Subscribe to the CCANESA Newsletter

Please enter your details below to subscribe to the CCANESA newsletter. With this newsletterwe aim to inform the internationalClassics, Ancient History and Archaeology research community about the work that is done in our Centre and by our associated researchers at the University of Sydney. You can view our first issue here.

image for subscription form

* indicates required

Teaching Classical Languages Symposium 2017

CCANESA, alongside the Department of Classics and Ancient History, was pleased to host a symposium on Teaching Classical Languages on April 20. The event brought together around 40 participants, including interstate presenters, and representatives from major Australian universities including the Australian National University, Australian Catholic University, Macquarie University, University of Newcastle, University of New England, University of Queensland and members of the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Sydney. Speakers on the day included Dr Emily Matters (President of the Classical Languages Teachers Association), Dr Janette McWilliam (UQ), Anthony Gibbons (Sydney Grammar), Dr Christopher Bishop (ANU), Helen Pigram (North Sydney Girls), Dr Sarah Lawrence (UNE) and our very own Dr Paul Roche, Professor Dexter Hoyos and Dane Drivas.

One of the major aims of the day was to bring together teachers from both tertiary and secondary sectors to discuss the importance of teaching Classical languages, various pedagogical strategies and to highlight developing and innovative methodologies in the discipline from schools and universities all over the world. To this end participants from a number of schools from the Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne metropolitan areas attended. The organisers noted that the event was a resounding success due to the collegiate atmosphere of all who attended, their breadth of experience and the ideas shared on the day. The passion for the subject displayed by the speakers was evident to all present, which coupled with the enthusiasm and humour that characterised the event, was encouraging for all who attended.

Special thanks must be extended to Associate Professor Julia Kindt and Dr Tamara Neal from the Department of Classics and Ancient History for all their hard work organising this valuable symposium and we look forward to more events like this in the future.

Classical Rome Summer School - January 9-29, 2018

Image for Classical Rome Summer School

Enrolment for the 2018 Classical Rome Summer School is now open! The University of Sydney is offering a chance to study classics in Italy with Associate Professor Kathryn Welch and Dr Estelle Lazer. You will have the opportunity to visit major archaeological sites like Pompeii and Herculaneum, as well as museums and sites around Rome.

Beginning with introductory lectures at the University of Sydney, students will will meet in Rome before traveling to Vico Equense for close access to the sites of Mount Vesuvius. From there, students will travel to Frascati, offering a view of ancient Rome's impact on regional towns. Students will then travel to Rome, touring various sites by foot in order to understand the history of the ancient city.

This is a great opportunity for students of classics or archaeology to experience the ancient world first-hand.


Olwen Tudor Jones Scholarship

Applications are open for the Olwen Tudor Jones Scholarship, offered by the Society of Mediterranean Archaeology (SoMA). The OTJ Scholarship is offered to a University of Sydney student of archaeology, or associated field, of high academic achievement for the purpose of partially funding that student's travel costs to participate in fieldwork in the Mediterranean region. The applicant must be a University of Sydney undergraduate student of archaeology or a related discipline.

Applications are due Monday May 1
Guidelines for the scholarship can be found here
For more information about Olwen Tudor Jones, visit the AAIA website

Dane Drivas shortlisted for prestigious Edmund Barton Award

As part of the University of Sydney 2017 Alumni Awards, the Department of Classics and Ancient History's graduate Dane Drivas has been shortlisted for the prestigious Edmund Barton Award. After finishing his BA specialising in Latin, Dane chose to pursue a teaching career in the subject, and recently completed a Master of Teaching degree. He continues to encourage new students to develop an appreciation of the language through reading and performance.

We join Classics and Ancient History and the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry (SOPHI) in congratulating Dane on his nomination. The award ceremony will be held on 28 April, 2017. For more information contact SOPHI.

University of Sydney ASCS Prize Winners

CCANESA offers its congratulations to these recent University of Sydney winners of the ASCS Greek and Latin unseen translation competition:

Grant Kynaston, 1st Prize in the ASCS Greek Unseen Translation Competition
Grant Kynaston, 1st Prize in the ASCS Latin Unseen Translation Competition
Timothy Young, Honourable Mention in the ASCS Greek Unseen Translation Competition
Joseph James Parkinson, Honourable Mention in the ASCS Latin Unseen Translation Competition

The annual competition involves a 45-minute test, and the prize is $250.

In addition, the AAIA’s Camilla Norman has been offered the Early Career award for her research project Ritualised Behaviours in Pre-Roman Italy: RTI photography, X-ray fluorescence and the Daunian Stelae.

The Early Career award offers $3000 to assist scholars who are beginning careers in classical studies.

Congratulations again to our extremely talented body of Classics, Ancient History and Classical Archaeology students and researchers!
For more information on ASCS prizes, visit the ASCS website

CCANESA Researchers Present Seminars at Macquarie University

As well as our own CCANESA seminar series, our researchers will be presenting aspects of their work at Macquarie University in their regular seminar series that covers Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology.

Professor Alison Betts, Director of CCANESA, will be presenting a seminar on her work involving the early practice of Zoroastrianism, which will be held on the 12th of May.

Additionally, a seminar presented by Associate Professor Julia Kindt on the topic of Oracles and Authenticity will be held on the 9th of June.

