Final lecture explores the tomb of Maya queen K’abel on April 6

Please join us for the final lecture of our 2016-2017 lecture series. On Thursday, April 6 at 7:00pm in the Folk Hall Auditorium at the University of Akron, Dr. Olivia Navarro-Farr of The College of Wooster will present a talk entitled “Statecraft and Sorcery: Lady K’abel; Princess of Kan and Queen of Wak’”.


The Ancient Maya Rulers of the Classic Period (~AD 200-800) are well-known for having documented the triumphs and downfalls of their dynastic histories, yielding the only truly “Classical” record of the ancient American Pre-European world. In known sites across the Maya area today, this record has often served as a guide for archaeologists seeking to reconstruct clearer details of these ancient cities, reconciling this fragmentary history with high resolution archaeological data. Yet while this record serves as such a rich source of historical information (a medium privileged in Western scholarship) it is nevertheless biased towards male dynasts. This bias understandably forces our focus to the greatness of ancient Maya male rulers. Yet critical scholarship from more current theoretical influences also begs reconsideration of the evidence such bias may unwittingly compel us to overlook/underestimate.  Research at Waka’ which began in 2003 was also informed by the same understanding of the city’s known and fragmented history. The site’s best known rulers lived during the Late Classic (~AD 500-800). The marriage of King Kinich Bahlam II of the Wak’ dynasty and Queen K’abel of the Kan or Snake dynasty was one of the most politically powerful alliances of that age, made so by the formidable position of the queen herself. In 2012, excavations resulted in the astonishing discovery of a royal tomb with strong evidence suggesting the remains were those of Queen K’abel. Since this discovery we have learned of the remarkable degree of reverence the people of Waka’ held for their 7th century queen, for their golden age alliance with Kan, and of the kind of symbolic power she possessed. Queen K’abel was interred in a way and with items that not only suggest her affiliation with Kan and her political importance in the region, but as a powerful mediator with the supernatural. This discussion focuses on the evidence for these assertions.  More generally, this talk is an opportunity to consider the often-overlooked sources of power and influence ancient royal women possessed.

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Upcoming lecture on Neolithic Albania

The second of our Spring 2017 lecturers will be presented on Thursday, March 9 at 7:00pm in the Folk Hall Auditorium of the University of Akron. The talk entitled “Wetlands and Early Farmers in Europe: The Southern Albania Neolithic Archaeological Project” will be presented by Dr. Susan Allen of the University of Cincinnati.


The Southern Albania Neolithic Archaeological Project’s (SANAP) regional reconnaissance of Early Neolithic sites in 2006 and excavation at Vashtëmi in 2010, 2011, and 2013 sheds new light on the significance of wetlands in the transition to agriculture in southern Europe. Radiocarbon dates from the site place its earliest occupation in the mid-seventh millennium B.C., contemporary with Early Neolithic (EN) sites to its south in Greece, making it one of the earliest farming sites in Europe. Importantly, the intensive sampling and recovery methodology used during excavation has yielded exceptionally complete assemblages of plant and animal remains. As the first systematically recovered zooarchaeological and archaeobotanical assemblages from an open-air EN site in Albania, they provide a first glimpse into the environmental conditions that early farmers had to negotiate in this former wetland setting and choices that people made concerning land management and resource exploitation.

Please come and enjoy light refreshments and the meet the speaker prior to the lecture, starting at 6:30pm in the foyer immediately outside of the lecture hall. For more information, please contact Dr. Timothy Matney (, 330-972-6892

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“Sacrifice, Diet, and Status: The Royal Cemetery at Ur” lecture on February 2

The exciting opening lecture in our Spring 2017 lecture series will be presented by Dr. Tina Greenfield of the University of Manitoba on February 2 at 7:30pm in the Folk Hall Auditorium at the University of Akron. Her lecture reports on recent zooarchaeological research on the animals excavated nearly a century ago at the Mesopotamian city of Ur.


Greenfield flyer


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Empires and Water in the Ancient Near East


Please join us for the last of our fall lecture series when Dr. Mehrnoush Soroush (University of Akron) presents her recent research on “Empires and Water Management in the Cradle of Civilization” on Thursday, November 3, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. The talk will be held in the Duke Auditorium (Room 124), Olin Hall, University of Akron.

The world’s earliest civilizations emerged along the large, permanent rivers of the arid regions of the Fertile Crescent: Egypt and Mesopotamia. The rulers of these civilizations boasted about their ability to tame and bend the limited available water resources to their desires, and the remains of several monumental ancient waterworks attest to their achievements. Have you ever wondered how representative these monuments are of the overall practice of water management in the ancient world? Outside of a few royal projects, how much, in reality, did the rulers of these societies engage with the everyday needs of water provision? This lecture will discuss the role of ancient empires and states in water management, the connection between water and the ideology of kingship, as well as the relationship between perception, i.e. royal propaganda, and the practice of water management as gleaned from historical and archaeological evidence.

Please come and enjoy light refreshments and the meet the speaker prior to the lecture, starting at 6:30pm at the lecture hall.

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Silberman Archaeology Lecture, Monday October 24


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Democracy, Ancient and Modern!

A roundtable discussion
“The Idea of Democracy, A 2,600-year-old Experiment: Success or Failure?”
Thursday, September 29, 2016, 7:00 p.m.
Duke Auditorium, Olin Hall, Room 124

The eve of the 2016 presidential election is an appropriate time to consider the “Big Picture” of the state of our democracy. In popular American discourse “democracy” is understood as a natural or inevitable political condition and other forms of social contracts – socialism, communism, monarchy, oligarchy, etc. – are mistrusted and viewed as inferior. However, when examining the long span of human history we see that democracy, far from being natural or inevitable, is a relatively rare form of government and one which has yet to prove its long-term sustainability. In this colloquium, three speakers will describe the “state of democracy” in three specific contexts – Ancient Athens in the 5th century B.C., the American Colonies in the late 18th century A.D., and the contemporary United States. Who was empowered with a vote in these contexts? What was the driving ideology in place? What was the interplay between politics and the economy in each of these places? By stepping away from our preconceived ideas of democracy as a natural, inevitable, and ideal form of government, we are perhaps better able to see its evolutionary trajectory from ancient to modern times and to predict the future of this still experimental form of human social contract.

Ancient Athenian Democracy: Dr. Evi Gorogianni, Anthropology & Classical Studies
Early American Democracy: Dr. Gina Martino, History
Modern American Democracy: Dr. John Green, Political Science
Moderator: Mr. Larry Tucker, Law

For questions, please contact Dr. Timothy Matney (, 330-972-6892

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Come hear about Bog Bodies! May 24, 6:00-7:30pm.

Here is one for your summer calendar: an upcoming event at the Akron-Summit County Public Library about a recent popular real-life thriller all about ancient “bog bodies” written by Miranda Aldhouse-Green. The discussion will be led by University of Akron archaeology student Joshua Murphy and recent graduate Stephanie Stanley. Enjoy!


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Wallrodt talk

Wallrodt Flyer

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Digital Humanities lecture on March 10th.

I am pleased to announce our next spring lecture on Thursday, March 10, 2016 at 7:00pm in the Folk Hall Auditorium at the University of Akron. Our speaker is John Wallrodt, a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Classics at the University of Cincinnati who will talk about “First Impressions: Paperless Archaeology and Digital Humanities in the 21st Century”.

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Shott talk.

Shott Flyer

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