Monday, January 23, 2017

January Meeting Location Change

Date: Sunday, January 29, 2017 Members’ Night.
Place: Ceviche Peruvian Seafood & Steakhouse
2554 W Diversey Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Time: 3:00 p.m. Social Hour: Refreshments and Fellowship .
3:15 p.m. Members Presentations and Election of Board and Officers.
Program: 3:30 Dr. Tasha K. Vorderstrasse, University of Chicago: Excavations at Abroyi, Armenia.

Exploring Armenia’s Hidden Past

Armenia is a small and mountainous country of peaks and high plateaus cut by river valleys. It was the first to embrace Christianity as a state religion.

Powerful old stone churches are silhouetted on the hilltops and tucked into the valleys at-testing to Armenian fortitude. Tragedy and triumph have become dual themes that are indelibly woven into the fabric of its history.
In 2013 and 2014, the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago conducted excavations at the medieval village of Ambroyi in the Republic of Armenia. This excavation represent-ed an innovation in the study of medieval archaeology of Ar-menia, which had primarily focused on large urban centers.

The excavations revealed that village life continued in Armenia despite the Mongol conquest of the region in the 13th century and provides valuable information about vil-lage life that can be compared to villages that have been excavated in the wider region. This talk will discuss the vil-lage of Ambroyi and its significance to our understanding of Armenian archaeology of the medieval period.

Dr. Tasha K. Vorderstrasse received her PhD in Near Eastern Archaeology from the University of Chicago 2004. Her work concentrates on the material culture of the Near East, the Caucasus, and Central Asia and the interactions between these regions and China.

Most Americans have check-ered understanding of Armenia or Armenians. The history, at best is inscrutable. Ef-forts to grasp historical meaning of the Transcaucasus al-low for few exceptions. Transcaucasia roughly corresponds to modern Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.

In 1915, leaders of the Turkish government set in motion a plan to expel and massacre Ar-menians living in the Ottoman Empire. Though reports vary, most sources agree that there were about 2 million Armeni-ans in the Ottoman Empire at the time of the massacre.

By the early 1920s, when the massacres and deportations finally ended, some 1.5 million of Turkey’s Armenians were dead, with many more forcibly removed from the country. To-day, most historians call this event a genocide–a premeditated and systematic campaign to exterminate an entire people.

However, the Turkish government does not acknowledge the enormity or scope of these events. Despite pressure from Armenians and social justice advocates throughout the world, it is still illegal in Turkey to talk about what happened to Armenians during this era.

Members’ Night

The regular January meeting of the CAS traditionally has been designated as Members’ Night. Originally members had an opportunity to share their archaeological/travel experiences with the membership at large. Members’ Night targeted active participation along with the annual election of officers and election of 1/3 of the board of directors.

Gradually, over past years, presentations by members of personal experiences declined in favor of presentations by guest speakers, like Dr. Tasha K. Vorderstrasse, the January 2017 speaker.

Annual Election

Many sister chapters, especially in rural areas, where members have direct contact with local ongoing digs, reflect membership roles that include active lay archaeologists. By contrast CAS mem-bers regard Field and/or Oriental Institute as their closest contact with professional archaeologists. These differences help to explain and to define the cosmopolitan context of the CAS calendar.

The Board of Directors unanimously nominated current officers and board members for reelection at the October Meeting. The 2017 ballot is printed on page 3. However members are reminded and urged to nominate candidates from the floor.

The Palimpsest

Winter Woes
To our chagrin, disappointment and embarrassment December’s severe weather necessitated a sud-den cancellation of the December Holiday Luncheon and regular meeting. An effort was made to contact members, guests, and our speaker and was largely success-ful. A substitute date will be de-termined at our February Board Meeting. Unofficially the inten-tion of the board is to plan a new date. Deposits received will be applied to to the rescheduled event. However requests for re-funds will be honored.

An Archaeological Paradox
The paradoxical aspect of archaeology continue to confound my consciousness. Avid attention to archaeological journals and the internet are constant reminders of how current discoveries cast light upon a past previously unknown.

A business man, Heinrich Schliemann, acquired a fortune to in-dulge a romantic fantasy, to dis-cover Homer’s Troy. Schliemann’s experience was unique but not singular.
Much of our understanding of the ancient world remains hidden or lost.

To what extent is Western De-mocracy indebted to the Minoans or the Mycenaeans? Archaeolo-gists Jack Davis and Sharon Stocker excavating a site near the ancient Palace of Nestor, on a hilltop near Pylos on the south-west coast of Greece.

The very first organized Greek society belonged to the Mycenae-ans whose kingdoms exploded out of nowhere on the Greek mainland around 1600 B.C.E.

The Bronze Age palace, built by the Mycenaeans, had been previ-ously excavated, and hopes for additional understanding were low. But the Davis and Stocker dig discovered a rich warrior grave now dubbed The Grave of the Golden Warrior which would alter understanding of the Myce-naean role in the evolution Greek democracy.

A detailed account of the discov-ery, The Golden Warrior, A 3,500 Year-Old Tomb Exposes the Roots of Western Civilization, was pub-lished in Smithsonian, January-February, 2017.

The discovery has raised a few question. At the time of the inter-ment the tholos-tomb was the pre-ferred burial of the upper class.

And the Future

Search Engines can locate ongo-ing archaeological activity for the archaeological-bit-trekker. Try this link: . The link will lead you to a 5 point list of discoveries for 2017.

The list of 5 is somewhat disap-pointing insofar as it includes no surprises.

1. Is predicated on cessation of hostilities in Iraq and anticipation of returning the depredations of ISIS to order. 2. Suggestions that there is a Great Pyramid hidden chamber. 3. Anticipates addition-al Dead Sea Scroll discoveries. 4. Suggests that ongoing exploration of the necropolis of Abydos, Egypt will expand its importance. 5. The opening of the Bible Mu-seum may be worth watching. When this museum, with its vast collection, is open to the public in 2017, much will be revealed. Al-so, as scholars analyze the collection, many new discoveries will be made and some of the artifacts will turn out to be modern-day forgeries.