Friday, January 19, 2018

A Tale of Two Cities: The Excavations at Zeugma on the Euphrates

With Memories of our April CAS excursion to the remarkable site of Gobekli Tepe still fresh, January promises a new adventure into Turkey when Dr. Jennifer Tobin takes us on a time adventure into the classic world of Zeugma on the Euphrates.

Around 300 BCE Seleucids (Dynasties founded by Alexander’s generals) I founded the twin cities of Seleucia and Apamea, each on opposite sides of the Euphrates River. The bridge that united them, the only permanent crossing of the Euphrates be-tween the Taurus Mountains and Babylonia, became so important that the two cities eventually became known as Zeugma, or “Bridgetown.”

Zeugma became one of the more significant urban centers of the Seleucid Empire, and when it became part of the Roman province of Syria early in the 1st century CE it hosted one of the Syrian legions, Legio IIII Scythica. The influx of soldiers and civilians swelled the population of the two cities, causing a building boom of houses and shops. In the mid-third century this thriving community was sacked by a Sasanid (Persian Dynasty) invasion led by Shapur I, and nearly every quarter of Zeugma was destroyed by fire.

Late in the 20th century, in or-der to improve the socio-economic climate of the Gaziantep region of Tur-key, the Birecik Dam was constructed over the Euphrates River, just down-stream from Zeugma.

The resulting artificial lake completely flooded Apamea, while approximately 30% of Seleucia was inundated. As the flood waters rose over Seleucia emergency excavations were organized.

Funded by the Packard Humanities Institute, a multinational team raced against time to uncover the buried city. The excavations yielded evidence for public life in the city, including several baths, a temple and a possible hall of records, but more spectacular were the results from the domestic quarters, which uncovered a number of houses, many sumptuously decorated with fine mosaics and elaborate wall paintings. This lecture will present an over-view of the Zeugma excavations, concentrating on the remains from the private sector of the settlement.

Jennifer Tobin: Brief Biography

Jennifer Tobin graduated from Stan-ford University with two BA’s, in Classical Studies and English Literature, and took her PhD in Classical Archaeology from the University of Pennsylvania. She was a visiting Assistant Professor at Bilkent University, in Ankara, Turkey, and at Arizona State University, and since 2005 has been an Associate Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Dr. Tobin has participated in excavations in Cyprus, Greece, Jordan and Turkey and has led archaeological tours for such companies as Far Horizons, Peter Sommers, Roads Scholars and Smithsonian.

She has authored two books, Black Cilicia: A Study of the Plain of Issus during the Roman and Late Roman Periods (Oxford, BAR International Series 1275, 2004) and Herodes Attikos and the City of Athens: Patronage and Conflict under the Antonines, (Amsterdam: JC Gieben, 1997) and is completing a book on the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. She has also recorded a series of lectures on the ancient world with Recorded Books.

Zeugma Mosaic Museum

Zeugma Mosaic Museum, in the town of Gaziantep, Turkey, is the biggest mosaic museum in the world. The museum's mosaics are focused on Zeugma, thought to have been founded by a general in Alexander the Great’s army. The treasures, including the mosaics, remained relatively unknown until 2000 when artifacts appeared in museums and when plans for new dams on the Euphrates meant that much of Zeugma would be forever flooded. A large number of the mosaics remain covered and teams of researchers continue to work on the project.

The 90,000-square-foot museum features a 7,500-square-foot exhibition hall and replaces the Bardo National Museum in Tunis as the world’s largest mosaic museum.

Members Night

Happy New Year!
Farewell 2017 and an unexpected program change

O ur December 3rd an-nual holiday cele-bration was an un-qualified smash. The complimentary fusion Pe-ruvian/American dinner ca-tered by Edith Young was en-thusiastically received by the dinner guests. The collective joy that filled the room attests to the CAS sense of fellowship.
Unexpectedly we received shat-tering news that because of health issues our guest speaker was unable to attend our Holi-day Luncheon. An otherwise major problem—but not for the CAS. President Ray Young’s so-lution was “The Moche—Drugs, Sex, Music, and Puppies!” Ray selected, introduced and chaired Q & A to a Video lecture presented by Professor Edwin Barnhart, Director of the Maya Exploration Center.

