Guest Speakers Offer Fresh Perspectives

25346086739_4e8f017b56_kTwo dynamic scholars visited the department this fall. Dr. Donna Yates (University of Glasgow, pictured on left) brought her expertise on antiquities trafficking to campus. She gave a public lecture to an audience of almost 100 with another 41 people watching it stream live. The talk traced factors enabling looting and illicit antiquities sales around the world, raising questions about how policy and scholarship could more effectively prevent the destruction of the past. She also gave a workshop for graduate students in which she analyzed the humanitarian disasters in Syria and Iraq as examples of policy dilemmas. Students were engaged in a discussion of how scholarship and media can work or conflict when it comes to curtailing looting and smuggling.

KK-skeleton-photog (1)Dr. Kristina Killgrove (University of West Florida, pictured on right) gave a public lecture on her bioarchaeological research in Rome. Her work uses the archaeological record and biochemical analysis (DNA, stable isotope) to identify immigrants within cemeteries from Imperial Roman society, providing a more complete picture of how slaves, foreigners, and native-born Romans lived together. She writes a well known blog, “Powered by Osteons,” and is a guest writer for Forbes and Mental Floss. Dr. Killgrove’s workshop on best writing practices for writing for the general public allowed graduate and undergraduate students to consider how blogging and online media could be a fun way to convey anthropological ideas to a broader audience while creating some income and spurring public discussions.

Both scholars visited the same week, so they were able to attend each other’s events and participate in a productive conversation across the department about engaging the public through blogs and other social media. Both of their workshops were at capacity with 35 attendees. Dr. Killgrove’s talk was sponsored by the Archaeological Institute of America while her workshop was sponsored by the Department of Anthropology. Dr. Yates’ visit was made possible by the Alumni and Friends Expendable Fund for Archaeology with co-sponsorship from eight additional units across the university.

This article appears in our Fall 2016 newsletter. Read the entire newsletter here.