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Public Lecture Series 2023-2024

Come join us for some fascinating lectures on topics from all over the world! We will return to in-person lectures this fall with options for remote viewing (please contact with any questions). Masks and social distancing are strongly recommended. These lectures are open to the public and those who are not AIA members but are interested in attending can contact Megan Daniels ( for information.

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TUESDAY, February 13th, 2024

“Picturing the Jewish Temple in Middle Byzantine Mosaics”


Dr. Evan Freeman

Assistant Professor of Hellenic Studies, SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies, Simon Fraser University

Time: 7:30pm Location: UBC-Vancouver Location Buchanan A 103


Following the Iconoclastic Controversy of the eighth and ninth centuries, Middle Byzantine churches were decorated in mosaics and wall paintings with monumental images of sacred figures and events, such as the “Meeting of the Lord in the Temple,” an episode described in Luke’s Gospel, and the “Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple” from the Protoevangelium of James. Both episodes occur in the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. But in Middle Byzantine churches, artists reimagined the Temple as a Christian church that mirrored the spaces within which images appeared. Such images encouraged viewers to identify their communities and contemporary rituals with the historical events in biblical and apocryphal texts.   


Evan Freeman is Assistant Professor and Hellenic Canadian Congress of British Columbia Chair in Hellenic Studies in the Department of Global Humanities and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Centre for Hellenic Studies at Simon Fraser University. He is also Contributing Editor for Byzantine art at Smarthistory, the Center for Public Art History, where he co-edited the volume Smarthistory Guide to Byzantine Art (2021). He researches art and ritual in the Byzantine world. 

TUESDAY, January 23rd, 2024

Kalavasos and Maroni Revisited:  New Discoveries at two Late Bronze Age Cities on Cyprus”

Dr. Kevin Fisher


Associate Professor of Eastern Mediterranean


Archaeology, Department of AMNE, UBC



Time: 7:30 PM Location: UBC-Vancouver, Buchanan A 103

This illustrated lecture presents the results of recent work by the Kalavasos and Maroni Built Environments (KAMBE) Project, which is investigating the relationship between urban landscapes, interaction and social change in Late Bronze Age Cyprus (c. 1700-1100 BCE).  We’ll focus mainly on Kalavasos-Ayios Dhimitrios, an urban centre that flourished in the 13th century BCE, known for its wealthy tombs, monumental buildings and industrial-scale olive oil production.  There, excavations by a UBC-led team are revealing fascinating new evidence for ritual activity and monumental construction in the administrative and economic core of the city.   We’ll contrast these findings with evidence from the contemporaneous urban centre of Maroni, about 7 km away, where our project is revealing a rather different story of urban development.

TUESDAY, December 5, 2023

“Who Owns Ancient Egypt? Centring Contemporary Egyptians in the Reproduction of Their Heritage”

Dr. Heba Abd El Gawad

Research Fellow, University College London


Co-Sponsored by the Department of Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Studies and the Mobilities Research Group

Time: 7:30 PM Location: UBC-Vancouver Buchanan A 103

Museums are full of fascinating Egyptian objects that are nonetheless frozen in time and space. This Egypt is exclusive and imagined. It’s more of a concept that you only encounter behind display cases or digital screens rather than a country. Reflecting on the question of who owns ancient Egypt?, this talk traces the journey of the Egypt’s Dispersed Heritage project & its attempt to capture the living multivocal and multilayered Egypt by centering Egyptian views and voices in museums.

TUESDAY, September 12, 2023

"The Many Voices of the Mediterranean: Archaeologies of Trade, Fishing, and Displacement in Southeast Sicily"

Dr. Elizabeth S. Greene

Professor of Maritime Archaeology and Greek Art & Archaeology, Department of Classics, Brock University, President of the Archaeological Institute of America

**Co-sponsored by UBC's Department of Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Studies, UBC's Centre for Migration Studies, and the Classical Association of Canada

Time: 7:30 PM Location: UBC-Vancouver Buchanan A 103

The long-term and multifaceted relationship between the sea, the coast, and the peoples connected by the Mediterranean defines the maritime traditions of southeast Sicily. Its shores are marked by ancient shipwrecks, long seen as emblematic of enduring economic connections across the Greco-Roman world. In antiquity and well beyond, these same shores provide rich material evidence for the linked mobilities and immobilities of a diverse array of traders, fishermen, displaced peoples, and others. Selected case studies of the vessels that traverse these shared waters offer snapshots of seemingly persistent mobilities, while also highlighting the social and physical barriers imposed by the sea. This paper considers three examples: (1) the 6th century CE “church wreck” at Marzamemi, Sicily and its massive cargo of more than 100 tons of architectural marble; (2) Nessuno, a historic boat used for the mattanza, the traditional trapping and slaughter of Atlantic bluefin tuna during their seasonal cross-Mediterranean migration; and (3) a contemporary fishing boat impounded in 2018 after being repurposed to transit displaced peoples from north Africa to Sicily on one short stage of a much longer journey. The contrast between these multiple vessels—viewed interchangeably as valorized ancient heritage, historical memory, and politicized debris—compels renewed consideration of the restrictions, disconnections, and unfinished stories that define the Mediterranean, and the entangled realities of past and present connectivity.

**Saturday, October 14th, 2023

“Naval Conflict and the First Punic War: Discoveries from the Debris Field” - Vancouver Institute Lecture


Dr. William Murray

Mary and Gus Stathis Professor of Greek History, University of South Florida

Time: 8:15 pm Location: UBC-Vancouver P.A. Woodward Instructional Resources Centre, 2194 Health Sciences Mall, Vancouver.

**No remote viewing options for this event as it is a Vancouver Institute Lecture - more info here**


Dr. Murray’s interests include all aspects of ancient seafaring from ships and their designs to trade, ancient harbours, naval warfare and weaponry. His research has been featured on the History and National Geographic channels. Over the past 40 years, he has worked at a number of archaeological sites, both under water and on land, in Greece, Israel, Turkey, France and Italy. Dr. Murray is currently a member of the Egadi Island Survey Project recovering ancient warship rams and other battle debris from the last naval battle of the First Punic War. He is also preparing with others the final publication of excavations conducted at Augustus’ Victory Monument near Actium. He is author of The Age of Titans: The Rise and Fall of the Great Hellenistic Navies (2012), a volume in the Onassis Series in Hellenic Culture.

TUESDAY April 2nd, 2024

“Death and Rebirth: Religious Change and Reincarnation during the Copper Age”


Dr. Yorke Rowan, Research Associate Professor at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago

Archaeological Institute of America National Lecturer - Kershaw Lecturer

Time: 7:30pm Location: UBC-Vancouver Location TBA


Why did people invent ossuaries – the ceramic and stone containers for the reburial of human skeletons? In this lecture, we examine ossuaries invented during the Copper Age (Chalcolithic) period, c. 4500-3700 BCE in the southern Levant (Israel, Jordan, Palestine). The extended process from death to burial, and subsequent re-burial, inspired the invention of specialized containers for some members of the community. When, and why, did this change occur, only to disappear again by the Early Bronze Age? This phenomenon is examined in the context of rapid changes in Chalcolithic society, from large population growth to the expansion of diverse ritual activities.

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