Saturday, September 3, 2011

For the Locals: Ancient Greece Lecture October 7th

Parthenon Symposium – Life and Death at a Port in Roman Greece: Recent Investigations at Kenchreai

How did the ancient Greeks and Romans treat their dead? Most people know about Egyptian mummies, but what do we know about the funerary practices of other ancient peoples in the Mediterranean?

On Thursday, October 7, Dr. Joe Rife, Associate Professor of Classical Studies and Anthropology at Vanderbilt, will discuss his archaeological research in the important cemeteries at Kenchreai (pronounced Ken-kray, accent on the second syllable), the eastern port of Corinth in southern Greece. Recent discoveries by his international team of collaborators include human skeletal remains, burial goods, and abundant evidence for rich chamber tombs.

This multidisciplinary research program reveals a great deal about not only the uses of mortuary space and funerary ritual in an ancient community of the Roman Empire, but also how members of that community identified and created a lasting memory of themselves. The ongoing study of burial grounds at this one Greek port sheds light on several larger processes in the Roman provinces, such as the nature of cosmopolitanism, the construction of elite identity, and the impact of Christianity.

As an expert in the history, archaeology and literature of the Greek world during the Roman to Early Byzantine periods, Dr. Rife has held several teaching and research posts, from Cornell University and Macalester College to the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and the Center for Hellenic Studies of Harvard University in Washington, D.C. He has published widely on several topics, and since 1990 has conducted field research in the Mediterranean basin, focusing on southern Greece. Since 2002 he has directed the survey, study and excavations at Kenchreai.

The lecture will take place at the Parthenon at 7:00 p.m., with a reception following. Admission is free, but reservations are required (862-8431).

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