All seminars will be held in the Seminar Room, Museum of Ancient Cultures, Building X5B, level 3, on Fridays commencing at 4.00pm sharp (unless otherwise stated).

Please download the flyer (432KB PDF) for information on other seminars at Macquarie University and for our own seminar series, visit our Events page

Masterclass and workshop by CCANESA International Visiting Researchers

To start off the year CCANESA hosted a masterclass and a workshop for our extended research community thanks to the generosity of two international visiting researchers: Dr Amy Russell, from the University of Durham who was in Sydney for the Roman Law Network Symposium held February 8-9 in CCANESA, and Dr Gino Caspari, University of Bern, Institut für Archäologische Wissenschaften, Early Postdoctoral Mobility Fellow, Swiss National Science Foundation, University of Sydney and the Chinese Academy of Sciences Beijing. Dr Caspari will be at CCANESA during 2017 to conduct post-doctoral research.

The first masterclass entitled The Politics of Space in Republican Rome was given by Dr Russell in the CCANESA boardroom on January 27. Hosted by the Department of Classics and Ancient History the class provided an opportunity for our research community to hear more about Dr Russell's research interests integrating the political history and topography of the Roman Republic and early Empire.

A second workshop on February 7 was aimed at a broader interdisciplinary audience from Archaeology, Ancient History, and Classics. The combined presentation from Dr Russell and Dr Caspari entitled Space, a current frontier: scalar approaches to spatial analyses in Archaeology and History was hosted by the AAIA and attended by post-graduate students and researchers at the University of Sydney.

Dr Russell and Dr Caspari presented a sampler of their respective research projects in a less formal environment which served as a sounding board for discussion and questions from those who are currently engaged in or about to embark on similar research. Dr Russell presented the results of the collaborative spatial analyses and visualizations of experienced space which informed her recent monograph The politics of public space in Republican Rome, 2016, and articles such as 'Memory and Movement in the Roman Fora from Antiquity to Metro C', JSAH 73, 2014, and 'On gender and spatial experience in public: the case of ancient Rome' , 2016, in TRAC 2015: Proceedings of the 25th annual Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference.

Dr Gino Caspari who is conducting post-doctoral research on the cultural landscapes of the Chinese Altai Mountains in collaboration with Professor Alison Betts, Department of Archaeology and the current Director of CCANESA gave an insight into the multiple levels of spatial analysis that underpin his work, from remote sensing to mapping and modelling individual monuments in the landscape for heritage preservation. Dr Caspari's publications include “Detect, map, and preserve Bronze & Iron Age monuments along the pre-historic Silk Road” in Proceedings of International Symposium on Earth Observation for One Belt and One Road (EOBAR) 2016 and “Discernibility of Burial Mounds in High-Resolution X-Band SAR Images for Archaeological Prospections in the Altai MountainsJournal of remote sensing 8 2016 (doi:10.3390/rs8100817).

The workshop provided the CCANESA research community to take advantage of the expertise of both speaker and provided an opportunity to learn about current debates and advances in techniques, methodologies and theoretical frameworks in spatial archaeology.

Eric Csapo 'Champagne and Cream Tea' Lecture - Nicholson Museum

Csapo picture

Professor Eric Csapo

In the lead up to the start of the 2017 teaching year, CCANESA affiliate Professor Eric Csapo took time out from his academic responsibilities to deliver a public lecture for the Friends of the Nicholson Museum on January 31. Billed as a ‘champagne and cream tea’ lecture, Professor Csapo took guests on a titillating journey through the magical and salacious world of Dionysia in Ancient Athens, revealing the multi-faceted representations of the god and the many ways in which individuals and communities engaged with and gave themselves over to Dionysos.

The Friends of the Museum were particularly appreciative of Professor Csapo’s enlightening talk, which exhibited his considerable research into ancient theatre and material culture to a wider audience. For more great seminars and events check our Events page and to become a Friend of the Nicholson Museum, visit their website.

Australian Research Council Discovery project success for CCANESA researchers in 2017

Two teams of multi-disciplinary researchers in CCANESA have won Australian Research Council (ARC) awards in the current round of funding announcements. Professor Alison Betts, the current Director of CCANESA and Professor of Silk Road Studies with the Department of Archaeology, and her team of international colleagues will continue to advance their research on the early history of Zoroastrianism by examining the archaeology and art of ancient Khorezm in modern day Uzbekhistan.

Professor Peter Wilson and Professor Eric Csapo, from the Department of Classics and Ancient History, head up a team of colleagues: from the Department of Archaeology, Emeritus Professor J. Richard Green; from Classics and Ancient History, Dr Jelle Stoop; CCANESA Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr Elodie Paillard (who also brings funding for a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Swiss National Science Foundation); and from the Département d'Histoire, Université Paris 8, Professor Brigitte Le Guen. The project will continue the work of the Greek Theatre Project undertaken by the principal investigators with funding from previous ARC and other grants.

Details of the successful projects can be found below.

Image of priests

Image of roosters in the guise of Zoroastrian priests. They are symbols of the Avestan God Srosh

Professor Alison Betts; Professor Frantz Grenet; Dr Michele Minardi;
Dr Makset Karlibaev

Shifting the Foundations of Zoroastrian History: a fresh focus on Khorezm.

