The Roman Spectacle
AIA Tucson Outreach - The Greek Kiln
The Roman Spectacle
AIA Tucson Outreach - The Greek Kiln
2013 National Archaeology Day at the Arizona State Museum

Founded in 1976, for almost four decades the Tucson Society of the Archaeological Institute of America has promoted the study of the ancient world with an active program of lectures and outreach. Every year, we provide thousands of southern Arizonans with access to cutting-edge research on the peoples and places of antiquity and host community events which draw hundreds of attendees and garner local and national media coverage. For some of our projects—such as the Greek kiln and the Roman Snacktacle—we have received grants from the AIA, while others have been the result of a lot of hard work by the students and faculty who make up our governing board. We welcome interest from all members of the southern Arizona community, so become a member of the AIA today and join us for our next event!

Lecture Program

During the academic year, our society offers and co-sponsors a rich program of archaeological lectures. All lectures are free and open to the public. Below you can see the upcoming lectures for this semester. Please visit our Lecture Archive (under Lectures) for past lectures.

October 12, 2016 - 5:30pm
UA Rubel Room, Poetry Center
Dr, David Gilman Romano and Dr. Mary E. Voyatzis, University of Arizona with Dr. Arum Park and Dr. Courtney Friesen, University of Arizona
Abstract: The Sanctuary of Zeus at Mt. Lykaion was known in antiquity as the “birthplace of Zeus.”  Since 2004 the University of Arizona has fielded an excavation project at the remote sanctuary located high in the Arcadian mountains of Greece.  At the southern peak of the mountain is the ash altar of Zeus composed of the ash from the burned animal victims, mostly goat and sheep, directly on the bedrock of the mountain. Ritual use has been documented from as early as the 16th century B.C. during the early Mycenaean period, reflecting that this practice of offering burnt animal sacrifice began much earlier than previously known in the Greek world. This ritual continued at the site until the 2nd c. BC. Renewed excavation this past summer has yielded a stunning discovery amid the ash and burnt animal bones: a human skeleton, likely of an adolescent male, was found near the middle of the ash altar and at the highest part of the mountain peak.  The body is laid out in a simple grave of fieldstones, conceivably of the 11th c. BC. Although the skeleton has yet to be fully studied by a physical anthropologist, and the cause of death has yet to be determined, it is noteworthy that several ancient authors mention that human sacrifice was known to take place at Mt. Lykaion.  In this illustrated presentation we present our exciting new excavation results, look at the relevant ancient literary texts, and then take a broader view, considering the Judeo-Christian tradition of human sacrifice that may bear on this discovery. (The AIA Tucson Society is co-sponsoring this lecture organized by the College of Humanities, Religious Studies and Classics Department and the School of Anthropology)
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October 19, 2016 - 5:30pm
Haury rm 216
Dr. Agnieszka Helman-Wazny, University of Arizona, Laboratory for Tree Ring Research and University of Hamburg, Asia-Africa Institute
This talk outlines some of the crucial aspects of research on the earliest surviving archive of paper and ink preserved in the manuscripts from Dunhuang and Turfan. The objects in this study are Chinese, Tibetan, Uighur, Manichaean, Tokharian and Sogdian manuscripts drawn from the Stein Collection in the British Library in London; the Turfan collection in the Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Sciences (BBAW) and the Berlin State Library (BSL); the Pelliot collection in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris; and the Oldenburg collection in the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts in St. Petersburg. Study of paper offer a story of the manuscript that critically supplements its content, revealing the untold details of its making. By using fibre analysis and the technological study of paper combined with codicological and textual information, research has aimed to explore the possibilities for dating these materials, and fingerprinting their places of origin. The fact that many of Chinese manuscripts being studied (which are the oldest preserved and dated artefacts from Central Asia) are fixed in time by dates mentioned in colophons makes them valuable and reliable references for building a typology of paper and for comparative study of any yet to be discovered papers from that region.
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News & Events

There are not any events currently scheduled, please check back soon!

The AIA Tucson Society has regurarly organized award-winning outreach projects. Starting in 2004, the Society won the first AIA Local  Society Incentive Grant to build a replica of a Greek kiln. In recent years, the Tucson Society won AIA outreach grants for the Roman Spectacle and the Roman Snacktackle! Please stay tuned for future outreach projects and feel free to join us!

Roman Spectacle

Since 2011, in a grassy arena on the University of Arizona campus, the Tucson Society of the AIA—a good organization whose members love the people—presented our first ever Roman gladiatorial spectacle of magnificent proportions! Following a cross-campus pompa (procession) of participants led by our beloved emperor (Caesar Whatshisfaceus), some solemn ceremonial and imperial largesse for the hoi polloi, the games began! Featured were ferocious beasts! barbarian warriors! heartless criminals! and as culmination, the combat of four pairs of matched gladiators! Truly did all in attendance enjoy the spectacle of Roman power and justice. Praise the emperor!

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Greek Kiln Project

The AIA Tucson Local Society was the first recipient of the Archaeological Institute of America's Local Society Incentive Grant. The Society is housed in the Department of History at the University of Arizona, with many of its members and officers working or studying on campus.

Funds were put towards the construction of a Greek kiln to educate and involve AIA members, local schools, and local artists in the techniques, making, and firing of Greek style pottery. Funding also supported a first firing. Studio and vocational artists were encouraged to participate and to share their expertise. The kiln has since been used as a fundraiser for subsequent firings. K-12 schools have the facility made available to them so that students can see and learn firsthand about this aspect of ancient cultures.

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Roman Snacktacle

Ever noticed that sometimes the delectables laid out for consumption at AIA Tucson lectures and events are fancier than the average cookie or cracker? Well, they often are (even if you haven't noticed). Want proof? Have a look at the following pieces of tasty evidence, prepared by Rosalva Parada, a UA graduate in Honors History and Classics.

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