UCLA CNSI Auditorium.

Please RSVP here no later thanTuesday, March 6 at 12pm.


CNSI Auditorium at UCLA
Matthew Swanson