[MGSA-L] Princeton Hellenic Studies Workshop: April 13, 2011

Dimitri H. Gondicas gondicas at Princeton.EDU
Thu Apr 7 13:54:32 PDT 2011


Program in Hellenic Studies


How Does a City Disappear?
Re-Searching Byzantine Messene

Nikos Tsivikis
University of Crete;
Ancient Messene Excavation

Messene, in the southwest Peloponnese, has been a locus par excellence for travelers and lovers of antiquity, since the birth of interest for the Greek classical past.   The excavation of the ancient city of Messene began in 1830 and has uncovered a magnificent Hellenistic and Roman city adorned with great civic buildings and monuments, including the Stadium, the Theater, an Odeum, temples and sanctuaries, and the Agora. The continuation of life and settlement on the site gave way to a far more modest pattern of habitation during the Late Antique (4th-6th c. CE) and the Transitional periods (7th-8th c. CE), suggesting fundamental changes to habitation and human activity there.  The talk will present Byzantine Messene against the horizon of expectations of scholars endeavoring to visit, excavate and study the site, from the end of the eighteenth century until today, thus demonstrating the distance between imagined archaeological expectations and the actual material remains. The archaeological evidence reveals aspects of this new - 'medieval' - way of life, leading to a broader question: whether one can still use the analytical category of the 'city' - as opposed to terms such as 'town' or 'village' - in the discussion of intermediate early medieval settlements.

Nikos Tsivikis is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History and Archaeology of the University of Crete and currently a Visiting Research Collaborator at the History Department of Princeton University. He is also a research affiliate at the Institute for Mediterranean Studies (FORTH) and a senior member of both the Amorium Excavations Project in Asia Minor, and the Ancient Messene Excavations and Restoration Project in the Peloponnese.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011
6:00 p.m.
Scheide Caldwell House, Room 103

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