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Exploring Ancient Sardis (Türkiye) | Current Cornell-Related Projects

November 2, 2022 @ 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm

Speakers from Cornell and Harvard Art Museums: Annetta Alexandridis, Benjamin Anderson, Susanne Ebbinghaus, Frances Gallart Marqués 

Wednesday, November 2, 2022 at 4:30pmGoldwin Smith Hall, Kaufmann Auditorium

ZOOM:Topic: Second Biennial Sardis LectureTime: Nov 2, 2022 04:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)Join Zoom Meetinghttps://cornell.zoom.us/j/96744065787?pwd=M1lxUGI2UDZxMHNSZWNzaW9wT2h6dz09Meeting ID: 967 4406 5787Passcode: 873136

Since 1958, the Harvard-Cornell Exploration of Ancient Sardis has been excavating traces of settlement reaching from the Bronze Age to the Byzantine period. This team-talk features three current projects in which Cornell faculty or alumni are involved: a survey of the cemeteries, a study of a Byzantine amulet, and the investigation of the city’s acropolis built from spolia.

In summer 2022, Annetta Alexandridis and Susanne Ebbinghaus started a survey of the Sardis cemeteries to add to our knowledge of the site’s topography and history and to document the current reality on the ground in a landscape that is being significantly transformed by agriculture and mining. Combined with legacy data (excavations a century ago revealed over 1,000 tombs), information from this mapping project will shed light on Sardian social structures and practices of caring for the dead across time.

Since 2015, Frances Gallart Marqués has been excavating a Late Roman house destroyed in an earthquake and will discuss a recent find: a lead amulet of a well-known Byzantine type that tends to be interpreted as aids in pregnancy and childbirth, or as correctives for “wandering” wombs. The talk proposes that they were multivalent, and that the control they promised over women’s bodies could not only be employed in their favor, but in their subjugation.

Since summer 2019, Jordan Pickett (University of Georgia) and Benjamin Anderson have been studying the Acropolis of Sardis with particular attention to the early medieval fortifications. Constructed entirely from spoils hauled up from the lower city, the fortifications represent both an impressive monument of masonry architecture and a massive investment of labor. Constructed initially by military engineers, by the later middle ages they had come to house a civilian settlement of farmers who worked fields in the valley below. The project aims to elucidate the geology and archaeology of the Acropolis, and aims thereby to shed light on the settlement history of the Hermos Valley in the middle ages.