Newsletter Archive

Thank You to Our Donors

The San Diego Society of the AIA is a non-profit organization that runs on the stipend we receive from the national AIA (based on the dues our local members pay to the national society), the time donated by officers in the local society, and the occasional support of local institutions.  Over and above these sources of support, however, the local society depends on the generosity of local donors.

In response to our request for “dues”/donations in the Fall 2007 newsletter, we received many donations that will help us keep the programming of the local AIA going for the next year.  We would like to thank, especially, the 2007 donors: Elizabeth Coghill, Colleen Angelucci, Michael Nabholz, Betty Hamblin, Christa McReynolds, Eva Quesenberry, Marilyn Adams, Horace Hummel, T.W. Goad, Maryalys Hill, Janet Wanerka, Beatirce and Thomas Roberts, David Jordan, Z.E. Dziewanowska, Jeanne Davies, and B.W. Feldman.  Please forgive any oversight and let us know if we have excluded anyone from this list!

Anyone still wishing to send “dues” /  donations for the runningof the local society (i.e. honoraria for speakers, mailings, room fees, etc.) may send them to: AIA San Diego Society, Department of History (Pollard), SDSU, San Diego, CA 92182-6050.  As always, we thank you for your past, present, and future support.

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Featured Exhibition: A Day in Pompeii

If the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit were not enough, the Natural History Museum in Balboa Park is hosting another exiting exhibition, A Day in Pompeii, from February 15 – June 15, 2008.  Nuntius asked the exhibition’s curator, Professor Joe Smith (SDSU), some questions about the upcoming show.

Nuntius: What went into bringing this exhibition here to San Diego?  How did you get involved in the exhibition?
Smith: The show is a follow-up to the wild success of Dead Sea Scrolls. As Risa Levitt-Kohn glibly explained to me: if it wasn’t for DSS, there wouldn’t be a Pompeii. What’s true about that is the Museum seemed to have been more open to bringing in a huge “follow-up” show, given that the whole middle section of the SDMNH would be reconfigured by the shear size of the DSS exhibit. The Pompeii exhibit fits into the  same sized space–10,000 sq ft–with just as many objects–over 250 catalogued items. And so it was a fantastic and fortunate coincidence that the Pompeii show was available to bring in.
I got involved myself by showing up at the Museum one afternoon early last summer to help Risa with some Greek and Latin in some scripture and on coins. What I thought was going to be 15 minutes of help turned into a multitasking afternoon in which I had to bother several staff people to get me just the right tools. I must have made a  favorable impression because I was contacted, out of the blue, late in summer by Jim Stone, Vice President of Programs, at the Museum, who asked me to step in as “Guest Curator.”  That means I have to play the part of know-it-all without really getting in anyone’s way who actually knows how to put an exhibition together.

Nuntius: What are some of the pieces in the exhibition that you think are the most exciting?
Smith: Well, there’s the dead people. Everybody is going to want to see the casts of the victims, and we’ll have several of the more famous ones visiting us. But we’ll also have a dead pig. I’m excited about that.  Mostly I’m excited about the sheer scope of the collection: 250 pieces of all size and material, from mundane pieces of daily life (like carbonized beans and bread) to gold coins and precious jewelry.  The show will also have walk-through displays which will help recreate Pompeii as a bustling, work-a-day world.  And there are frescos–the paintings of Pompeii have long been my favorite aspect of the collection.
Nuntius: What makes this exhibit different than other Pompeii exhibits, such as the In Stabiano exhibit that visited the SDMA recently?
Smith: As I mentioned above, this is a show that attempts to get across the daily, work-a-day realities of life in Pompeii. So the emphasis of the show is on pieces that evoke life for all manners of people in town: men, women, children, slaves, foreigners, locals. The show is a reflection of the latest research trends in archaeology and history: to try to capture a sense of the complete cross-section of a society and consider the qualities of “daily life” from as wide a view as possible. This is a show about the daily grime and sweat of the ordinary people of Pompeii as much as it is about the rarified lives of the town’s elites
Nuntius: Are there any lectures or educational opportunities at the museum in association with this exhibition?
Smith:  I’ll be speaking myself on many more occasions. And I’ll be hoping to get as many of my students acquainted with the show (in various capacities) as I can.

Professor Smith was kind enough to provide the lecture schedule for the exhibition.  Flyers will be available at the February 1st meeting for more information.

For more information about A Day in Pompeii,  visit the SDNHM website at

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Spring 2008 Lecture Series

Never heard the words “juan” and “pian” in relationship to early Chinese texts?  Captivated by the fascinating finds still being discovered beneath the surface of the Mediterranean?  Wondering what palynology is and what it can tell you about ancient religion?  If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you should enjoy this Spring’s lecture line-up!  In Spring 2008, San Diego AIA presents another wide-ranging series, ranging from Chinese text production, to underwater archaeology, to Greco-Roman cult sites analyzed through pollen samples.