This project aims to explore the importance for Zoroastrianism of images of Avestan
gods in Uzbekistan. Zoroastrianism is an ancient religion, but little is known of its
early development. Recent finds of massive six-metre-high murals of Avestan gods
decorating the royal ceremonial centre of Akchakhan-kala in Khorezm provide
evidence of early formal Zoroastrian practices, in a region not considered a centre of
early religious development. The project will study this data and its implications for
later religious beliefs, drawing particularly on evidence for burial practices in the early
Islamic period and indigenous tribal practices. The project aims to enhance
understanding of one of the world’s significant religions.

Theatre Syracuse

The Great Theatre of Syracuse and late-Archaic temple on the terrace above.

Professor Peter Wilson; Professor Eric Csapo; Emeritus Professor J Green; Professor Brigitte Le Guen; Dr Elodie Paillard; Dr Jelle Stoop.
Theatre and autocracy in Ancient Greece

This project aims to study the relations between theatre and autocratic power in antiquity. Theatre, from the start, appealed just as much to autocrats as to democrats and throve in autocratic states for half a millennium after the extinction of the Classical democracies. While many studies trace ancient Greek theatre’s links to democracy, none explore its links to specific tyrants, monarchs or emperors. This project will examine how autocrats moulded the world’s first mass medium of communication to consolidate their power, and how competing interests used the theatre to share, limit or challenge that power.

New collections for CCANESA Library 2016

Visiting Researchers 2016

In 2016 CCANESA was host to several short and longer-term visiting scholars working on topics from across our core disciplines of Archaeology and Classics and Ancient History. Our visiting researchers were able to base themselves in the Centre library and research offices and utilised the collected holdings and archival resources of CCANESA. Visitors contributed to the wider research community through scholarly and public lectures, in the various departmental seminar streams, or conducted workshops and master classes on their specific topics. All of these activities provided opportunities to interact with members of faculty and our senior undergraduate and post-graduate students through participation in these programmes and other less formal discussion groups.

Nello using CCANESA library

Working in the CCANESA research library

Among our longer-term student visitors was Nello Sidoti, a PhD student of Greek Philology at the University of Urbino, Italy who arrived in July 2016. Mr Sidoti contacted the Department of Classics and Ancient History seeking an opportunity to work on his PhD research under the local supervision of Professor Peter Wilson and Professor Eric Csapo, in particular to draw on their extensive knowledge of all aspects of ancient Greek Theatre. Both are recognised as leaders in the field of ancient theatre studies for their innovative and multidisciplinary approaches integrating literary, epigraphic and archaeological sources into their research. They were recently awarded an Australian Research Council grant for their project entitled (details above) in collaboration with colleagues from Australia and overseas.

Over a period of four months Mr Sidoti was based in CCANESA using the resources of the library to advance his PhD research on the ancient reception of 5th century BC Greek tragedy. This provided an opportunity to discuss his ideas with faculty members and fellow students from Classics and the CCANESA research community. While here he presented aspects of this study as part of the Classics and Ancient History weekly departmental seminar series under the title of "Middle Comedy and the Reperformances of Tragedy in the 4th century BC".

Mr Sidoti noted that his decision to spend a semester at CCANESA was informed by two aims - firstly, to choose a research environment that would encourage new insights and help focus his doctoral research, and to advance his English language skills for academic purposes by opting for an extended period abroad:

"My choice fell on Sydney, where I could benefit from the invaluable suggestions of Professor Eric Csapo and Professor Peter Wilson, who are preparing the first complete database of historical documents for Greek Theatre down to 300 BC, a most important book for those who investigate how, where and why tragic texts were disseminated all over the Greek World after their first performances in Athens.
I really enjoyed following Professor Wilson’s course on Sophocles’ Ajax, which offered me the opportunity to deal with one of the greatest Greek tragedies. I was engrossed by the seminars organised by the Department of Classics and Ancient History and it was an honour to be hosted in the programme of Semester 2, 2016."

Mr Sidoti was based at CCANESA from July to October 2016. Working out of the library, he was particularly welcomed by the current cohort of Classics students undertaking Honours and post-graduate studies, and by our academic and professional staff. We wish him all the best for the completion of his PhD and hope to see him again in Sydney.

Frances Muecke Donation

CCANESA is pleased to announce that the generous donation of books made by Frances Muecke from the Department of Classics and Ancient History has been catalogued and the books have all made it on to our shelves. Early in 2016, Frances donated approximately 750 books to CCANESA, dealing in such topics as Latin poetry, the plays of Plautus and particularly the satires of Horace. This strengthens CCANESA’s holdings on Latin literature and authors and is now available for readers to access in the library.

Frances Muecke has now relocated to one of the research offices in CCANESA where she continues work on her various projects with a focus on ancient comedy and poetry.

CCANESA would like to sincerely thank Frances Muecke for her significant and very generous donation, which will no doubt assist our research community greatly. The collection has been catalogued with the ongoing assistance of our student volunteers and we are very grateful for their time and effort.

A Celebration of Classical Greek Teaching

Organisers and guests

Left to right: Julia Kindt, His Excellency, Dr Stavros Kyrimis, Emily Matters, Peter Wilson, Patricia Azarias and John Azarias.

A celebration of the teaching of Classical Greek was held at CCANESA, 27 May 2016. In May, the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Sydney had the very great pleasure of hosting a celebration of Classical Greek teaching. The event was organised by Professors Peter Wilson and Julia Kindt, and guests of honour included His Excellency, Dr Stavros Kyrimis, the Consul-General of Greece, Tom Alegounarias, President of the Board of Studies NSW (BOSTES), and John and Patricia Azarias, President and Vice-President of the Lysicrates Foundation. The guest speaker was Dr Emily Matters, Head of Classics at Pymble Ladies College.