Discovery of the spectacular tomb of the Lords of Sipan has unleashed many new ideas about the Moche which in turn has elicited contending areas of controversy. Some of these contentions were brought to the attention of the CAS audience.

Members Night Election

Traditionally and as established by the CAS constitution Mem-bers night belongs to members. As such annual elections have an opportunity to throw the rascals out! Published at the end of this article is a slate of nominees. President Young will open the meeting to the floor for addi-tional nominations.
A tentative slate is published for the record.

What’s new?

Members Night is your chance to share an event. Have you been traveling? Perhaps a book or magazine article has made an impression. The CAS is anxious to hear from you. Talk to a CAS officer— help is yours for the asking but we want to hear from you.

CAS Nominations: Officers and Board 2018

President Raymond Young 2018
Lucy Kennedy 2018
Editor Robert Stelton 2018
Treasurer Michael Ruggeri 2018
Director Judith Greene 2020
Director Peter Greene 2020 Director Jeanne Jesernik 2020
Director Jacqueline Leipold 2020
Director Doreen Stelton 2020

the palimpsest

Bibliophiles received an early holiday gift, December 17, 2017 when Egypt reopened the ancient St. Catherine’s monastery library which holds around 3,300 manuscripts of mainly Christian texts in Greek, Arabic, Syriac, Georgian and Slavonic among other languages.

During the library’s renovation archaeologists may have found some of Hippocrates’ medical recipes.
According to the Librarian the most valuable manuscript is the Codex Sinaiticus which dates back to the fourth century.

The monastery complex, Located in the heart of some of Planet Earth’s cruelest geography, must as well contend with loathsome inhuman renegades.

Thanks to Jesse Carroll for alerting the Codex with this bit of good news.

Bob Stelton

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

It’s Party Time

The CAS Annual Holiday Luncheon Features Gala Changes

C AS members can look forward to several pleasant changes and a few surprise when they gather at 2:00 pm for the Annual Holiday Luncheon, December 3rd, at the Evanston Public Library,1703 Orrington Av.

First and foremost the luncheon is free, a holiday gift from the CAS for paid members in good standing who reserve a chair at the groaning board!

(Elsewhere in the Codex is the requisite reservation form for the luncheon). Because the luncheon is free and because it will be catered, it is important to have a reservation count.

There will be a very special prize gift drawing of an eth-no/art treasure from the Doris Neilson legacy. Doris, a retired teacher and world traveler, created a small personal museum ln her Michigan home that was closed when she moved from Michigan to the east coast. Doris (made personal gifts of the museum contents to Michigan State University and to the Chicago Archaeological Society. Many of her Michigan State gifts are presently on display at Michigan State and a lucky December reveler will win an item from the legacy. A similar legacy was bequeathed by CAS President Frank Underbrink.

 Whether it’s the Maya of Central America or the Moche (or the Incas!) of Peru across the vast expanse of the New World the precious heritage of the past is threatened with damage and destruction.

Much of the threat has been threatened by the nature of time e.g. El NiƱo, but much of the destruction has transpired by the hand of humans.

Grim Rituals of the Moche

Recent excavations at the Peruvian Pyramid of the Moon and the urban area between the two platforms have exposed Moche specialists
with new information about ritual and everyday lives of the Moche.

Until now understanding was drawn from gruesome artwork, primarily depicted on ceramics. Vessels in the form of molded figures
and intricate fine-line painting show warrior-priests bedecked in imposing ornate garb orchestrating ritual warfare; slitting captives'
throats, drinking their blood.

In the absence of archaeological evidence, most scholars accepted many of the scenes found on late Moche ceramics too horrific to take literally, often suggesting they were simply artistic hyperbole, imagery the priestly class used to underscore its coercive power.

Now, however, ongoing archaeological exploration has revealed the truth that Moche art was representative of the ancient Moche life it so horribly displayed!

Please mark your calendar to save December 3rd to learn more about the Moche and remember your holiday luncheon admission and reservation is free but you are requested to return your reservation form.

Touring Athen’s Agora with Laura Gawlinski

Regular tourists in Athens, Greece, usually see the changing of the Guard, the Acropolis and Acropolis Museum. Perhaps they tour the National Museum and they may have taken a day trip to Delphi and a few may have made a quick trip through the Agora on a "free day."
The Stoa of Athen is one of thelargest roofed Greek buildingsof Greek antiquity.

