UCLA SNF Hellenic Center Presents Lecture Series on Greek Archaeology

September 25, 2021

LOS ANGELES – The UCLA Stavros Niarchos Foundation Center for the Study of Hellenic Culture presents a lecture series on Greek Archaeology with three fascinating upcoming discussions in October via Zoom.

Dr. Anastassios Antonaras will present the lecture Documenting Diversity in Thessaloniki and Its Hinterlands: Three Archaeological Stories on Saturday, October 9, 10 AM Pacific/ 1 PM ET / 8 PM Athens.

This lecture examines the diverse population that lived in Byzantine Thessaloniki and the surrounding area through three case studies: a young girl with African religious beliefs who lived in the late 3rd century, a Slavic lady of the late 8th century, and a group of archers from the 14th-15th century who were trained in the east. The first case study is a young girl who was buried in a simple pit tomb in the eastern necropolis of Thessaloniki. She wore two amulets: a wooden one, probably of ebony, in the shape of a male head with strong African features, and an amber one in the shape of feline bust. A Slavic lady, the second case study, is identified by a special bead that was found during excavations in the castle of Rentina, east of Thessaloniki. Such beads are characteristic of the Slavic tribes and similar examples have been found from the Volga region and Germany to Greece. A special type of men’s utilitarian jewelry, the ring of an archer, presents the third case study. This is a type of ring that initially had the sole purpose of protecting the thumb when the reflective bow’s string was released. These case studies demonstrate that among the population that lived in Byzantine Thessaloniki were a number of foreigners whose identity is only revealed through the careful examination of excavated objects.

Dr. Anastassios C. Antonaras, a specialist in the history of glass, jewelry and textiles, is an archaeologist and curator. He is Head of the Exhibitions, Communication and Education Department at the Museum of Byzantine Culture in Thessaloniki.

Register online: https://bit.ly/39GPpnL.

Vassilis Lambrinoudakis, Professor Emeritus of the University of Athens, presents The Sanctuary of Asclepius at Epidauros, on Saturday, October 16, 10 AM Pacific/ 1 PM ET / 8 PM Athens.

The unexpected finds during recent excavations in the sanctuary of Asclepius at Epidauros shed new light on the origins, cult, and function of Asclepius, the main Divine Healer of the Graeco-Roman world. An amazing ground-floor building that features α peristyle and basement hewn into the rock was excavated at the Tholos, the famous classical circular building with underground, meander-like passages. It defines the highly debated and mysterious function of the Tholos as the cult place of chthonic Asclepius, and explains his presence in Epidauros in the 7th century BC. A small portico, found under the later Abaton, preceded the latter as a primitive dormitory hall. It provides evidence for healing through incubation already in early archaic times. An ash altar and accommodations for ritual meals around it explains the parallel magic cure through the consumption of sacred food from the very beginning of the cult. The new finds enrich our knowledge of the sanctuary’s history and general healthcare in antiquity.

Her Excellency Alexandra Papadopoulou, Ambassador of Greece to the United States, will provide introductory remarks.

Register online: https://bit.ly/3lT7Qvu.

Stavros Vlizos, Ionian University Associate Professor, and Vicky Vlachou, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, present New Evidence on a Spartan Religious Center: The Sanctuary of Apollo Amyklaios at Sparta and the Current Research Project on Saturday, October 23, 10 AM Pacific/ 1 PM ET / 8 PM Athens.

The Sanctuary of Apollon at Amyklai (Sparta) was inextricably associated in antiquity with the celebrated festival of the Hyakinthia. Ancient literary sources describe salient aspects of the festival and the cult that was centered around the tomb of the hero Hyakinthos and the altar of Apollo in two succeeding stages that never overlapped each other. Material evidence from the sanctuary area demonstrates the early beginnings of the cult and ritual, already since the mid-10th century BC. By the late 8th to early 7th century BC, the formal delimitation of the sanctuary area, the quantity and quality of the material deposits support the importance of the sanctuary and its festival within the formal institutions of the Spartan polis. It can be argued that the importance of the sanctuary may be related with the seniority of the shrine and the continuity of the ritual activities in this area over the centuries. The lecture shall focus on shifts in use and function of material culture that are parallel to transformations and changes of the social, political, and religious landscape of Sparta. Furthermore, the connection of the cult site to neighboring areas in proximity, further away, and parallel trajectory to the rest of the Spartan sanctuaries shall be discussed.

After completing his studies at the University of Ioannina and the Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich (Dr.Phil.), Stavros Vlizos first worked as a contract archaeologist at the Ministry of Culture (1997-2001) and then as a researcher and scientific associate at the Benaki Museum (2002-2013).

Vicky Vlachou studied History, Archaeology and History of Art at the University of Athens. She is currently a scientific member (Belgian) at the École française d’Athènes (EfA, membre). She is a scholar of the Early Iron Age Aegean (ca. 1000-600 BC).

The event is co-sponsored by the UCLA SNF Hellenic Center, UCLA Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, Archaeological Institute of America–Los Angeles County Society, and Pan-Laconian Federation of United States and Canada.

Register online: https://bit.ly/3o5HTvs.


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