The attendance on the evening numbered about 70 guests. Among others this included school teachers of Greek and Latin, Classical Association members, and staff and students of the University of Sydney and other universities with an interest in classical languages. A number of high-school students who learnt of the event through their schools also attended.

Patricia and John Azarias

Patricia and John Azarias

As Professor Peter Wilson noted in his opening remarks, the event was remarkable for having a room full of people to whom it was not necessary to defend or justify the value of teaching Classical Greek and other classical languages. In the first address, Dr Stavros Kyrimis commented warmly on the pleasure he felt at seeing such enthusiasm for the language and culture of his native land. He also mentioned the work his Consul-General’s office is doing to promote the teaching of Greek (ancient and modern) in New South Wales.

The final address was from John and Patricia Azarias, who, with the help of a series of entertaining anecdotes, spoke of their philanthropic work restoring the Lysicrates monument in the Royal Botanic Gardens. They also discussed the sponsorship by their Lysicrates Foundation of a competitive drama festival in the spirit of the Great Dionysia of ancient Athens – the democratically selected winner of which receives the Lysicrates Prize, giving significant funding towards the completion of writing a play.

Emily Matters

Dr Matters delivering her speech

For many the highlight of the evening was a spirit lifting address from Dr Emily Matters, a teacher of over five decades experience teaching Classical Greek in private and public schools. Dr Matters spoke in particular about the extraordinary number of benefits that may be gained by children from learning classical languages, and the current efforts (and challenges) that are underway to increase the teaching of Classical Greek in Australian schools. Anyone who loves classical languages and has ever felt at a loss when confronted with naysayers asking ‘what’s the point of learning Classical Greek (etc)’ should feel well armed to refute such deniers having heard Dr Matters’ presentation, which put forward an inspiring catalogue of advantages. She also spoke about the present state of the teaching of Classical Greek in schools and the next steps that are needed to ensure momentum is not lost. In particular she noted the very urgent need for a new Classical Greek text book aimed at school students, rather than at university undergraduates (as most recent books have been). For any who are interested, please see the full text of Dr Matters’ paper here.

By Billy Kennedy (currently completing a PhD in the Department of Classics and Ancient History on the literary fragments of Antisthenes, and teaching Classical Greek, Greek and Roman History, and Greek and Roman Myth at the University of Sydney)
Photos courtesy of Dr Kathryn Welch.

National Archaeology Week talks in CCANESA

NAW talks

Our speakers for the evening: Lesley Beaumont, Alison Betts, Margaret Miller and Barabara Helwing

CCANESA recently hosted an evening of talks by faculty members in the Department of Archaeology in support of National Archaeology Week (NAW). The event was opened by Helen Nicholson on behalf of the NSW organising committee for NAW and the talks were well attended. It was a great opportunity for students and members of the public to hear about the ongoing research being done by our senior lecturers in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology.

The short lectures ranged on subjects from as far afield as Professor Betts' Kashmir Prehistory Project and Professor Helwing's work at Arisman, Iran on the early copper industry, before travelling west to the world of ancient Greece. Associate Professor Lesley Beaumont updated the audience on the latest excavations at the Geometric period settlement of Zagora on the island of Andros in the Cyclades and Professor Margaret Miller provided new insight into the Throne of the Priest of Dionysos in the theatre at Athens.

CCANESA would like to thank the National Archaeology Week NSW organising committee for including us in their programme again this year and we look forward to continuing our engagement with the archaeology community in years to come. We would like to thank Professor Helwing for taking on the job of organising the event in the first semester of her appointment to the Edwin Cuthbert Hall Chair in Middle Eastern Archaeology with help from Ana Becerra and Bernadette McCall. We are particularly grateful for all the hard work put in by our volunteers on the night - Charlotte Kowalksi, Simone Nehme and Alexandra Seifertova - undergraduate members of the University of Sydney's Archaeology Society.

New collections for CCANESA Library 2015

Christopher Martin Caley Bequest - Update

CCANESA Library is very happy to have completed cataloguing the first installment of books donated by the family of Christopher Martin Caley. This extensive collection covers topics primarily devoted to the archaeology of the eastern Mediterranean and Near Eastern worlds, but also includes important works on the ancient world that are a valuable addition to the holdings at CCANESA.

During his career as a lawyer, Christopher Caley continued to pursue his personal research interests and maintained a small private library of scholarly works that kept pace with current theory and practice. A second shipment of books devoted mainly to the archaeology of Egypt and world archaeology is now in the process of being accessioned and should be on the shelves by early 2016.

CCANESA would like to thank the Caley family for their very generous gift to the Library and we are sure it will prove invaluable to the research community at CCANESA.

We would also like to thank the ongoing work of all of our volunteers who have helped to shelve, catalogue, and organise the collection.

Frank Sear Theatre Archive

CCANESA is pleased to announce the acquisition of several new research collections for the library. In December 2014 we received Emeritus Professor Frank Sear's research archive on ancient theatre. This has greatly expanded the library's existing holdings of works devoted to the study of ancient theatres and theatrical performance.

