CFP: Movement in Ancient Economies: Archaeological Approaches to Distribution

Seen on Aegeanet

Movement in Ancient Economies: Archaeological Approaches to Distribution
With Keynote Speaker Gil Stein

An Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference
Sponsored by the University of Michigan Collaborative Archaeology Workgroup

Date: February 15-16, 2013
Where: University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, MI

Studies of the economy are often divided into three segments:
production, consumption, and
distribution. Of these, distribution is of vital importance for
understanding the social interactions,
economic organization, and political strategies which condition how
and why materials move.
Distribution has at times been discussed monolithically, with
political systems or cultural zones
classified as redistributive or market societies. New models for
detecting and interpreting
distribution in the past have stressed economic diversity and the
coexistence of different
distribution systems for different materials. This conference will
bring together graduate students
and faculty to present some of these new perspectives on distribution
and its role in
understanding economic, political, and social dynamics in the past.

We are calling for papers of 20 minutes in length that deal with the
importance of
distribution to material studies of the past. We hope to receive
papers that address the
following questions with specific case studies: How do we detect
distribution in the material
record? How do distribution systems articulate with existing/emerging
social and political
systems? How do distribution systems change? How variable are
different kinds of economies
(such as market or redistributive)? What is the impact of regional
identity on distribution
networks that cross multiple regions? How can we track intra-site
movement of materials, and
what can these movements tell us about economic, political, and social

Participants are asked to submit a paper copy (10-12 double-spaced
pages) of their presentation
ten days before the conference to allow panel discussants to prepare
comments (February 5).

Abstracts of no longer than 200 words should be submitted by January 5, 2013.

Please submit abstracts and direct questions to CAW-2012 AT

Although travel stipends will not be available for this conference,
accommodations (with
Michigan archaeology graduate students) for Friday and/or Saturday
night(s) will be arranged
upon request. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be provided on the day
of the conference.

The Collaborative Archaeology Workgroup (CAW) is a group of graduate
students from several
departments at the University of Michigan (including Anthropology and
Classical Art and
Archaeology) who share an interest in archaeological research, theory,
and methods. We are
dedicated to promoting interdisciplinary research and facilitating the
exchange of information
among all students interested in studying the past through
archaeological techniques.

The conference is co-sponsored by the Rackham Graduate School,
International Institute,
Museum of Anthropology, Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, and
Interdepartmental Program in
Classical Art and Archaeology.

CFP: Identity and Representation in Antiquity

King’s College London Classics Postgraduate Conference:

Identity and Representation in Antiquity

14 June 2013, London

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Irene Polinskaya (KCL)

Abstract Submission Deadline: 28 March 2013

The Classics Department of King’s College London is delighted to announce the second Postgraduate Conference on Identity and Representation in Antiquity. The conference will take place on Friday 14 June, 2013 at Strand campus, KCL.

Graduate students at all levels of study are invited to present working research on identity or representation within the classical or the late antique world. This might involve a variety of different conceptualizations of identity and representation–including, but not restricted to, personal, imperial, social, collective, or religious. The organisers are happy to receive abstracts on relevant topics from reception studies.

The following head topics from the last conference may be developed further, while new topics are also welcome:

1. Epigraphic and Literary Representations in the Ancient World

2. Aspects of Greek Civic and Religious Identity

3. Syncretisms and Projections of Identity and Culture from the Hellenistic period to the Imperial Age

4. Augustus as Restorer and Preserver of Roman Religion: Topography, Numismatics, and Poetry

5. Religious Identity and Secular Power in Late Antiquity

By gathering together postgraduates at all stages of research and across a wide purview of historical context, the organisers hope to stimulate productive dialogue and to gain for all participants a more nuanced perspective on the importance of identity and representation in the ancient world.

An email regarding registration will be sent out with a program at a later date.

Presentations are limited to twenty minutes in length. Abstracts of about 250 words should be submitted by e-mail: kclclassics AT

Members of the Organising Committee: Thomas Coward, Yukiko Kawamoto, Sangduk Lee, Aikaterini-Iliana Rassia

CJ Online Review: Galinsky, Augustus

posted with permission:

Augustus: Introduction to the Life of an Emperor. By Karl Galinsky. New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Pp. xxiv + 221. 22 black-and-white illustrations; 3 maps. Hardcover, $90.00/£55.00. ISBN 978-0-521-76797-2. Paper, $27.99/£17.99. ISBN 978-0-521-74442-3.

