Past Events

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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
March 9, 2018
3:00pm to 5:00pm

Speaker: Dr. Mark McCoy, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, Southern Methodist University

The archaic form of state society evolved independently at least six times in prehistory – in Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, the Indus Valley, Mesoamerica, and coastal Peru – and marks a turning point that was fundamental to the creation of modern society. New research suggests another, much more recent, example of the formation of archaic states occurred in the Hawaiian Islands. Located in the North Pacific, the archipelago of islands that make up the Hawaiian chain are so naturally isolated that they remained undiscovered by people until Polynesian voyagers established a new settlement there around AD 1000. By the time of first contact with Europeans, 800 years later, it was home to hundreds of thousands of people governed by independent kingdoms. How did this occur, and what does it tell us about the moment in history when chiefs became kings? In this lecture, I will draw upon nearly twenty years of field research in Hawai‘i and outline what we currently know about the creation of these island kingdoms through archaeology and local oral histories, with the goal of explaining why society transformed and what these changes tell us about the larger course of human prehistory.

Fowler A222
Matthew Swanson
March 7, 2018
12:00pm to 1:00pm

Speaker: Dr. John Papadopoulos, Professor, Department of Classics, UCLA

The final season of fieldwork on the Ancient Methone Archaeological Project—a collaboration of Greek Ministry of Culture and UCLA under the auspices of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens—was concluded in the summer of 2017. This presentation is an overview of our fieldwork at the site during the 2014-2017 seasons, and incorporates earlier fieldwork by our Greek colleagues beginning in 2003.

Fowler A222
Matthew Swanson
February 28, 2018
12:00pm to 1:00pm

Speaker: Dr. Jade d'Alpoim Guedes, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, UC San Diego

Research on agriculture's spread in East Asia has followed an underlying assumption: that farming produced equally reliable returns across the vast expanse of territories into which it spread and always placed farmers at a demographic advantage. Significant ecological barriers to growing crops on the Tibetan Plateau meant that the opposite was true. Using ecological niche modeling to illuminate how foragers and farmers interacted in environments marginal to crop cultivation, this paper demonstrates that the higher elevation reaches of the “third pole” constituted a barrier for expanding millet farmers. In these areas foragers maintained a competitive advantage.  Following the end of the climatic optimum, decreasing temperatures effectively ended millet farmer’s expansion. It was only following the introduction of a suite of new crops and animals that the Tibetan economy as we know it today was able to flourish, but also that pastoralists and farmers finally began to truly encroach on forager territory.

Fowler A222
Matthew Swanson 310-825-4169
Lenart Auditorium (Fowler A103B)
Sonali Gupta-Agarwal