Past Events

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January 24, 2018
12:00pm to 1:00pm

Speaker: Dr. Ali Mousavi, Lecturer, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, UCLA

The World Heritage site of Pasargadae, in southern Iran, is the first dynastic center of the Achaemenid Empire in the 6th century B.C. Pasargadae’s palaces, gardens and the mausoleum of Cyrus the Great are outstanding examples of the first phase of royal Achaemenid art and architecture. The ruins of a solitary stone tower, known by the local name of Zendan-e Suleiman (prison of Solomon), dominates the Palace area at Pasargadae. The function of this tower and its counterpart at Naqsh-e Rustam, near Persepolis, has been the object of various studies. The towers, however, defy any convincing interpretation. The results of recent excavations at Pasargadae seem to shed some light on the function of these towers.

Fowler A222
Mathew Swanson mswanson@ioa.ucla.edu
January 19, 2018
3:00pm to 5:00pm

This will be a series of two 30-minute lectures

"Perception in Palatial Architecture: The Example of the Tupkish Palace at Tell Mozan" by Dr. Federico Buccellati

Space, as an expression of the architectural volumes expressed in Mesopotamian palatial architecture, can seem an abstract, distant concept, visible but not understood, and lacking interaction. These volumes, however, carry a deeper meaning: they conditioned and were affected by the daily life of the individuals who used these spaces. The aim is to go beyond the factuality of the data, important though that is, and to recover, through arguable and documentable procedures, the human perception. This perceptual impact encompasses not only the sense of sight, but also sound, smell and touch. The archaeological record gives only partial evidence, as is always the case, but this is often enough to draw meaningful conclusions.

"Architecture Between Bricks, Images and Words" by Dr. Maria Gabriella Micale

The centrality of architecture in the Mesopotamian worldview is reflected in both myth and reality. The presented research is a study of form and function of architectural representation and description. It analyzes the representation of Assyrian architecture by means of an innovative theoretical approach, which identifies features and functions of the occurrence of architecture in both images and texts, also in the light of the broader Mesopotamian culture. Contrary to the traditional scientific approach to images, which considers them mere reproductions of the physical built space, the project aims at defining the role of the textual description of architecture in the construction of visual imagery, the relationship among the different traditions (architectural, iconographic, and textual), and the paths of their reciprocal influences.

Fowler A222
Matthew Swanson mswanson@ioa.ucla.edu
January 17, 2018
12:00pm to 1:00pm

Speaker: Dr. Ioanna Kakoulli, Professor, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, UCLA

Fayum portraits are paintings mainly on wooden support reflecting Greek painting traditions and Egyptian funerary practices. These paintings are naturalistic portraits of the deceased and provide a snapshot of Greek civic life and customs in Egypt during the Ptolemaic and Roman rule. Non-invasive and non-destructive evaluation (NDE) of these portraits from the macro to the molecular length scale using combined imaging and spectroscopic techniques supported label-free fingerprint identification of pigments and binding media revealing raw materials selection, production technology and the operational sequences (chaîne opératoire) of the processes associated with the making of the painting. Results from the analyses integrating hyperspectral cubes in reflectance luminescence and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and forensic imaging investigations combined with fiber-optic reflectance spectroscopy (FORS) and portable XRF, indicated the use of a variety of natural and synthetic organic, inorganic and composite pigments mixed with melted beeswax in ‘encaustic’ [εγκαυστική] painting technique. The significance of this research is twofold: 1) research has been conducted without the need to take any samples and 2) results from the analyses revealed key information on the fashion and practices in Egypt during the Greek and Roman period. For example, the production of the green pigment, a synthetic organic-inorganic complex, giving the green color to the ‘gemstones’ of the necklaces in women’s portraits, is similar to the processes in alchemical manuals of the third century AD, describing a method how to color rock-crystals green, in imitation of precious stones. Similarly, the pigment madder lake used to paint the red-purple garments in the portraits replicates technology employed for the production of mordanted dyes to tint yarns for the textile ‘industry’. These results further illustrate the close affinities and interconnections between the various ‘chemical arts’, such as mining, metallurgy, corrosion and dyeing, to the art of painting and how the cultural and socio-political milieu in Egypt during the Greek and Roman period, with philosophies driving experimentation, influenced material choices and processes involved for the production and use of pigments in art.

Fowler A222
Matthew Swanson mswanson@ioa.ucla.edu
January 12, 2018
3:00pm to 5:00pm

Speaker: Dr. Doug Bailey, Professor, Department of Anthropology, San Francisco State University

What happens when people attempt to discard and destroy a museum archive that contains many thousands of visual and material objects? In this workshop, we discuss the politics, potential, and violence of archive objects (specifically a cache of over 1200, 35-mm transparencies from the mid-late 20th century. What lives do they live? Are they passive and neutral objects resting peacefully in an institution's collection? Are they active material things? If the latter, then what affect do they have, what energies and essences do they constitute, what is their present and their future, where should they go, and what should they do?