Reviewed by Alden Smith, Baylor University

Karl Galinsky’s handsomely produced new biographical study of Augustus lives up to its subtitle very well. This book, which consists of eight chapters, offers the reader a complete introduction to the topic, rich with explanation of sources, and contains useful maps, a genealogical chart and a chronological synopsis. These are followed by Galinsky’s exposition of and commentary on important sources for the life of Rome’s first emperor, including evidence from material culture such as coins, inscriptions and papyri (e.g., 116).

The book largely follows Augustus’ life chronologically, beginning with his earliest days and carrying on through his death (ch. 8). Welcome details of the emperor’s private life, such as his marriages (40–1) and his personality/character (37–9) are not neglected. Galinsky’s approach is balanced. For example, he discusses Octavian’s shortcomings and mistakes, such as his handling of Perusia (43). Galinsky also cites Martial 11.20, which poem purports to contain verses of Augustus written against Fulvia (Antony’s wife); as the “author” of those lines Octavian does not come off very well. Galinsky also does a good job of presenting Octavian from Antony’s point of view (sc. as “a lowborn coward, Caesar’s boy toy,” 47) and thus reveals insights about how Octavian’s enemies regarded him.

The major events of Octavian/Augustus’ reign are, of course, not neglected. Galinsky’s presentation of Actium is excellent, with a useful map on p. 54. Further, the description of the principate as an experiment (ch. 3), too, is apt, as Galinsky demonstrates clearly that there was (certainly by the time Octavian has taken the name “Augustus”) no way back to the notion of the res publica as it had been constituted hitherto. His discussion, too, of the cast of characters around the emperor—Livia, Agrippa, Tiberius, Julia, Maecenas, Virgil, Horace, et al.—is first rate and helps the reader to understand the first emperor in the context of his own times.

Lest this review should be unqualifiedly positive, one or two quasi-distracting peculiarities of the book might be mentioned. First, the preface seems to me to be oddly placed, coming, as it does, only after Galinsky’s discussion of the sources. Was this idea that of the series editor? Secondly, in that preface, Galinsky speaks of a “welcome emphasis in this series to illustrate how we know what we know; hence the incorporation of a good number of ‘boxes’.” While I affirm Galinsky’s desire to explain “how” and not simply “what,” the idea of “boxes” seems to me a bit distracting. Although I am possibly just old-fashioned and too enamored of Grafton’s The Footnote: A Curious History, I am not fully convinced that the peculiarity of boxes enhances the volume’s otherwise excellent presentation of the material. This is especially noticeable when the boxes are oddly spaced (for example when two occur in immediate succession, as on pp. 23–4). Perhaps the series editor has adopted this new approach for a generation of viewers accustomed to links (a term that once better befit evolutionary species, chains or sausages)? De gustibus non …; but I prefer sausages and footnotes.

Quibbles aside, this is an excellent book, packed with information. Galinsky has done it again, offering a superbly useful volume for a new generation of readers hungering for knowledge about the Augustan milieu and the life of Augustus. This book offers both of those features, for it is much more than a biography. As he had in Augustan Culture, Galinsky interprets the context of the Augustan experience, adding fresh information about that period that is not found in the larger volume. Thus this book will be useful not only to those who are studying the emperor but also to those who are considering the wider context, i.e. those studying Augustan poetry or other aspects of that period. For teachers of Roman Civilization or seminars on the Augustan experience, this book is a sine qua non and could be ordered as a textbook, as it is seems to me the finest concise overview of Rome’s first emperor. I recommend it highly.

‘Gladiator Tomb’ to be Reburied?

Rosella Lorenzi over at Discovery News is on it … here’s the incipit:

The tomb of the ancient Roman hero believed to have inspired the Russell Crowe blockbuster “Gladiator,” might be returned to oblivion four years after its discovery in Rome.

A lack of fundings is forcing Italian archaeologists to bury again the large marble monument of Marcus Nonius Macrinus, a general and consul who achieved major victories in military campaigns for Antoninus Pius, the Roman emperor from 138 to 161 A.D., and Marcus Aurelius, emperor from 161 to 180 A.D.

Unearthed in 2008 on the banks of the Tiber near the via Flaminia, north of Rome, the tomb, complete with the dedicatory inscription, was hailed as “the most important ancient Roman monument to come to light for 20 or 30 years.”