Guolong Lai (Univ. of Florida) will present “What Can Excavated Texts Tell Us about Text-Production in Early China” on Friday, February 1, 2008.  Prof. Lai will draw on methods from “sociology of texts” and biblical studies to analyze bamboo and silk manuscripts recently excavated from early Chinese tombs.  Lai will investigate the material form of early Chinese manuscripts and its impact on their circulation, reading habits, and the relationship between literary and non-literary texts.

John Hale (University of Louisville), the AIA’s 2007-08 national McCann/Taggart lecturer, will share “In Poseidon’s Realm: Underwater Archaeology in the Mediterranean,” on Friday, March 7, 2008.  Prof. Hale’s lecture will offer an overview of Greco-Roman nautical archaeology and will illustrate many of the important art works and other finds such as the news-making first-century BCE astronomical computer and the famous bronze god from Artemision that have been recovered by underwater archaeology.  Prof. Hale will also discuss current technology employed in nautical excavations, such at the Persian Wars Shipwreck Survey, in which Hale has participated.

Patrick Scott-Geyer (USD) will talk to us about “Patterns of Worship at the Temple to Hecate” on Friday, April 18, 2008.  Prof. Scott-Geyer will discuss his palynological analysis of pollen samples taken from the sanctuary of Hecate at Lagina (near Turgut, in modern southwest Turkey).  Scott-Geyer will discuss the process of studying pollen samples and what these samples can reveal about the “eco-factual” ritual offerings and temple culture at this Hecate site in the Roman Empire of the first century BCE.

All Spring 2008 lectures will be held from 7:15- 9:00 PM in G101 Mesa College.  Parking is available in the lot adjacent to G101.  If you have any questions about the series, please contact President Beth Pollard ( or VP/Program co-ordinator Brad Kirkegaard (

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2008 AIA Annual Meeting in Chicago

The 109th annual meeting of the AIA (held jointly with the American Philological Association) took place in Chicago from January 3rd-6th, 2008.  San Diego Society of the AIA President Elizabeth Pollard and VP/Program Chair Brad Kirkegaard attended as representatives of the San Diego Society.  As usual, the annual meeting was three straight days packed full of exciting sessions and productive meetings.

Two session highlights give a taste of the meetings.  Particularly interesting to our society, given Eugene Borza’s presentation to our society in Fall 2005 and Prof. Brad Cook’s in 2006, was the colloquium entitled “Chronology of the Royal Macedonian Tombs at Vergina.”  At this session, an international assemblage of Alexander scholars, including Borza, Elizabeth Carney, Antonis Bartsiokas, Susan Rotroff, and Olga Palagia discussed respectively the royal paraphernalia, marital relationships, skeletal remains, pottery and wall paintings in order to argue once and for all that Tomb II at Vergina is that of Philip III (Alexander the Great’s brother) and his warrior-princess wife Adea-Eurydike, and not that of Philip II and one of his ill-fated brides, as Manolis Andronicus claimed when the tombs were originally excavated several decades ago.  Another exciting session was the colloquium entitled “Agency and the Individual: Exploring Women in the Material Record of the Roman World.”  Stephanie Pryor, Mary Boatwright, Elizabeth Green, Susan Wood, and Sarah Bond presented papers about Queen Dynamis of the Bosporus, the Aedicula Faustinae at Rome, women at the Hadrian’s Wall fort of Vindolanda, the imagery of empress Sabina, and women patronesses in Roman North Africa, respectively.  This session of papers analyzed the  material record that documents a much more active role for women in Greco-Roman antiquity than is often assumed.

The annual meeting was not just an opportunity for learning new interpretations of old and new archaeological discoveries, but also a forum for accomplishing the important business of the society.  At the annual meeting of Council, reports were delivered by President Brian Rose, Executive Director Bonnie Clendenning, and Treasurer, B. Heidtke.  One intriguing action included a vote on the AIA’s Code of Professional Standards.  A vote on this code had been tabled last year due to a hotly debated clause dealing with archaeologists digging sites for professional gain.  Another vote made Harrison Ford (of Indiana Jones fame) an honorary trustee of the society.  Executive Director Clendenning shared with the council the national AIA’s goals for 2007-2013, including efforts to extend the impact of the AIA’s publications and of the annual meeting, to expand on-line educator lesson plans, to do more to help preserve archaeological sites, and to increase membership (in part by helping to strengthen local societies).   Our VP, Brad Kirkegaard, attended a meeting of the AIA Societies and Membership Committee.  This subcommittee discussed details of the national lecture program and outreach efforts of the national society (including reaching out to retirement communities).

The next annual meeting of the AIA will take place on January 8-11, 2009, in Philadelphia, PA.  If you cannot make it to that meeting, the national meeting will be back on the West Coast in 2010, at the Anaheim Marriott from January 7-10, 2010.

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