Professor Sear personally delivered the books to CCANESA when he visited to conduct the 'Roman Study Day' organised by Associate Professor Kathryn Welch from the Department of Classics and Ancient History. The study day was held in CCANESA on December 2 for students preparing to travel to Rome with Kathryn Welch to take part in the Classical Rome Summer School.

The Sear collection has now been catalogued and is available for researchers to use in the CCANESA library.

Christopher Martin Caley Bequest
Christopher Martin Caley at Stonehenge

Christopher Martin Caley at Stonehenge

In 2015 CCANESA received a generous donation of books and periodicals from the family of Christopher Martin Caley. Christopher Caley graduated from the University of Sydney with a BA (Hons) and an LLB and had a long and successful career in Law. Throughout his career he maintained a keen interest in ancient history, archaeology and anthropology that developed following his participation in archaeological excavations in Egypt in the 1980s.

His bequest includes a large collection of recent scholarship on the archaeology of the Near East, the Mediterranean and associated archaeological topics that greatly enhance the subject holdings of the combined CCANESA collections.

The process of accessioning the collection has been undertaken with considerable input from CCANESA volunteers and will be completed soon. Once cataloguing has been completed the material will be available for use in the CCANESA library.

Ptolemaic Sarcophagus Lid on Loan from the Nicholson Museum
The sarcophagus lid on display in the CCANESA Reading Room

The sarcophagus lid on display in the Reading Room

On Wednesday 25 March CCANESA received a very special delivery - a limestone sarcophagus lid on loan from the Nicholson Museum.

The sarcophagus lid was carefully guided through the doors at CCANESA by Nicholson Museum staff and laid out in its new location on the north side of the Reading Room.

The limestone sarcophagus lid (NM01.7) dates to the Ptolemaic period in Egypt and is said to belong to Tasheritmin. The sarcophagus was excavated by Flinders Petrie during the 1899-1900 season at Abydos from a XXXth Dynasty tomb and was donated to the Nicholson Museum in 1901 by the Egypt Exploration Society. The sarcophagus lid has never been published and a translation of the hieroglyphic inscription is currently being sought.

If you would like to know more about the sarcophagus lid of Tasheritmin please find its collection record here.

The sarcophagus lid is on display next to the catalogue computer in the Reading Room and can be viewed during library opening hours.

New collections for CCANESA library 2014

Emeritus Professor Richard Green donated his considerable research library to the Department of Classics and Ancient History, to be housed in the the CCANESA library. The works cover his many specialist research interests and in particular add greatly to CCANESA's holdings on subjects related to Greek and Roman theatre and the study of Ancient Cyprus.

In late 2013 Classics and Ancient History also acquired a collection of works from the bequest of James O'Neil which adds further depth to core subject areas of ancient Greek history, society and ancient authors.

Accession and cataloguing of both collections was carried out in 2013-2014 with the ongoing assistance of CCANESA library volunteers, and are available for use within the library.

Professor John Bodel: The Rediscovery of Rome and the Formation of the American Epigraphic Collection

In conjunction with Sydney Ideas, the Department of Classics and Ancient History co-presented a lecture by Professor John Bodel, Department of Classics, Brown University. The lecture was entitled "The Rediscovery of Rome and the Formation of the American Epigraphic Collection" and was held on Tuesday 10 June in the Law School Foyer, Eastern Avenue, University of Sydney.

Professor John Bodel is the W. Duncan MacMillan Professor of Classics Professor of History Department of Classics, Brown University. He studies ancient Roman social, economic, and cultural history and Latin literature, especially of the empire. Much of his research involves inscriptions, and he has special interests in Roman religion, slavery, funerals and burial customs, ancient writing systems, the editing of Latin epigraphic and literary texts, and Latin prose authors. Since 1995, he has directed the U.S. Epigraphy Project, the purpose of which is to gather information about Greek and Latin inscriptions in the USA.

Additional NESS presentation

On Wednesday May 14, 2014 CCANESA hosted a special one-off NESS presentation by Professor Gil Stein, Director of the Oriental Institute and Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology at the University of Chicago. Professor Stein presented a seminar on his recent research project entitled "The indigenous origins of social complexity in Northern Mesopotamia".

The seminar was well attended by staff and students and highlights the wide range of research interests fostered by the Department of Archaeology and specifically those taught within the ancient Near East.

Special thanks need to be extended to Professor Stein for taking the time out of a very short visit to Sydney to address the students, and to James Fraser and Ana Becerra, both PhD candidates in the Department for organising the seminar at short notice.

2014 Excavations at Paphos Theatre Site, Cyprus

Positions are now being advertised for the 2014 excavation season at the University of Sydney's Paphos Theatre Site in Cyprus.

Applications are currently open for a limited number of student positions (currently enrolled students or postgraduates) or contributing volunteer positions (non-archaeological trained members of the public) for the 2014 field season which will take place between 16 August and 21 September.

For further information on the project and the application process go to the Paphos Theatre website.

Applications close 30 May 2014

Zagora Archaeological Project: Call for volunteers 2014

The Zagora Archaeological Project (ZAP) is a collaborative venture between the Department of Archaeology, the Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens, the Athens Archaeological Society and the Powerhouse Museum. A call for volunteers for the 2014 excavation season on the Geometric settlement site at Zagora (Andros, Greece) has been announced, for the period between 22nd September to 5th November inclusive.

