Visiting Professorships

The Annual AAIA Visiting Professorship

Mr Peter Burrows

Peter Burrows, Treasurer od the AAIA and sponsor of the 2001-4 Visiting Professorships.

Each year the Institute brings to Australia a distinguished academic who undertakes a lecture tour to all Institutional members across the country. From its foundation in 1987 until 2000 the AAIA Visiting Professorship was generously sponsored by Mr Sidney Londish. Subsequently Mr Peter Burrows, who is a governor and a member of the Council of the AAIA agreed to become sole sponsor and he funded the 2001-2004 Visiting Professors.

Between 2005 and 2011 the programme has been sponsored by a group of Governors of the AAIA including: Mr Peter Burrows, Professor John Chalmers, Mr Michael Diamond, Mr Timothy Harding, Mrs Pauline Harding, Dr Robert Harper, Dr Monica Jackson and the late Professor J.A. Young. In addition money has also be committed to the Visiting Professorship by the Thyne Reid Foundation. The Institute thanks the sponsors for their generosity, commitment and support.

The 2017 AAIA Visiting Professor

Prof James Wright

Professor James C. Wright, Director of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (2012-2017), will be the 2017 AAIA Visiting Professor. Professor Wright was previously based at Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania, where he has taught since 1978. From 1981 until today he has been Director of the Nemea Project, which focuses on the diachronic history and archaeology of the region surrounding the Sanctuary of Zeus in the north-east Peloponnese. He has excavated widely, including at Kommos on Crete and at Corinth, and is a specialist in the Greek Bronze Age, with a particular interest in the Mycenaeans in the Peloponnese. He is well known for his edited volume "The Mycenaean Feast".

Wright’s primary research is in the evolution of complex societies in the Aegean. This grew out of interests in architecture and urbanism, and led him to explore the social aspects of community formation and maintenance - subjects
such as prestige display, mortuary customs, and feasting. He has had a long interest in ancient Greek architecture, especially as it informed the development of ancient communities and their sanctuaries, the regional character of ancient Greece, and the spread of Hellenic culture.

Professor Wright will tour the country giving a series of public lectures, seminars and workshops in August & September with his wife and colleague, archaeologist Dr Mary Dabney.

Public Lectures
  • Sydney (University of Sydney) - Wednesday August 16, 6.30pm: From Emblem to Epic: Mycenaean art and Mycenaean society
    Register for this free event here or contact the
  • Sydney (Macquarie University) - Thursday August 17, 2.30pm: Becoming Mycenaean: the emergence of Mycenaean civilization in Greece
  • Sydney (University of Sydney) - Wednesday August 23, 6.30pm: Bringing the Dead to Life: scientific excavations of a Mycenaean chamber tomb cemetery in the Nemea Valley, Greece
    Register for this free event here or contact the
  • Newcastle (University of Newcastle @ the Newcastle Museum) - Thursday August 24, 6.00pm: From Emblem to Epic: Mycenaean Art and Mycenaean Society
  • Brisbane (University of Queensland) - Thursday August 31, 6.00pm: From Emblem to Epic: Mycenaean art and Mycenaean society
  • Perth (University of Western Australia) - Tuesday September 5, 6.00pm: From Emblem to Epic: Mycenaean art and Mycenaean society
  • Adelaide (University of Adelaide) - Thursday September 7, 7.00pm: Becoming Mycenaean: the emergence of Mycenaean civilization in Greece
  • Hobart (University of Tasmania) - Tuesday September 12, 6.00pm: The Pastness of the Past: thoughts about archaeology and its practice in Greece
  • Melbourne (Allen Memorial Lecture, University of Melbourne) - Wednesday September 13, 5.15pm: From Emblem to Epic: Mycenaean art and Mycenaean society
  • Melbourne (Joint Lecture, University of Melbourne) - Thursday September 14, 6.30pm: Becoming Mycenaean: the emergence of Mycenaean civilization in Greece
  • Canberra (Australian National University @ the Hellenic Club) - Tuesday September 19, 8.00pm: A Villager’s Tale: life in a village under the shadow of Mycenae during the Late Bronze Age
  • Armidale (University of New England) - Thursday September 21: From Emblem to Epic: Mycenaean art and Mycenaean society

Professor Wright will also be giving an Advanced Seminar in Sydney, Newcastle, Hobart and Canberra on:
Climate Change and Human Occupation in Greece: Hypotheses, Evidence, and Implications
There is increasing evidence of climate variability in the Old World. This 2+ hour long seminar examines how this evidence affects our interpretation of the rise and fall of societies within the Aegean world from the 3rd millennium through the Middle Ages and into the Early Modern Period. Specific programs of climate study in the Peloponnesos are relevant.

Required reading for the Climate Change advanced seminar: Weiburg et al 2016, The socio-environmental history of the Peloponnese during the Holocene: Towards an integrated understanding of the past.

