News and Notes


banner image: Moundville, Alabama


For upcoming events, see our new Facebook page for "Excavate AIA-North Alabama Society"

We will no longer be regularly updating this blog.  You can find information about our upcoming events and recent news in archaeology at our Facebook page:



Sadly, due to issues with air flights, Mr. Brownlee could not make it to Huntsville.  We will try to reschedule at a later date.

Kevin Brownlee, curator of Archaeology of the Manitoba Museum, focuses on the archaeology of Manitoba's boreal forest and the emerging field of indigenous archaeology.  Brownlee has spent his career working with Indigenous communities raising awareness of ancient heritage and archaeology.

"Experimental Archaeology:  How We Know What We Know," Tuesday, 1 March 12:45pm
Wilson Hall 168, UAH Campus.

"First Nations of Canada:  Archaeology & Repatriation of Ancestral Remains," Tuesday, 1 March, 7:30 pm, Chan Auditorium, Business Administration Building,

The events are free and open to the public.  Please come and bring a friend!


AIA TALK: When is a Statue Not a Statue? 17 February 2016

Carol C. Mattusch, Mathy Professor of Art History at George Mason University, teaches courses on Greek, Roman, and 18th-century art and archaeology. Her specialty is classical bronzes, in particular the connections among technology, artistic styles, and the market in the ancient Mediterranean world.

Mattusch is the principal author and editor of Pompeii and the Roman Villa: Art and Culture around the Bay of Naples (2008). Her other books include The Villa dei Papiri at Herculaneum: Life and Afterlife of a Sculpture Collection (2005); The Victorious Youth (1997); Classical Bronzes: The Art and Craft of Greek and Roman Statuary (1996); Greek Bronze Statuary: From the Beginnings through the Fifth Century B.C. (1988); and Bronzeworkers in the Athenian Agora (1982).

"An Introduction to Herculaneum:  The Villa dei Papiri"
2:20 PM 17 February 2016
Wilson Hall 168, UAH Campus

"When is a Statue Not a Statue?  The Case of Bronze Youths"
7:30 PM 17 Februrary 2016
Chan Auditorium, Business Administration Building, UAH Campus


AIA Talk: Reconstructing the Story of an Ancient Hindu Temple 25 January 7:30 pm

Dr. Cathleen Cummings, University of Alabama at Birmingham

11:10 AM, Wilson Hall 168 (Art History Lecture Hall)
"The Hindu Gods and Their Temples"

7:30 PM, Wilson Hall Theatre
"Monument as Text: Reconstructing the Story of an Ancient Hindu Temple"

Cathleen Cummings received her doctorate from The Ohio State University, specializing in the art of South Asia, with minors in Islamic and Himalayan Buddhist art. Her book, Decoding A Hindu Temple: Royalty and Religion in the Iconographic Program of the Virupaksha Temple, Pattadakal, was published in 2014. She has also published on Buddhist paintings of Tibet and Nepal, early modern painting in India, and Hindu architecture associated with death and cremation.

In her day talk Dr. Cummings will address essential elements of Hinduism. “There is only one God, but endless are his aspects and endless are his names.” What is Hinduism? Who are the primary deities of Hinduism? Where are they worshipped? How do devotees interact with the divine? Her discussion will introduce the most widely worshiped deities in the Hindu pantheon and explore the development of Hindu temples and the nature of worship.

For Dr. Cummings evening talk we will dig more deeply into a single case study. The temples of the Early Chalukya dynasty (ca. 544-757), whose domains extended through the modern Indian states of Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh, represent the earliest and largest group of freestanding stone structures in South India. The largest and most important of their temples is the Virupaksha Temple, erected in approximately 733 at the dynasty’s royal consecration site. In this talk she will introduce the Virupaksha Temple, exploring the temple sculpture’s iconographic program as an expression of Hindu kingship. She will also consider the kinds of evidence archaeologists and art historians use to try to make sense of monuments such as this, given the dearth of textual evidence or histories.


