Ancient World Seminar

Erechtheion, Acropolis, Athens
(Photograph: Andrew Stephenson)

The Ancient World Seminar is held at 1-2 pm usually on Monday during semester for presentations and discussions of papers from students and academic staff on all aspects of the ancient world.


K.O. Chong-Gossard:


Arts West 156 north wing, unless noted otherwise.

2020 Programme

9 March

Dr Haskel Greenfield, University of Manitoba, Canada

Daily Life in Early Bronze Age Canaan: New Evidence from the Early Bronze Age III Urban Centre at Tell es-Safi/Gath, Israel

This lecture will present the recently gathered evidence for the nature of early urban settlements, their internal organization and the early Canaanite culture in the southern Levant during the Early Bronze Age II-III period (3100-2500 BCE) based on the recently concluded large-scale excavations at the archaeological site of Tell es-Safi/Gath, Israel.  Most famous as Gath of the Philistines (Goliath’s hometown), Tell es-Safi/Gath was one of the largest walled cities in the region during the period.  The excavations uncovered part of a large neighbourhood at the east end of the site with small sturdy multi-room houses built around a courtyard.  It was originally thought that this is where the urban poor lived, yet its occupants had access to exotic trade goods from as far away as Egypt, used various recording methods, sacrificed unusual and expensive animals and built and maintained the neighbourhood over a long period of time.  The results of the excavation suggest that Tell es-Safi/Gath was an important political and economic centre in this region from its earliest occupation until it was abandoned c. 2500 BCE along with all other major urban centres throughout the region.

Haskel J. Greenfield is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Coordinator of Judaic Studies at the University of Manitoba and Co-Director of the Near Eastern and Biblical Archaeology Lab at St. Paul’s College, Winnipeg, Canada.  He is an anthropological archaeologist whose research focuses on the evolution of early agricultural and complex societies in the Old World (Europe, Africa and Asia) from the Neolithic through the Iron Age, while at the same time delving into the butchering practices of early humans in the New and Old Worlds.  Geographically, his research covers a large swath of Old World societies, from Europe through the Near East and into Africa and investigates a range of topics including the evolution of food production and food processing technologies, colonization of new landscapes and intra-settlement organization.  He has just completed the decade-long excavations of the Early Bronze Age city at Tell es-Safi/Gath, Israel, the Canaanite precursor of the famous Philistine site of ancient Gath (home of Biblical Goliath), with his co-director Prof. Aren Maeir, Bar-Ilan University, Israel.

16 March

Emeritus Professor Ronald Ridley, University of Melbourne

Goethe's Italienische Reise (Italian Journey), the Greatest Journal of an Eighteenth-century Traveller to Rome

Of all the outstanding travelers to Italy, most especially Rome, in the eighteenth century, Johann Wolfgang Goethe (1749-1832) has left us the most impressive account of all, the magnificent Italienische Reise (Italian journey), in a splendid translation by Elisabeth Mayer, also republished by Penguin.  Goethe spent some fifteen months in Rome in all (1786-1788) and tells us not only what he saw but how he saw it (some fascinating secrets) and why it was important.  At the same time he was immersed in a most active life as author and artist, with a very involved emotional life.  We will visit with him not only classical sites but also the modern city.

23 March

Professor Louise Hitchcock, University of Melbourne

12th-century BCE Mediterranean Architecture: From Sicily to Safi

30 March

Dr Emily Hulme Kozey, Ormond College, Seymour Reader

Consumer Fraud in the Marketplace of Ideas: Plato on Rhetoric and Sophistry

6 April

Larissa Tittl (PhD completion seminar)

Negotiating the Natural: Material Culture and the Making of Sacred Landscapes in Bronze Age Crete

20 April

Jacob Heywood (PhD completion seminar)

The Context and Significance of Iconography on Late Minoan III Cretan Larnakes

27 April

Professor David Runia, Professorial Honorary Fellow, SHAPS

Aetius’ Placita: How Melbourne Contributed to a New Edition of a Key Ancient Text after 140 Years

4 May

Dr Elizabeth Pemberton, Honorary Fellow, Archaeology, La Trobe University

A Cache of Terracotta Figurines from Ancient Corinth: Problems of Style, Iconography and Function

11 May

Michael Hayes, PhD candidate, Ancient History, Macquarie University

Religious Change in 18th Dynasty Egypt

18 May

National Archaeology Week - Louise Hitchcock & Dr Brent Davis, Honorary Fellows & Students

Reports on Recent Field Work

25 May

Professor Yasmin Haskell, University of Western Australia

What's New About Neo-Latin?