For further information on Professor Wright's appearances please contact

Topics

Bringing the Dead to Life: scientific excavations of a Mycenaean chamber tomb cemetery in the Nemea Valley, Greece
This lecture gives an account of the salvaging of a cemetery in Greece that was being looted and describes procedures to document every trace of archaeological evidence that might contribute to our understanding of the cemetery. Of special interest is the integration of an ambitious program of scientific analysis of the contents of each tomb. A bioarchaeologist supervised excavation of the skeletal material so as to improve the ability to understand the health, diet, and demographic profile of the persons buried; Archaeobotanists, a charcoal specialist, and an expert in phytoliths provided important information about plant remains used in mortuary practices. Analysis of the archaeological remains and the grave goods presented an overall picture of mortuary practices that is exceptionally rich and innovative. In conclusion the tombs and the burial practices are explained in the context of local communities and their relationship to the palace at Mycenae, whose territory included the Nemea Valley.

The Archaeology of the Longue Durée: the piedmont of the Corinthia and cycles of regional occupation
This is a general lecture about regional archaeology and how the patterns of human occupation over a 5000 year period tell a story about a landscape. The valleys of the Xerias, Longopotamos, Nemea, and Asopos Rivers are properly a piedmont zone intermediate between the coastal plains of the Corinthian, Saronic and Argive Gulfs. Study of the long term patterns of human exploitation of these valleys reveals cycles of occupation that differentiate this piedmont from adjacent coastal and montane regions. Variation in form of settlement and in forms of agro-pastoral economies and study of the routes of interconnection illustrate the special character of piedmont zones in the long-term history of the rise and fall of political economies in the Aegean basin from the Early Bronze Age in the third millennium BCE to the contemporary times.

Becoming Mycenaean: the emergence of Mycenaean civilization in Greece
This lecture is a survey of evidence from the Middle Bronze Age through the early phases of the Late Bronze (c. 1700-1330 BCE) and explains how Mycenaean civilization developed in relation to its predecessors. It introduces the audience to recent thinking about the rise of Mycenaean civilization during the Late Bronze Age in Greece and explores how mainlanders interacted with people in the Aegean Islands and with the in habitants of the palaces of Crete, especially Knossos. Special emphasis is placed on the rise of small warrior societies at Mycenae and elsewhere on the mainland of Greece. A consideration of Mycenaean rule at Knossos, the invention of the Mycenaean script, Linear B, and the founding of palaces on the mainland of Greece rounds the discussion out.

From Emblem to Epic: Mycenaean art and Mycenaean Society
This lecture examines how an artistic style emerged that exemplified the Mycenaean civilization in Greece during the Late Bronze Age. It investigates how individuals used luxuries and other high status items to promote their social and political position so as to consolidate power over their communities and in relation to competing leaders elsewhere within Greece. Discussed also is how the Mycenaeans created both a local art and blended with the art of the palaces of Crete to institute a visual program within the palaces they constructed at their capitals on the mainland. The lecture closes with a consideration of the impact of this visual program after the fall of the palaces and the transition to the Iron Age that ultimately led to the epics of Homer and the rise of the Greek city states.

A Villager’s Tale: The incorporation of a settlement in the Nemea Valley into the territory of Mycenae during the Late Bronze Age
This lecture presents the results of an excavation of a small settlement in the Nemea Valley and its changing relationship to the nearby capital of Mycenae during the Late Bronze Age in Greece, roughly from 1700-1200 BCE. The systematic excavations revealed a continuous occupation with significant evidence of the agrarian basis of the community and its eventual incorporation into the territory of Mycenae. Evidence of these developments are examined through discussion of the discoveries from cemeteries, households, plant cultivation, animal husbandry, tool use, and ceramic consumption. Illustrated is both how settlements in territories existed in their landscapes and how the palaces annexed their landscapes to create an administered territory.

The Pastness of the Past: thoughts about archaeology and its practice in Greece
This lecture illustrates the origins of archaeology in the Renaissance and how in concert with discoveries in the natural sciences during the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution, archaeology matured and divided into different branches. From these beginnings it is explained how archaeology has developed into a global practice while still following traditional lines of investigation in Greece. Also discussed is the need in contemporary archaeological investigation to understand archaeological context, and how archaeological deposits are formed. In conclusion is a consideration of how studies in climate variability in the Old World are changing the nature of our interpretation of the past.


The 2016 AAIA Visiting Professor

Sporn

Professor Katja Sporn toured Australia in August and September as the 2016 AAIA Visiting Professor. Professor Sporn is the Director of the German Archaeological Institute at Athens and a professor at the University of Munich. Her fields of expertise range from Crete in the Classical and Hellenistic period through to Greek funerary art and religion.

She has directed archaeological field work at Kolonna, Aegina, and now runs excavations at the important sanctuary of Apollo at Kalapodi, thought by many to be ancient Abai, in Phokis. Her tour - a great success - took her to Sydney, Armidale, Perth, Adelaide, Hobart, Canberra, Brisbane, Newcastle, and Melbourne.