Fowler A222
Matthew Swanson mswanson@ioa.ucla.edu
December 8, 2017
4:00pm to 6:00pm

Speaker: Dr. Olivia Navarro-Farr, College of Wooster

Recent investigations in Waka’s primary civic-ceremonial structure discovered a royal tomb including the remains of Queen K’abel. These excavations also revealed the name of an earlier, previously unknown Kaanul queen, Ikoom Sak Wayis, likely pertaining to the interment of a royal female excavated at the site’s palace complex in 2004. This discussion focuses on the wide-ranging evidence that underscores the place of these queens in the collective social memory of ancient Wakeños, their diplomatic capabilities, and their political importance. This examination also serves to initiate conversations about increasing theoretical considerations of how women acted deliberately and meaningfully as agents of ancient statecraft.

Fowler A222
Matthew Swanson mswanson@ioa.ucla.edu
December 6, 2017
12:00pm to 1:00pm

Speaker: Dr. Christine Lee, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Cal State LA

My research focuses on ethnic identity and how it is expressed in the human skeleton and its burial context. The populations I study were seldom represented in contemporary historical texts. These people included nomadic pastoralists, migrants and merchants, and finally women and children. The first population sample represents the Uighur dynasty in Mongolia. This cemetery dates to the end of the dynasty which was plagued by epidemics and famine before its collapse. Bioarchaeological analysis of Manichaean temple burials show a high mortality rate among infants and periods of high stress among the surviving adults. A second rare archaeological sample dates to Ming-Qing dynasty China. This is the only archaeological site known to have women with bound feet. A complete analysis was done on the occurrence and prevalence of footbinding from the Song –Qing dynasty burials. Next,four archaeological sites from the Western Regions (China and Mongolia) will be discussed regarding trauma patterns along the Silk Road. These are frontier sites from non-Asian Sogdian (Persian) and Pazyryk (Scythian) populations. Finally, current field excavations of several sites which date to the Period of Disunion (Dark Ages), after the collapse of the Han and Xiongnu empires. Little is known about this time other than there was widespread unrest and migration in Mongolia and Northern China. Preliminary findings suggest a change in burial patterns and ethnic identities.

Fowler A222
Matthew Swanson mswanson@ioa.ucla.edu
December 1, 2017
4:00pm to 6:00pm

Speaker: Dr. Thomas Garrison, Ithaca College

In 2016, the National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping (NCALM) acquired over 2100 square km of data over the Maya Biosphere Reserve in Guatemala, representing the largest single LiDAR acquisition for archaeological research. Sponsored by PACUNAM, a consortium of scholars representing different archaeological projects and nationalities have come together to analyze broad trends across the ten individual polygons covered by the data. Notable among the findings are patterns of settlement density and vacancy, an uneven distribution of intensive agricultural systems, and variations in regional connectivity and disconnectivity. A final aspect of the data, seen prominently around the ancient Maya kingdom of El Zotz, is the presence of elaborate systems of site defense. This talk will highlight some basic findings by members of the PACUNAM LiDAR Initiative (PLI) before focusing on what these data tell us about Maya warfare, defense, and politics. Particular attention will be paid to the discovery of a true Maya fortress, dubbed La Cuernavilla, and the implications this site has for understanding Maya politics in the aftermath of Teotihuacan's entrada into the lowlands in the 4th century A.D.

Fowler A222
Matthew Swanson mswanson@ioa.ucla.edu
November 29, 2017
12:00pm to 1:00pm

Speaker: Tao Shi, PhD Candidate, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA

The rise of Erlitou not only declares the end of the Longshan Age, but also open a new era of the Luoyang-centric social network. However, how the political landscape was formed and what  the knowledge root of Erlitou was have not been discussed. In this paper, I will discuss the Longshan Network as the process of knowledge preparation for the rise of Erlitou. Moreover, I will introduce my survey in the Qinling Mountain Range, and see the Dan River in the Qinling Mountain Range as an expressway of knowledge transmission for the Erlitou state. 

Fowler A222
Matthew Swanson mswanson@ioa.ucla.edu
November 17, 2017
4:00pm to 6:00pm

Speaker: Dr. Marcos Llobera, University of Washington

This talk centers on the on-going Landscape, Encounters and Identity project (http://leiap.weebly.com/) and various initiatives by members of the DigAR lab (Digital Archaeology Research Lab -www.digarlab.uw.edu/) at the University of Washington surrounding this project. Broadly speaking, the LEIA project is a landscape archaeology study that seeks to understand landscape and societal changes that played out from Pre-(Late Bronze Age) to medieval times in the Son Servera landscape (NE Mallorca, Spain). In addition to representing the first intensive and systematic surface survey in the island of Mallorca, the project has set out to meet several theoretical, methodological and public goals. Amongst the methodological goals, the project is developing new digital and computational tools for collecting, describing and analyzing survey and landscape data.

Fowler A222
Matthew Swanson mswanson@ioa.ucla.edu
November 15, 2017
12:00pm to 1:00pm

Speaker: Dr. Yanjun Weng, Assistant Professor, Jingdezhen University

Dr. Weng will speak about his current archaeological excavation project at the Luomaqiao Kiln site in Jingdezhen, a city with more than 1,000 years of continuous ceramic industry history. This lecture will explore the changing configuration of porcelain production along the long timeline as well as the corresponding distribution of products to royal needs, government divisions, and civilian markets of both domestic China and overseas.

Yanjun Weng obtained his PhD in archaeology in 2017 from Peking University and has been active on field works of Chinese ceramic archaeology since 2010. Before that, he received master's and undergraduate's degrees in economics and international trade.

Fowler A222
Matthew Swanson mswanson@ioa.ucla.edu