Although the tomb collapsed in antiquity because of floods, its marble columns, carvings and friezes remained perfectly preserved, sealed by the Tiber’s mud.

Rome’s officials had planned to fully reconstruct the monumental tomb as the centerpiece of a new archaeological park, but the project failed due to a tight budget and a lack of private sponsors.
“It is a painful choice, but we cannot risk losing the monument. The marbles can’t face another winter, we must bury the site in order to preserve it,” Mariarosaria Barbera, Rome’s archaeological superintendent, told the daily La Repubblica. […]

Here’s our previous coverage:

Cat Colony in Rome Saved!

Tip o’ the pileus to Walter Muzzy for this update from AFP via Straits Times:

Stray cats prowling the ruins of ancient Rome can rest easy on their marble pedestals – a feline colony tucked away near the spot where Julius Caesar was murdered is no longer threatened with closure.

“These cats are not up for debate, they are part of the history of Rome,” mayor Gianni Alemanno said on a visit on Tuesday to the refuge, which currently looks after around 250 cats, providing them with food and vaccinations.

“This is a praiseworthy, historical, wonderful enterprise. The feline colony must not be hounded out. Woe to those who lay a finger on the cats,” he said.

City heritage officials have been threatening to close down the sanctuary, which sits in an tiny, cave-like structure at one end of the ancient site where Marcus Brutus and his fellow mutineers stabbed Caesar to death.

In case you missed the whole brouhaha: Cats in the Largo Argentina ~ Two Sides

First Tartan? I Hae Me Doots

Hype for a documentary airing on BBC this Friday:

Remnants of a Roman statue in North Africa could be the “first-ever depiction of tartan”, according to a BBC Scotland documentary.

A piece of a bronze statue of the Emperor Caracalla contains the small figure of a Caledonian warrior wearing what appears to be tartan trews.

The third century Roman emperor Caracalla styled himself as the conqueror of the Caledonians.

A statue marking his achievements stood in the Moroccan city of Volubilis.

It stood above a great archway in the ancient city, which lay in the south west of the Roman empire, 1,500 miles from Caledonia – modern day Scotland.

A small piece of cloak from the monument still survives at the archaeological museum in Rabat in Morocco.

“It includes an early depiction of that great national stereotype – the long-haired Caledonian warrior,” says Dr Fraser Hunter, who presents the BBC Scotland programme.

The warrior is wearing checked leggings which, according to Dr Hunter, is “the first-ever depiction of tartan”.

It is thought the Celts have been weaving plaid twills for thousands of years and this is the earliest representation.

Dr Hunter adds: “The shield too is Celtic in style. You can see the warrior’s head with the cloak over the shoulders. The arms are bound behind the back.

“This guy is a captive. He’s a prisoner from the vicious campaigns of Severus and Caracalla.”

Septimius Severus, Caracalla’s father, led massive military campaigns into 3rd century Scotland.

The mighty Roman legions had conquered all before them but they stuttered to a halt when they took on the tribes of Iron Age Scotland.

Caracalla carried on his father’s fight, waging a brutal campaign.

Dr Hunter says prisoners could have been force-marched for months to other parts of the empire.

“They were living trophies of the emperor’s success. Some might have been traded as slaves in the great markets. Others would have been even less fortunate.”

Dr Hunter points to a mosaic from Tunisia which shows how one unfortunate Caledonian met his end.

“Captured, marched for months to this desert province, sent to the amphitheatre and killed by wild animals as exotic entertainment for the locals,” says Dr Hunter.

The expert says we have long had a curious “rather cuddly” relationship with the Romans.

“In the western world we often see ourselves as inheritors of Roman values and Roman culture,” he says.

“But this evidence from North Africa reminds us that the Romans were invaders and colonisers.

“Their strategies encompassed everything up to and including genocide.

“For the local tribes the Roman arrival in what we call Scotland must have been absolutely terrifying.”

The report includes a short excerpt from the doc and a quick view of the bits that supposedly show the tartan. I spent some time looking for a photo, but came up empty and for the life of me, I can’t see ‘tartan’ in what is in that photo. Whatever the case, amicus noster Adrian Murdoch expresses doubts over at Bread and Circuses rather more clearly than I could:

Classical Words of the Day