Public Lectures
  • Sydney (University of Sydney) - Monday August 1, 6.00pm: Natural Features in Greek Cult Places. The Case of Athens
  • Sydney (University of Sydney) - Wednesday August 10, 6.00pm: Ancient Phokis. Settlements, Fortifications and Sanctuaries
  • Armidale (University of New England) - Thursday August 11, 5.30pm: Greek Classical Grave Reliefs beyond Attica. Mirrors of Ancient Societies
  • Perth (University of WA) - Monday 15 August, 6.00pm: Natural Features in Greek Cult Places. The Case of Athens
  • Adelaide (SA Friends of the AAIA) - Thursday August 18, 7.00pm: Greek Classical Grave Reliefs beyond Attica. Mirrors of Ancient Societies
  • Adelaide (Adelaide University) - Friday August 19, 7.00pm: Natural Features in Greek Cult Places. The Case of Athens
  • Hobart (University of Tasmania) - Tuesday August 22, 6.00pm: Greek Classical Grave Reliefs beyond Attica. Mirrors of Ancient Societies
  • Canberra (Australian National University) - Thursday August 25 8.00pm: Natural Features in Greek Cult Places. The Case of Athens
  • Brisbane (University of QLD) - Thursday September 1, 6.00pm: Natural Features in Greek Cult Places. The Case of Athens
  • Newcastle (University of Newcastle) - Monday Sept 5, 6.00pm: Ancient Phokis. Settlements, Fortifications and Sanctuaries
  • Melbourne (University of Melbourne) - Wednesday Sept 7, 6.30pm: Natural Features in Greek Cult Places. The Case of Athens
  • Melbourne (La Trobe University) - Sunday Sept 8: Greek Classical Grave Reliefs beyond Attica. Mirrors of Ancient Societies
Topics

Natural Features in Greek Cult Places and Ritual. The Case of Athens
Greek sanctuaries have long been associated with monumental architecture, especially temples, altars and auxiliary buildings. However, it is important to note that natural features were sometimes predecessors of these architectural elements. At times, even into the Hellenistic period and later, natural features actually delineated sacred areas, as has recently been shown in various cities in Asia Minor. This lecture will examine various types of natural elements associated with ritual localities in Athens: caves, rock-cut features, trees and groves, as well as bodies of water. It will, moreover, examine the role they played in the cultic practices conducted at these sites.

Ancient Phokis. Settlements, Fortifications, and Sanctuaries
Ancient Phokis lies in the pivotal region of central Greece and extends from Delphi in the west to Kalapodi in the east, neighbouring Boiotia, Western and Eastern Locris and the Doric Tetrapolis. It is dominated by mount Parnassos (highest peak 2457 m) and includes the fertile Kephissos plain in the north-east. Today the region is barely known, although it is full of remains especially of fortification walls, to a lesser extent of sanctuaries (mainly Delphi and Kalapodi), and of settlements. The lecture will offer an introduction into the topography and history of this neglected area of ancient Greece.

Greek Classical Grave Reliefs beyond Attica. Mirrors of ancient societies
The best known and thoroughly studied Greek grave monuments are the funerary reliefs of classical Attica. Roughly 2700 examples are known; the figured representations they carry are rather formulaic and aim to represent the role of the deceased as normative members of Athenian society rather than to portray specific traits of any individuals. A large –yet unpublished– study of non-Attic grave reliefs of the period from 500 to 300 BC has shown that such reliefs were not as common elsewhere in the Greek world as they were in Attica. This lecture will present examples from various regions in Greece and will highlight the varying spatial arrangement of cemeteries and the different approaches to the display of graves. It will conclude that the various types of funerary reliefs and manner of burial mirror different societal forms in the various regions of Ancient Greece


The John Atherton Young and Alexander Cambitoglou Professorial Research Fellow

Thanks to a generous donation and matching sum given by the University of Sydney, the AAIA has been able to establish a Professorial Research Fellowship enabling an eminent scholar to visit Australia for the period of at least three to four months.

2014 Professorial Research Fellow

Irene Lemos

Professor Irene Lemos

Professor Irene Lemos is Reader in Classical Archaeology at Oxford University, and Director of the Lefkandi-Xeropolis excavations in Euboea. She is the author of The Protogeometric Aegean: The Archaeology of the Late Eleventh and Tenth Centuries BC (Oxford, 2003) and of numerous publications on the Lefkandi excavations as they relate to elite burials in the Iron Age, tell formation processes and ceramic statistical analyses.

Her interests include: Early Greek Archaeology and Art; State formation in Early Greece from the Late Helladic IIIC to the Archaic period; Literacy; Late Bronze and Iron Age exchange patterns in the Mediterranean; the archaeology of Ionia.

Past Professorial Research Fellows

Jacques

Professor Jacques Perreault, the inaugural Research Fellow.

In 2010 the inaugural John Atherton Young and Alexander Cambitoglou Professorial Research Fellow was Professor Jacques Perreault from the University of Montreal (left), whose six month visit commenced in February.

In 2012 the Professorial Research Fellow was Professor Hermann Kienast whose three month stay was from February to May.