Free lectures featuring some of today's most prominent archaeologists are held throughout the year. The Museum is open before and after the lectures.
May 26, 7:30 p.m. / A Visitor’s Guide to the Ancient Greek Olympics with Neil Faulkner, Research Fellow, University of Bristol, Bristol, England
The Olympic Games are coming up this summer, but what was it like going to the Olympics 2,400 years ago? Instead of Rio 2016, how about Olympia 388 BCE? Would a modern visitor to the ancient Olympics find it all very familiar, or would he (yes "he"—virtually no women were admitted) be overwhelmed by culture shock?
This lecture will use written, artistic, and archaeological evidence to reconstruct the experience of the Ancient Greek Olympics. The approach is controversial. It involves violating the norms of scholarship in various ways: using what is known generally about Ancient Greece to reconstruct what might have happened specifically at the Olympics; setting aside empirical uncertainty, learned controversy, and the academic apparatus and simply plumping for "best fit" assumptions; and, where glaring gaps in the evidence arise, filling them by exercise of what R. G. Collingwood called "the historical imagination."
The result is an exercise in time travel. The book on which the lecture is based was, in fact, written in the present tense in the form of a travel guide—a device designed to transport the reader to the time and place in question, rather than offer a scholarly weighing of evidence. The effect, in academic terms, is to stretch the evidence as far as it will allow, to attempt to reconstruct the past as fully as possible, and to set up a series of hypotheses as to how it might actually have been.
Welcome to the Ancient Greek Olympics! A stranger in a foreign land, a time-traveller visiting another age, a sports fan and a pilgrim at a once-in-a-lifetime extravaganza—you’re going to need a guide book. This is it.
The Kelso Museum of Near Eastern Archaeology will be open from 6:30-7:15 p.m. and after the lecture. The lecture and reception to follow are free and open to the public.
Interested in learning more about future lectures and events? Send your name and address to Karen Bowden Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the mailing list.
During one such recent lecture, Richard Talbert, William Rand Kenan professor of history at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, discussed "The Magnificent Peutinger Map: Roman Cartography at its Most Creative." Listen to the lecture.
When space is available, archaeology courses at PTS may be audited through the Registrar's Office. Because PTS courses are graduate level, a four year college degree is normally a prerequisite. Check the list of upcoming available courses.