AIA Tucson Outreach - The Greek Kiln
The Roman Spectacle
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.

February 2, 2017 - 5:30pm
Haury 216
Andrea M. Berlin, James R. Wiseman Chair in Classical Archaeology, Professor, Boston University
The Kyrenia ship, so named when it was discovered in 1964 largely intact one mile north of the northern Cypriot town of Kyrenia, is the best preserved small Greek merchant ship ever found. Its cargo included 400 amphoras, most from Rhodes along with some from Knidos, Samos, Paros, and Cyprus, 45 sizeable unused millstones, iron ingots, nearly 10,000 almonds, a consignment of oak planks and logs – and 109 whole and fragmentary vessels that comprised the goods of the crew. The cargo was of course the point: it’s the currency of the sea. The goods of the crew are more like small change: portable, available, and functional. But those goods allow us a glimpse of life on board for the ship’s crew’s. In this lecture I present these goods, explain what they tell us of the place and date of the ship’s final departure, what they tell us about the character of the ship’s crew – and what some of the smallest fragments reveal of the ship’s beginnings before it became a Greek merchantman.
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February 28, 2017 - 5:30pm
Haury 216
Nick Card, University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute, AIA Samuel H. Kress Foundation Lecturer
Off the northernmost tip of Scotland lie the Orkney Islands, where it is said that if you scratch the surface they bleed archaeology. This is nowhere truer than in the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site that is renowned for some of the most iconic prehistoric monuments of Atlantic Europe: the great stone circles of the Ring of Brodgar and the Stones of Stenness; Maeshowe, the finest chambered tomb in northern Europe; and the exceptionally well preserved 5,000-year-old village of Skara Brae.  In particular, the stunning discovery of a Neolithic complex at the Ness of Brodgar that was enclosed within a large walled precinct is changing our perceptions. The magnificence of the Ness structures with their refinement, scale, and symmetry, decorated with color and artwork, bears comparison with the great temples of Malta.  In his lecture, Secrets of the Ness of Brodgar: a Stone-Age Complex in the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site, Nick Card will explore how recent archaeological research at this remarkable site is radically changing our views of the period, providing a sharp contrast to the Stonehenge-centric view of the Neolithic, and revealing a 5,000 year old complex, socially stratified, and dynamic society.   The Ness excavations were recognized by the American Institute of Archaeology as one of the great discoveries in 2009; named the 2011 Current Archeology Research Project of the Year; winner of the international Andante Travel Archaeology Award in 2012; and featured in a cover article in National Geographic in 2014. The excavations are directed by Nick Card who has lived and worked on Orkney off the north tip of Scotland for more than 25 years. He is Senior Projects Manager of the Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology, University of Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute (which he helped to establish).  He is also a Member of Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site Research Committee, an Honorary Research Fellow of the University of the Highlands and Islands, Chair of the Ness of Brodgar Trust, and Vice-president of the American Friends of the Ness of Brodgar.
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April 27, 2017 - 5:30pm
Haury 216
Eric H. Cline, Professor of Classics, Anthropology, and History, The George Washington University
For more than three hundred years during the Late Bronze Age, from about 1500 BC to 1200 BC, the Mediterranean region played host to a complex international world in which Egyptians, Mycenaeans, Minoans, Hittites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Cypriots, and Canaanites all interacted, creating a cosmopolitan and globalized world-system such as has only rarely been seen before the current day. It may have been this very internationalism that contributed to the apocalyptic disaster that ended the Bronze Age. When the end came, as it did after centuries of cultural and technological evolution, the civilized and international world of the Mediterranean regions came to a dramatic halt in a vast area stretching from Greece and Italy in the west to Egypt, Canaan, and Mesopotamia in the east. Large empires and small kingdoms, that had taken centuries to evolve, collapsed rapidly. With their end came the world’s first recorded Dark Ages. It was not until centuries later that a new cultural renaissance emerged in Greece and the other affected areas, setting the stage for the evolution of Western society as we know it today. Blame for the end of the Late Bronze Age is usually laid squarely at the feet of the so-called Sea Peoples, known to us from the records of the Egyptian pharaohs Merneptah and Ramses III. However, as was the case with the fall of the Roman Empire, the end of the Bronze Age empires in this region was not the result of a single invasion, but of multiple causes. The Sea Peoples may well have been responsible for some of the destruction that occurred at the end of the Late Bronze Age, but it is much more likely that a concatenation of events, both human and natural — including earthquake storms, droughts, rebellions, and systems collapse — coalesced to create a “perfect storm” that brought the age to an end. NB: This illustrated lecture is based upon a book by the same title published by Princeton University Press 2014.
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April 28, 2017 - 2:00pm
Haury 216
Diane Harris Cline, Associate Professor of History and Director for Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration, Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, The George Washington University
Social networks are an important factor for fostering creativity and innovation, back in ancient Greece and today. Such networks allow people to efficiently find the resources and partners they need and help new ideas catch on and spread. The ancient Greeks were remarkably innovative -- what was their secret? What can we learn from them to make our own communities more creative? Social networks are an important part of our lives. We all live in nested networks -- our family, friends, their friends, our co-workers, our social organizations, hobbies, schools, associations – these are all networks. Ancient Greeks lived in social networks too, and social network analysis is a tool that enables us to see these ties between citizens in the ancient city and understand how ideas could spread and innovations take hold. In this richly illustrated lecture, we will learn how the ancient Greeks became so creative, innovative, and influential. Examples will be drawn from her original research projects featuring studies of Pericles, Socrates, and Alexander the Great. 
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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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