Volunteers may apply for a place for:

(1) the whole six-and-a-half week period,
(2) the three week period between 22nd September and 10th October inclusive, or
(3) the three-and-a-half week period between 13th October to 5th November inclusive.

Further information about the project and a link to the application form for the 2014 excavation season can be found here

Applications closed 2 May 2014

Apollo Visiting Fellowship 2014

Thanks to the generosity of Alumni of the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, the Near Eastern Archaeology Foundation (NEAF) is able to offer the Apollo Visiting Fellowship to enable a young scholar of Near Eastern/ Western Asian or Central Asian Archaeology to come to Sydney to consult with academic experts in their field and to work on their research at the Centre for Classical and Near Eastern Studies of Australia at the University of Sydney for a concentrated period.

For information about the Near Eastern Archaeology Foundation please follow this link

For information about Archaeology at the University of Sydney please follow this link

The scholarship is valued at AUS $4000. The closing date for applications is Monday December 9 2013.

The application form can be downloaded here

Applications have now closed.

A Taste of Paradise: In Celebration of Iranian Cultural Heritage

On Saturday 12 October 2013 the Department of Archaeology and the Council of the Near Eastern Archaeology Foundation (NEAF) in association with the Association of Iranica in Australasia Inc. had the privilege of hosting an event at CCANESA dedicated to celebrating the cultural heritage of Iran.

The opening address to A Taste of Paradise: In Celebration of Iranian Cultural Heritage was given by the Head of SOPHI, Professor Barbara Caine. The event showcased a diverse range of engaging speakers and entertainment, with lectures on literary exchanges between Iran and the West, Sufism, and the archaeology of Iran together with live classical Persian music and afternoon tea with homemade Persian confectionery. The diverse audience included members of NEAF, academics, students and a representation of the Iranian community. The success of this event reveals the privileged reach of NEAF and the Department of Archaeology in engaging with the past and bringing its cultural legacy into the present.

Iran Day Oshagh Ensemble musical performance

The Persian Oshagh Ensemble performing at the Taste of Paradise cultural event held in CCANESA

Persian Music Ensemble
–– Literary exchanges between Iran and the West
by Dr Laetitia Nanquette, The University of New South Wales.
Book Launch: Orientalism Versus Occidentalism.
–– The Visual Heritage Research Project: Iran Narrated by Historical Postcards by Dr Omid Tofighian, The University of Sydney.
–– Was Cyrus an Elamite? The Elamite Heritage of Persia
by Dr Javier Álvarez-Mon, The University of Sydney
–– The University of Sydney Iranian Archaeology PhD Showcase.
–– Book Launch: Sufism in the Secret History of Persia
by Dr Milad Milani, The University of Western Sydney (Launched by Emeritus Professor Garry W. Trompf Chair, History of Ideas, The University of Sydney)

Organised by: The Department of Archaeology and the Council of the Near Eastern Archaeology Foundation (NEAF) at the University of Sydney in association with the Association of Iranica in Australasia Inc.

Twentieth Todd Memorial Lecture
Professor Harriet Flower (Princeton University), Consensus and Community in Republican Rome

18 July, 2013 5pm General Lecture Theatre, Main Quadrangle, University of Sydney

Professor Flower is well known for her work on Republican history, including Ancestor Masks and Aristocratic Power in Roman Culture (Oxford 1996), The Art of Forgetting (Chapel Hill 2006), and Roman Republics (Princeton 2010).

RSVP by 10 July to Elia Mamprin:

Apollo Fellowship 2013

Thanks to the generosity of Alumni of the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, the Department of Classics & Ancient History was able to offer young scholars the opportunity to come to Sydney to undertake research in CCANESA as part of the Apollo Visiting Fellowship. The aim of the fellowship is to allow the recipient to consult with academic experts in their field and to work on their own research. The first Fellowship holder was Dr Emma Park from the University of Warwick, UK.

Two more Apollo fellows were hosted by the Department of Classics and Ancient History in 2013: Dr Hallie Marshall from the Department of Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies, University of British Columbia (August 2013) and Lucy Jackson, PhD candidate from the Faculty of Classics, University of Oxford (September 2013).

Reports by Apollo Fellows 2013

Report by Dr Emma Park, University of Warwick, UK
The Apollo Fellowship which I was lucky enough to be awarded allowed me to spend four weeks in Sydney University in March and April 2013. I was based in an office in CCANESA, which I found was an excellent working environment. I made use of both CCANESA’s library and the Fisher library. I gave two seminars. The first, which I gave at the Classics and Ancient History Seminar, was entitled ‘Plato’s Philosophical Literature: Images of Beauty in the Phaedrus’. The second, which I gave at the SHAPE seminar, was on ‘Modern Aesthetics and Ancient Literature: Lucretius and the Problem of Imaginative Resistance’. The discussion which followed both talks provided me with many stimulating suggestions for the two articles which I was working on during my visit. I am particularly grateful to Professor Rick Benitez, for being my sponsor during my stay, and for all his helpful advice on my work. I am also grateful to Anne Rogerson, Ikuko Sorensen, Ben Brown, Bob Cowan, and many others at CCANESA and the Classics Department for their suggestions and hospitality.

