Tuesday 12th September 6.20pm* Calder Lounge (Uris Hall 107, Columbia University, 3022 Broadway) *Please note slightly later start time Abstract Liangzhu Civilization is a civilization of water, rice, and
Tuesday 12th September 6.20pm*
Calder Lounge (Uris Hall 107, Columbia University, 3022 Broadway)
*Please note slightly later start time
Liangzhu Civilization is a civilization of water, rice, and earthen works. Recent
archaeological campaigns have unvailed Liangzhu’s unprecedented ability to systematically alter its water systems for multiple purposes and modify its marshy landscape for an enormous scale of earthen construction. Anchoring these impressive achievements were the Liangzhu’s highly developed rice economies and streamlined labour orchestration. This talk draws together environmental, archaeological and experimental data and discuss how key resources were collected and transported to build the Liangzhu monuments, including the walls and dams, and labour organisation behind these. In tandem with this line of inquiry on earthen work construction are the recent excavations of some remarkably well-
preserved Liangzhu period paddy fields across the Yangtze Delta region, which provide us valuable palimpsests of how rice fields were built, water was manipulated, and rice was grown during the Liangzhu period. Macro- and micro-scale archaeological and environmental evidence will be presented and its implications to understand Liangzhu society and economic structure will be discussed.
Yijie Zhuang is an Associate Professor at Institute of Archaeology,
University College London. He received training in archaeology and geoarchaeology from Northwest University (Xi’an), Peking University and University of Cambridge. He applies geo-science related methods into archaeology and is primarily interested in how people in the past managed water for various purposes and has conducted extensive fieldwork in China, Southeast Asia and Madagascar. His recent project investigates the relationship between power and the society through comparing archaeological and environmental data from three high-profile late-Neolithic sites in diverse environmental settings and socio-technological contexts in late prehistoric China. He aims to obtain more holistic understanding on how intensification of water management in these early examples stimulated the formation of diverse power and social governance structures.
(Tuesday) 6:20 pm
"Landscapes of (Re)Conquest: Archaeologies of Frontier Societies in Medieval Iberia" Aleks Pluskowski University of Reading 5.00pm ET, Friday 15th September, 2023 951 Schermerhorn
“Landscapes of (Re)Conquest: Archaeologies of Frontier Societies in Medieval Iberia”
University of Reading
5.00pm ET, Friday 15th September, 2023
951 Schermerhorn Extension, Columbia University
Frontiers have remained a prevalent theme within medieval studies. They are a defining feature of ‘Europeanisation’ – the growth of Latin Christendom, but also of the development of every medieval polity. At the same time, they provide the opportunity to de-centre European perspectives, by examining the spaces of non-Christian societies which have often become marginalised in national historical discourses. In this talk, I will present some of the initial findings of the “Landscapes of (Re) Conquest project”, a new inter-regional study of medieval frontier societies in Spain and Pyrenean France. Adopting a multi-disciplinary and multi-scalar approach, it uses the lens of the cultural landscape and its material traces to investigate the impact of conquest, regime change and migration on the multi-faith societies of the Western Mediterranean. Focusing on Iberia, I will outline the problematic context of investigating what has traditionally been called the “Reconquista”, before providing comparative examples of the long-term dynamics of different frontiers. These range from cultural erasure to the resilience of conquered populations.
Aleks Pluskowski is Professor of Medieval Archaeology at the University of Reading, UK. His research interests have spanned human-animal relations in medieval Europe and more broadly how people shaped their environments at this formative time. In the last decade he has focused on the archaeology of medieval frontier societies. He directed the “Ecology of Crusading” project (2010-2014, European Research Council Starter Grant) which investigated the environmental impact of conquest, migration and religious transformation in the eastern Baltic. This was followed by the “Landscapes of (Re)Conquest” project (2018-2023, Arts and Humanities Research Council), which has been investigating the dynamics of frontier societies in medieval Iberia and Occitania. Most recently he obtained a European Research Council Synergy Grant to examine the long-term environmental impact of the Muslim and Christian conquests in the Western Mediterranean. This is a six-year project involving a large consortium of partners with excavations planned in Spain, including the Balearic Islands, and Morocco. His recent books include Environment, Colonisation, and the Crusader States in Medieval Livonia and Prussia (Brepols, 2019), The Archaeology of the Prussian Crusade: Holy War and Colonisation (Routledge, 2022, second edition) and The Teutonic Knights: The Rise and Fall of a Religious Corporation (Reaktion, in press). A story map summarising the “Ecology of Crusading” project can be found here: https://arcg.is/0r85PX
(Friday) 5:10 pm
Columbia University, 951 Schermerhorn Ext.
Recent scholarship has made a habit of pointing out the inaccuracy of Greek sources about Babylon: pace Herodotus, the Babylonians
Recent scholarship has made a habit of pointing out the inaccuracy of Greek sources about Babylon: pace Herodotus, the Babylonians did not auction their daughters on the marriage market; pace Ctesias, Queen Semiramis is largely a figment of the imagination; and unbeknownst, it would seem, to both Herodotus and Ctesias, the Neo-Babylonian empire really did exist, controlling large swathes of the fertile crescent and the Arab peninsula in the 6th century BCE. All this we know because cuneiform sources are now well understood: by studying them, we can hope to cut through the fog of Greek mythmaking and get to the facts of the matter – or sogoes the dominant account. This paper takes a different approach. Rather than play off cuneiform reality against Greek fantasy, I ask how the two sets of sources can be used to complement and mutually illuminate each other. I make two suggestions in particular. First, Greek historians of the Achaemenid period attest to a remodeling of collective memory which occurred in the wake of major uprisings in Babylonia in the early 5th century BCE. The reprisals that ensued, including what has become known as the ‘end of archives’ (Waerzeggers), challenged established patterns of historical memory, and it is this challenge, I argue, that informs Greek mythmaking about Babylon. My second point follows from the first: as part of their attempt to disrupt home-grown imperial tradition, thinkers friendly to the Achaemenid project promoted a view of the Babylonian elites as either ineffective or effective only at enabling their Iranian overlords. The former tendency is prominent in Herodotus. The latter comes to the fore in Ctesias’ account of the fall of Nineveh. Ctesias there transforms the Neo-Babylonian king Nabopolassar, who in his inscriptions boasts that he single-handedly threw off the Assyrian yoke, into the arch-collaborator Belesys, who with his Chaldean expertise enables a Median king to conquer Assyria, while holding no imperial aspirations of his own. I conclude by reflecting on the manipulation of political and cultural memory in the Achaemenid empire; and on the insight that the Greek sources, with their story-telling approach, show some of the ways in which the Achaemenids and their allies exerted imperial control.
(Friday) 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
5th Floor Seminar Room, Italian Academy for Advanced Study
1161 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY, 10027