After hearing our speaker bring life to the bustling ancient Agora, a visitor will want to return to visit the Stoa, the very complete Temple of Hephaestus and other evidences
of the busy activities that occurred

Pieces of shards were used to
vote to ostracize politicians
and other trouble makers. Voting
machines and ballot counters shown were amazingly clever instruments of a budding democracy. Learning about trials with thousands on a jury might make you contemplate such trials today.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Exploring the Athenian Agora

The Parthenon, rising above the Agora, is arguably the iconic signature of ancient Athens. Its magnetic power and prestige out-draws the Agora as a tourist attraction. Within the sacred precincts of the Acropolis is the heartbeat of rising democracy.

Although less visually eye-catching the Agora does feature the Temple of Hephaestus. The Temple of Hephaestus is the best preserved ancient temple in Greece. It was dedicated to Hephaestus, the ancient god of fire and Athena, goddess of pottery and crafts.

The CAS Speaker for October, Dr. Laura Gawlinski, Associate Professor of Classical Studies and Department Chair at Loyola University Chicago. Her research and teaching covers Greek religion and sacred space, classical archaeology, and Greek inscriptions.

Dr. Gawlinski’s long-time association with the excavations of the Athenian Agora, on-going are the basis of her presentation. She recalls that "At Randolph–Macon, I was given the opportunity to excavate in Athens at the Agora; I am continuing to work at the site and have recently published an updated guide to its museum.”

The Athenian Agora 

The evolution of the Athenian Ag-ora of Athens was a natural complement of the growth of the emerging Greek democracy.

Across the globe urban areas like the Zocalo of Mexico City are the civic centers—large open squares where citizens can assemble for a wide variety of purposes depending on group or individual needs.

On any given day the space might be used as a market, or for an election, a dramatic performance, a religious procession, military drill, or athletic competition. Here administrative, political, judicial, commercial, social, cultural, and religious activities all found a place together in the heart of Athens, and the square was surrounded by the public buildings necessary to run the Athenian government.
These buildings, along with monuments and small objects, illustrate the important role it played in all aspects of public life. The council chamber, magistrates’ offices, mint, and archives have all been uncovered, while the law courts are represented by the recovery of bronze ballots and a water-clock used to time speeches. The use of the area as a marketplace is indicated by the numerous shops where artisans sold their wares and philosophers traded and debated ideas.

Spaces space might be used as a market, or for an election, a dramatic performance, a religious procession, military drill, or athletic competition. Here administrative, political, judicial, commercial, social, cultural, and religious activities all found a place together in the center of the city much the way heart of and the square was surrounded by the public buildings necessary to run the Athenian government. All of the above is famously documented in the Field Museum Aztec market diorama.
The field archaeology of Dr. Laura Gawlinski, and others is returning the Athenian Agora to our historical understanding.

Archaeology and history provide glimpses of our cultural past. Remember
that all meetings of the CAS are free and open to the public.

See you at 3:00 pm at the regular
meeting of the Chicago Archaeological
Society at the Evanston
Public Library, 1703 Orrington Avenue.

The palimpsest by Deb Stelton

Dues, Holidays & more 

It’s that time of the year—dues are due! It’s been years since our last increase, but there are ominous rumbling emanating from Washington that sound like a hefty postage increase. Upon opening a meeting PresidentRay Young regularly reminds us that dues are the lifeblood of our organization. So they are!

The CAS provides its members with memorable hours at bargain prices. Consider for a moment the fantastic journeys over time and space that CAS armchair travel has brought to you over the months and
years. For your convenience a re-enrollment/holiday reservation combo form is on this page.

Holiday Luncheon

You will notice that our holiday luncheon is free. Nonmembers
are urged to make a modest donation or to become a member. Holiday participants
must make reservations. Voluntary dessert contributions will be received.

There were a few croppers attendant to the September meeting. Apologies will be extended to our guest speaker. The change of the meeting date from the last Sunday of the month was, perhaps, a leading contributor or perhaps fate added a scripted Marx Brothers page!

Ancient Maritime Trade : East & Southeast Asia

The CAS September guest speaker, Dr. Lisa Miziolek, presented a rare insight into the collection of artifacts leading to a recreation of the human story.

A report on her work and presentation will be featured
in the December 2017 Codex.