Report by Lucy Jackson, PhD candidate, University of Oxford, UK
I visited the University of Sydney on an Apollo Fellowship in September 2013. The month I spent there enabled me to test out on world experts in the field certain key aspects of my current research into fourth-century BC dramatic choruses. The paper I gave to the department provided a useful linchpin of my visit around which I began and continued a number of enjoyable and fruitful conversations with Peter Wilson, Eric Csapo, Andrew Hartwig, Sebastiana Nervegna, Alastair Blanshard and Frances Muecke. These conversations have since proved critical in shaping the overarching structure of my current research project. The excellent facilities, at CCANESA and on Sydney’s delightfully vibrant campus, allowed me to continue the detailed editing of several thesis chapters while I was there. I had a great deal of fun amidst the community of researchers at CCANESA, discussing matters serious and matters silly. It was a wonderful environment to be part of, if only for a short time, and thoroughly conducive to the most rewarding kind of scholarly research.

Professor David Mattingly, William Ritchie Fellow 2013
Prof. Mattingly delivered his public lecture at CCANESA

Professor Mattingly delivering a public lecture at CCANESA as part of National Archaeology Week in May 2013

In May 2013, Professor David Mattingly, Professor of Archaeology at the University of Leicester and a Fellow of the British Academy, visited Australia as William Ritchie Fellow 2013. Professor Mattingly is an internationally renowned expert on the archaeology of ancient North Africa and has led many excavations and surveys in Libya and Tunisia. He has written several books on the archaeology of ancient North Africa and Roman imperialism and this year, delivered the prestigious Jerome Lectures at the University of Michigan and the American Academy in Rome.

During his visit, Professor Mattingly gave a series of seminars at the Centre for Classical and Near Eastern Studies of Australia (CCANESA), culminating in a public lecture entitled Africa in the Roman Empire: New Perspectives on Old Ruins. The lecture was well attended and also formed part of the program for National Archaeology Week (NSW).

The lecture was co-hosted by the Ancient North African & Phoenician Diaspora Research Network (ANAPD). ANAPD is part of the Department of Classics & Ancient History, a new initiative designed to provide a way of connecting people from the University, Australia wide and around the world with academics, research students and other people interested in the history and archaeology of North Africa and the Phoenician settlements in the Ancient Mediterranean.

For recent Conference Reports please see under 'Events' tab

CCANESA Launch and Woodhouse Photographs
At the launch of CCANESA, with Woodhouse photos in the background, from left to right: Dr John Tidma

CCANESA was formally accorded the status of a University Centre by the Provost on 13 May 2009. It was launched by the Chancellor Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC, CVO on 2 December 2009, with addresses by Mr David Malouf, AC and the Inaugural Director, for the period 2009-2010, Prof. Peter Wilson, the William Ritchie Professor of Classics. The speakers emphasized the collaborative nature of this venture and the wonderful facilities now at the disposal of those who study the ancient Classical and Near Eastern worlds. The official launch saw CCANESA full of keen partners and supporters, including the Greek Consul General Mr Vassileos Tolios, the Dean-elect Prof. Duncan Ivison and Provost-elect Prof. Stephen Garton.

The Centre was kindly given permission by the University’s Nicholson Museum to reproduce three of its collection of over a thousand black and white photographs taken by William John Woodhouse that mostly record his travel in Greece during 1896, 1908, 1921 and 1935. He travelled widely across the country including trips from Aetolia to Corinth, Cyprus to Athens and Boeotia to Corfu. As a photographer, he not only portrayed ancient sites and architecture but also chose to record the everyday life and culture of the people of Greece in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

“I carry in my mind what perhaps no one else in Australia has, a series of pictures of Greece in her different stages of growth covering half a century of her existence.” - W. J. Woodhouse

The pictures have been printed on large canvasses; two of large fallen column drums hang in the entrance/reception area and one of a sweeping view Athens from the Acropolis hangs in the boardroom. These impressive pictures include: On the Acropolis in the 1890s and View of the Acropolis from the Temple of Olympian Zeus. The picture in our Board Room is a panorama of Athens with Mount Lykavettos in the background.

Woodhouse witnessed the transformation of Greece into an industrialised society, something he very much regretted.

“All that was the true spice of travel in Greece is now but a memory. The old mode of travel by pony or mule, on the native samari, or great wooden pack saddle, with its accompanying Agoghiat, whose muttered calculations of what he plotted to make out of you would sometimes be overheard, has quite fallen into disuse; so that when I inquired for mule and man I was greeted with mockery.” - W.J. Woodhouse

This remarkable collection was donated to the Nicholson Museum in 1984 by his daughter, Miss Liska Woodhouse.

30th Anniversary of the University of Sydney’s Excavations at Pella in Jordan. A Commemorative Display of Pottery.

Pella Dig Image 1

Pella is a vast multi-period site which lies in the foot hills of the eastern side of the north Jordan Valley, along the main trade route north-south from Egypt through the Levant to Syria and Anatolia in the north, and eastward along the Tigris and Euphrates into Mesopotamia. Pella is situated at the south-east end of the Jezreel Valley which runs north-west from the Jordan valley to the plain of Akko/Acre on the Mediterranean coast. Thus Pella is placed at the cross-roads of the major north-south and east-west routes of the region, in a position that was central to the movement of goods between different and far-reaching lands.

Pella has been excavated for 30 years, initially by a joint College of Wooster, Ohio, and University of Sydney team, from 1979 to 1985, and thereafter solely by the University of Sydney, led initially by Emeritus Prof. Basil Hennessy and Dr Tony McNicoll, and now by Dr Stephen Bourke, with various co-Directors.

