The Cleveland Archaeological Society (CAS) is a local chapter of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA). Each year, CAS sponsors a series of lectures, which are held at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History in the Museum’s Murch Auditorium on the second Wednesday of the month. Due to the renovations to Murch Auditorium, the winter 2020 lectures will be held at the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Recital Hall. All lectures are free and open to the public.


“Magellan’s Pacific Crossing: New Discoveries in One of the World’s Greatest Voyages”
Scott Fitzpatrick, University of Oregon
Wednesday, September 11, 2019, 7:00p.m., Murch Auditorium, Cleveland Museum of Natural History

 On 28 November 1520, Ferdinand Magellan and his depleted fleet sailed around the tip of South America. After a tumultuous 38-day attempt to pass through the straits that now bear his name, Magellan gazed out into the vast sea and called it Mare Pacifico or ‘calm sea,’ which was appropriate (although misleading) considering what they had just endured. The passage through the Straits was notable for a number of reasons, not least because it was the first time Europeans had sailed to the other side of the Americas through a westerly route, ultimately leading to what would become the first successful circumnavigation of the globe. But why did he encounter such benign weather conditions when leaving the Straits and entering the Pacific? Most who followed him either through the Straits or via Cape Horn encountered inclement weather off the southern coast of Chile. Second, why did he travel considerably north of the equator — when his goal, the Moluccas, was known by him to lie along the equator — and cross the doldrums in a crippled ship with a starving crew? Third, why did he only see two uninhabited islands after crossing such a vast distance of ocean? Here I investigate these questions using computer simulations coupled with archaeological research.

“Where the Earth Meets the Sky: Recent Archaeological Investigations at the Fort Hill Earthwork Complex”
Phil Wanyerka, Cleveland State University
Wednesday, October 9, 2019, 7:00p.m., Murch Auditorium, Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Geophysical and archaeological investigations have been conducted for the past three years at the Fort Hill Earthworks, the only known prehistoric earthwork complex, located in the Rocky River Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks. Our investigations have not only revealed when the earthworks were created and by which prehistoric culture group, but we have also uncovered data to suggest how they were constructed and for what possible purpose they may have served.  

Spellbound: Magic and Witchcraft in an Ancient Egyptian Village
Andrew Wilburn, Oberlin College
Wednesday, November 13, 2019, 7:00p.m., Murch Auditorium, Cleveland Museum of Natural History

We often imagine magic around every corner in the ancient world: old women who curl fingers around thumbs to avoid the evil eye, ill townspeople seeking out spells and cures from the local wise woman at the edge of town, or ne’er do-wells enchanting young girls with more than their good looks. This picture is not wrong, as individuals in antiquity frequently employed rituals to achieve solutions to everyday problems as well as unusual crises. Situating magic in the local community proves a greater challenge. By integrating the study of archaeological objects, their contexts and documentary sources, it is possible to reconstruct and understand personal rituals as part of a lived environment. This lecture will focus on archaeological evidence from the Graeco-Roman site of Karanis in Egypt to identify and interpret two groups of magical objects: a burned figurine intended to compel the love of a victim, and a cache of painted bones deposited for mysterious reasons. 

From the Banks of the Tigris: Evidence for the Assyrian Army at Ziyaret Tepe, Turkey
Timothy Matney, University of Akron
Wednesday, February 12, 2020, 7:00p.m., Recital Hall, Cleveland Museum of Art,

This talk presents results from on-going analyses of the excavations at Ziyaret Tepe on the Tigris River in the Diyarbakır Province of southeastern Turkey. Ziyaret Tepe – the Assyrian provincial capital of Tušhan – was excavated between 1997 and 2014 by an international team of archaeologists and specialists. As a provincial capital, Tušhan’s palace periodically housed the king and his army who used the city as a launching point for military campaigns into the rugged Taurus Mountains north of the Tigris. This talk will discuss some of the archaeological and epigraphic evidence discovered at Ziyaret Tepe for the presence of the army, its weapons and armor, and the role the city played in the Assyrian military conquest of the ancient Near East in the 1st millennium BC.

Craft Production and Culture Change in the Bronze Age Cyclades, Greece
Natalie Abell, University of Michigan
Wednesday, March 18, 2020, 7:00p.m., Recital Hall, Cleveland Museum of Art

During the Middle and Late Bronze Age (ca. 1900-1400 BCE), Cycladic islanders played key roles as intermediaries in regional exchange networks that linked the Minoan palaces of Crete and emerging elite societies on Aegina and mainland Greece. Over these centuries, the Cyclades experienced a great deal of material culture change, especially as part of the Minoanization phenomenon, by which Minoan ways of doing things were adopted and adapted beyond Crete. This presentation explores the important roles of mobile craftspeople and the spread of novel craft technologies in the promotion of new forms of material culture in the Cyclades during these eras.

World War II on America’s Doorstep! U-Boats Off the Mid-Atlantic Coast
Tana Casserley, NOAA (The Donald R. Laing, Jr. Lectureship of CAS)
Wednesday, April 8, 2020, 7:00p.m., Recital Hall, Cleveland Museum of Art

More than any other place in the United States, North Carolina serves as a uniquely accessible underwater museum and memorial to WWII’s Battle of the Atlantic. Since 2008, NOAA’s Monitor National Marine Sanctuary and partners have documented and surveyed this unique collection of WWII Allied and German vessels. NOAA’s goal is to protect these fragile historic resources for future generations, and to preserve the memory of the brave Allied service men and U.S. merchant mariners who fought to rid the world of tyranny. This presentation will discuss the danger posed by German U-boats during the Battle of the Atlantic along the Mid-Atlantic coast, their effect on Allied shipping, and the naval adaptations and convoy system that finally ended the U-boat threat.

The Parthenon: Then and Now (CAS Fundraiser, Ticket Required)
Jenifer Neil, Director, American School of Classical Studies at Athens
Tuesday, May 12, 2020, 5:30p.m., The Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Prof. Jenifer Neils, Director of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, has devoted much of her academic career to studying the architecture and sculpture of the Parthenon in Athens. This monument is finally reaching the end of a long restoration project that began in 1975, a project that has revealed many new features of the temple and its extensive decoration. Her lecture will demonstrate how, in spite of 250 years of study, this iconic structure can continue to reveal exciting new archaeological discoveries.