Department of ClassicsUniversity of Cincinnati
Department of Classics

pylos roof

In 2010 Sharon Stocker and Jack Davis of the Department of Classics learned of the need to replace a roof that had been erected over the Palace of Nestor in 1960 to cover Carl Blegen and Marion Rawson's excavations. In 2011 Davis and Stocker began to collaborate with the firm of Kyriakides A.E. in Athens, which produced for UC the architectural and engineering studies required for a new roof. These studies, after approval from the Greek Archaeological Service, resulted in the release of €3.1 million in EU funds for construction. Since October of 2012 Stocker has being directing an international team of archaeologists and students representing the University of Cincinnati in excavations at the Palace of Nestor, in collaboration with a team from the Greek Archaeological Service. This research was necessary to prepare the ground for the new roof.

In the past few years UC Classics has been well represented at the Archaeological Institute of America/American Philological Association (AIA/APA) conference each winter. This year we will have twelve speakers from UC Classics presenting their scholarship.

Natalie Abell: "Establishing a Middle Ground: Social Practice and Intercultural Interaction at Bronze Age Ayia Irini, Kea, Greece"

Recent studies of interaction in the Middle and Late Bronze Age (MBA-LBA) Cyclades have been primarily concerned with explaining the hows and whys of “Minoanization,” the process by which Cycladic islanders adopted aspects of Cretan culture. Although such studies have become increasingly theoretically sophisticated, culture change in the Bronze Age Cyclades is still often viewed as the result of unilateral action or influence from Crete, while diachronic analyses that emphasize variation between Cycladic communities are rare. This paper takes a different perspective, focusing on changes in both Minoanizing and non-Minoanizing ceramic production and consumption patterns at Ayia Irini on the island of Kea.

During the MBA and earlier LBA, Ayia Irini was a major exchange hub that linked culturally distinct regions – the Cyclades, Crete, and mainland Greece. An analysis of changes in ceramics in use at Ayia Irini during this period suggests a complex picture of interaction and influence. Minoanizing pottery and technology were employed at Ayia Irini already in the earlier MBA, a period usually considered to precede Minoanization. During the height of Minoanization, Keian potters continued to manufacture non-Minoanizing vessels, while both Minoanizing and non-Minoanizing ceramics were imported from the Cyclades and mainland Greece. Ultimately, the local repertoire of drinking and eating vessels, although partially Minoanized, was in no period wholly comparable to Cretan or other Cycladic assemblages. It is argued that the idiosyncrasies of the Keian ceramic repertoire were not merely an inevitable consequence of the geographical situation of the site at the intersection of regional exchange networks. Rather, it is suggested that Ayia Irini was a kind of middle ground, where people from different cultural backgrounds were able to join in notionally shared drinking and eating practices and, perhaps, associated values. Participation in such events would have served to reinforce social bonds and to promote trade between locals and non-locals. The adoption of Cretan ways of doing things at Ayia Irini, when situated in this context, may be viewed not just as a reaction to growing Cretan cultural or political power, but as part of active Keian strategies to promote interaction with Cycladic islanders and mainlanders as well.

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Carl Blegen accepting the AIA Gold Medal, 1965
Image courtesy of the ASCSA

In 1965 Carl Blegen was awarded the first Gold Medal for archaeological achievement by the Archaeological Institute of America. He was not available to go to the US in December to receive the award, but it was presented to him at the home of the American Ambassador to Greece in Athens the following year. 

The American School of Classical Studies at Athens has digitized the audio of that presentation and we present the short audio here. This same audio was played during the William P. Donovan lecture hosted here in Cincinnati in November.

On November 4 the Department of Classics hosted a conversation with alumnus William P. Donovan. Donovan is a retired professor from Macalester College who spoke about his work during the Blegen excavations of the Palace of Nestor in Pylos in the 1950’s and 1960’s. 

Donovan touched on many issues during his talk. He discussed  the differences in excavation methodology that have occurred over the years, he reminisced about Carl Blegen, and he told us about the early history of this department. His talk includes an audio tape recording from Blegen himself, recorded as he was the first Gold Medal for archaeological achievement from the Archaeological Institute of America.

You can watch the video of the talk below.

You can hear the Blegen audio here.

 

UC Classics is hiring!

Assistant Professor of Classics (Archaeology)

University of Cincinnati

The Department of Classics at the University of Cincinnati invites applications for a tenure-track position in Archaeology at the level of Assistant Professor of Classics, to begin in the fall of 2014 or as soon as possible thereafter. Candidates should be able to teach Greek and/ or Roman archaeology, Classical Civilization, and either Ancient Greek or Latin language and literature, and should demonstrate high scholarly potential. Candidates should have an interdisciplinary specialization in the archaeology, socio-cultural history, and economic history of the Iron Age Mediterranean. A Ph.D. in Classics or a related field is required for appointment.

The department offers B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in Classics and has recently expanded to 15 full-time faculty lines, including ancient historians, archaeologists, and philologists. The graduate program is one of the largest in the country, with over 30 students in residence. The Department is housed as a single unit with offices, classrooms, lecture halls, and library occupying adjoining floors. The John M. Burnam Classical Library contains the largest Classics, Byzantine, and Modern Greek collection in the world. Full information about the department is available at http://classics.uc.edu.