The 30th anniversary commemorative display of pottery at CCANESA includes examples dated from c. 1500 BCE or the Bronze Age, down to c. 550 CE, or the Byzantine period. The Late Bronze Age is represented by three vessels (an amphora and two bowls) from Tomb 62 and Tomb 18. The amphora and one of the platters (from Tomb 62) are particularly fine examples of the beautiful Levantine ceramic, Chocolate-on-White ware.

There are more than 100 tombs at Pella. Tell Husn is a largely natural hill to the south across the Wadi Jirm from the main tell. Tomb 62 (Area XI), on its north-eastern side, is a very rich tomb, excavated in 1984, and dates to the MBA to LBA (1600–1500 BCE). Tomb 62 was by far the largest and best equipped of the 20 MB/LB period tombs excavated at Pella over the years, and one of the largest tombs excavated in the southern Levant. More than 2000 objects were recovered from the tomb, including an assemblage of domestic ceramics of typical Jordanian and Palestinian types, as well as a number of imported Cypriot and Syrian pieces. In addition to pottery, small finds included scarab and cylinder seals, gold jewellery, arrow heads, bone inlay and spindle whorls, calcite flasks, and glass beads.

Representing the Iron Age is a chalice, c. 1050 BCE, one of in excess of 200 objects in total from Tomb 89. Tomb 89 in Area II, was excavated in 1987. It is a single chamber tomb dating to the IA IB/IIA (c.1050–850 BCE) and is situated to the north-east of the main tell, in a modest IA cemetery on the lower north-western slopes of Jebel Abu el-Khas. This area comes into use at the end of the LBA when burials appear to cease on the northern slopes of Tell Husn.

After the end of the 9th C BCE there was a gap in major occupation of the site until the middle Hellenistic period, c.200 BCE. During the later Hellenistic period the main mound was densely populated before the city was destroyed (86 BCE) by the Jewish king, Alexander Jannaeus. The 1st century CE (Early Roman period) once again saw a progressive increase in Pella’s population which continued into the Late Roman era (132–324 CE) from which are displayed a jug and a bowl, c. 300 CE. From the following Byzantine era, 324–640 CE, we have selected a ‘Jerash’ bowl and a casserole dish, c. 550 CE. The display is completed by an early Islamic (Umayyad) pilgrim flask dating just before Pella’s destruction by a massive earthquake in 747/8 CE.

In all,a small sample of the wide ranging influences, styles and chronology of the material from Pella.

Drawing the Past: Illustrations of Ancient Architectural Elements from the AAIA Folios & Rare Books Collection

In the field of archaeology, visual presentation has always been of paramount importance to both scholarly interpretation and public appreciation of finds from excavations. From the folio engravings of the dilettanti, such as James Stuart and Nicholas Revett’s “Antiquities of Athens” in 1762, to the artistic renderings of Knossos, Mycenae and the Athenian Agora by Piet De Jong during his long association from the 1920s with the British and American Schools in Athens, the blurring of the distinction between scientific documentation and art has a long history. This tendency in its turn exerted a strong influence on the European architectural movements of their time. We have selected a range of representative drawings and photographs of architectural elements to illustrate this interplay and these are displayed in our board room in a changing exhibition that will showcase a variety of these images from our collection.

New Project in the History of the Greek Theatre Wins Australian Research Council Support
Classics scholars Dr Sebastiana Nervegna, Prof. Eric Csapo and Prof. Peter Wilson in the CCANESA lib

A team of five academics from the Department of Classics & Ancient History and the Department of Archaeology have secured a large Australian Research Council Discovery Project Grant to study ‘The Theatrical Revolution: The Expansion of Theatre Outside Athens’. Over the course of the next five years, Professor Peter Wilson, Professor Eric Csapo, Emeritus Professor Dick Green, Dr Ted Robinson and Dr Sebastiana Nervegna will investigate the social and economic consequences of the growth of theatre in the first two centuries of its existence (500-300 BC). A combination of factors – a historical focus upon Athens as the hegemonic power in Greece, rigid discipline-boundaries (that place theatre squarely in the domain of literary studies), and the dominance of unidirectional models of cultural transfer – have caused past generations of scholars to take little interest in non-Athenian theatre. They have tended to ignore, or downplay any evidence they could not deny. Theatre appeared an entirely Athenian phenomenon until, late in the fourth century, the ‘integrity’ of the Greek cities was broken by the conquests of Alexander the Great.

A very different conception of Greece is now emerging. The current climate of free trade, the internet, and high levels of personal mobility have made scholarship much more ready to look for and accept evidence for a multicultural, interconnected and networked Mediterranean, where former generations noticed only cultural and economical isolation.

However, recent discoveries and recent studies make it certain that theatre was already widespread beyond Athens in the fifth century BC. By the end of the Classical period (479-323 BC) it had emerged as one of antiquity’s largest industries. Well before the Hellenistic period (323-86 BC) it played a cardinal role in the social and political development of Classical Greece: theatre provided a medium for the dissemination of a panhellenic language (koine Greek) and a unified mythology that formed the basis of Greek national identity. This project will address the clear need to identify, collect, assess and analyse the evidence for theatre’s impact on Greek and Mediterranean society and culture.

This project will be based in the William Ritchie Theatre Office within CCANESA. News of conferences and other events related to the project will be posted here in due course.