AIA Talk: Monsters and Demons 28 October 2015 7:30 PM Wilson Hall 168

Wednesday, 10/28
Dr. Karen Sonik
Auburn University

"Medusa and Lamashtu: Feminine Alterity in Greece and the Ancient Near East"
Wilson Hall 168 (art history lecture hall)
2:20 PM


"Monsters & Demons at the Dawn of Civilization"
Wilson Hall 168 (art history lecture hall)
7:30 PM
These talks are generously co-sponsored by the UAH Women's and Gender Studies program.

As always, our talks are free and open to the public. Please feel free to forward the poster and other information to anyone who might be interested. We look forward to you joining us for fascinating discussions about archaeology and our past.


AIA TALK: Mirror, Mirror: Reflections of Femininity in Ancient Greece 1 October 2015

Dr. Mireille M. Lee
Vanderbilt University

Wilson Hall Theatre, UAH campus
7:30 pm Thursday 1 October 2015


Wine Event! Native American Feasting! Fund Raiser for our Chapter! 18 April

Our biannual fundraiser will be Saturday, April 18th 6-8 PM at the home of Ann and John Kvach. Hope you have purchased or will purchase your tickets and help promote our event! As with all of our events, it's open to the public. Have friends who are wine lovers? Fun to be around? Interested in Native American History?

We will be tasting wines from Chile and Argentina and learning about Native American Feasting from Redstone Arsenal Archaeologist Ben Hoksbergen. We'll also have our eclectic and wonderful Silent Auction.

This year our local society funded: Dr. Jungers (early humans), Dr. Larson (dog domestication), Br. Brite (Central Asia), and Dr. Pagani (China on April 9) :-).

$40 couple
$25 single
$15 retirees

Checks "UAH Art Gift Account" mailed to Lillian Joyce at UAH Art Department or bring to one of the China talks on the 9th.  

AIA TALK! Clocks at the Chinese Court 9 --April 7:30 PM

Dr. Catherine Pagani, University of Alabama, to give two talks on China on April 9.

"Art, Politics, and Patrimony in Twentieth-Century China"

12:45 in Wilson Hall 168 (Art History Lecture Hall)

The fall of the Qing dynasty in 1911 ended two thousand years of imperial rule and ushered in a period of political, economic, and cultural instability. The resulting changes had a profound effect on Chinese art. In the first decades of the century, European influence on painting was strong; by mid-century, however, this influence shifted to the Russian socialist-realist style advocated by the Communist government. The political turmoil also affected the vast collection of art that was built by and had been the property of China’s imperial family. These objects took on increasing cultural importance long into the late twentieth century.

"Self-Sounding Bells, Sing-songs, and Glittering Gewgaws: Elaborate Clocks at the Chinese Court"
7:30 in Wilson Hall Theatre

The Chinese imperial fascination with elaborate European clocks and watches began in the early seventeenth century. By the mid-eighteenth century, the collection numbered into the thousands and included pieces made in Europe and China. While their mechanical technology was Western (introduced to the Chinese by Jesuit missionaries), their cases were a mixture of Chinese, Chinese-inspired, and European elements resulting in objects that were hybrids of East and West. These elaborate clocks not only offer a means of understanding Chinese imperial taste and how the emperor used art as a show of power, but also tell us much concerning the meeting of cultures in the Qing dynasty.


AIA TALK! Chaco Canyon: A New History 12 March 2015

Thursday, March 12

“Ancient North America, Entire” 12:45 Wilson Hall 168

“Chaco Canyon: a new History of a Pueblo Capital” 7:30 Wilson Hall Theatre

Dr. Stephen Lekson, Curator of Archaeology at the Museum of Natural History at the University of Colorado, Boulder, a winner of the Roy Chapman Andrews Distinguished Explorer award, is an expert on the sites of Chaco Canyon, Mimbres, and Mesa Verde. He has been involved in over 20 archaeological projects throughout the US Southwest.

In his day talk, Dr. Lekson will address a central issue. Archaeologists tend to specialize in particular regions. Native traditional histories are often specific to individual Tribes and Nations. An examination of the 11th & 12th centuries illustrates the potential for learning new things from the "big picture": Chaco, Cahokia, Tula, Chichen Itza, and Aztatlan.

Dr. Lekson’s evening talk will focus on Chaco Canyon. New data from its extensive hinterland suggest an exciting new history of this famous but mysterious site and the “Chaco Meridian” that connected it to other extraordinary sites.