Faculty are expected to make significant contributions to knowledge through research and publication, to teach undergraduate and graduate courses with excellence, and to fulfill reasonable service obligations to the scholarly and local communities.

Candidates should register for the position online at https://www.jobsatuc.com (Position Number: 213UC6188) and attach a letter of application, a curriculum vitae, and a writing sample; candidates should arrange to have three letters of recommendation sent by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Preliminary inquiries can be addressed to the Chair of the Search Committee, Professor Steven Ellis at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The committee will review applications starting November 15, 2013. Where possible, we will conduct preliminary interviews at the annual meeting of the AIA/APA in Chicago, IL, January 2-5, 2014. The University of Cincinnati is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. Women, people of color, people with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply.

Internal Number: 213UC6188

0310HatzakiEleni2088

Eleni Hatzaki has been awarded a Loeb Classical Library Foundation Fellowship for the academic year 2013-14. This prestigious Fellowship is supported by the income from sales of books in the Loeb Classical Library, the ubiquitous small green and red volumes with ancient text on one page, English translation on the opposite. The Fellowship will provide academic leave for completing the primary publication of Eleni’s current fieldwork project (Little Palace North), an excavation at the famous Bronze Age site of Knossos on Crete, Greece.

Her study aims to enhance our understanding of urban activities at Minoan Knossos. The project focuses on the area north of the Little Palace, the largest elite building so far excavated at the site other than the Palace, located in the public-elite core of the Late Bronze Age (1600-1100 B.C.) town. By testing new against older excavations conducted in the 1900s by British Archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans, and in the 1970s by Mervyn Popham (Eleni’s Oxford DPhil supervisor, who taught at UC Classics in the early 1970s), this project aims to define how the space around the Little Palace was used and by whom. New excavations occurred in 2001 and 2002, and produced 3 tons of fragmentary pottery excavated in over 450 stratigraphical units associated with 6 successive architectural phases. Although Eleni has been studying the finds since the end of the excavation (together with an international team of specialists), the Loeb Fellowship will give her much needed time to bring it all together.

The results of this project will provide new information about the development of the prehistoric town of Knossos. The old and new evidence together show that the urban landscape of Knossos underwent various drastic changes between 1600-1100 B.C., which contradicts the prevailing view first proposed by Sir Arthur Evans of an unaltered urban layout for the duration of Late Bronze Age Knossos. Since Evans’ view of limited change at urban Knossos provided a model for understanding contemporary sites in Crete, the results from Eleni’s study prompt a re-examination of urban development in other Cretan settlements with long and complex occupation sequences.

In addition to the Loeb Foundation, the project is funded by the Louise Taft Semple Fund through the Department of Classics at the University of Cincinnati, and the Institute for Aegean Prehistory, and runs under the aegis of the British School at Athens with the permission of the Greek Ministry of Culture. Publication is planned in a series of peer-reviewed articles.

UC Classics faculty have a long history with the Loeb Classical Libary Foundation and have won five of these fellowships in the last decade.

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Valerie Hotchkiss, a 1982 B.A. in Classics, has been selected as one of the two recipients of this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award given by the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences. The ceremony will be held on April 12 at Music Hall.

Professor Hotchkiss attended the University of Cincinnati as a scholarship student, supported by the Louise Taft Semple Scholarship for the study of Classical Languages (1979-82). She holds a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies from Yale and serves as the head of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She has written several books on topics relating to religious studies and books, including: Clothes Make the Man: Female Cross Dressing in Medieval Europe(1996/2000); Creeds and Confessions of Faith in the Christian Tradition (with Jaroslav Pelikan, 2003); English in Print from Caxton to Shakespeare to Milton (2008) and Miracle within a Miracle: Johannes Reuchlin and the Jewish Book Controversy(2011, with David Price).

Valerie is a proud Cincinnati native, always quick to describe its charms or recount its history to anyone who will listen. She and her husband David Price (UC  B.A. and M.A.) collect 19th and early 20th-century Cincinnati art and have a growing collection of books on Cincinnati as well.  They are also instilling a love of Cincinnati in their Texas-born son, Samuel, by visiting the Queen City as often as they can.

It has been difficult to keep up with the awards that are streaming in for our undergraduate and graduate students so here they are collected:

  • Bill Weir has won a Fulbright to Cyprus
  • Alexandros Laftsidis has won a University Research Council grant for his summer research at the site of Mochlos
  • Chris Cloke has won a prestigious Dissertation Completion Award from the Graduate School. Only five are awarded each year, and the competition is university-wide. This is the department's third in the five years of award's existence.
  • Amanda Pavlick is this year's recipient of the Rawson award for a project in Italy
  • Amanda Pavlick again, who has been accepted to the BSA Fitch laboratory's Petrology Workshop
  • Andrew Connor is this year's recipient of the Boulter award for a project in the US
  • Michelle Martinez won FIRST PLACE in the 2013 national Eta Sigma Phi competition in Latin Prose Composition.
  • Michelle has also been appointed to the national steering committee to organize the 100th anniversary of Eta Sigma Phi, in Chicago in April 2014. Her Certamen team also came in second, nationally.