Free and open to the public AIA Lecture no. 316: Light the Beacons: Investigating Fortress Landscapes in Armenia by Tiffany Earley-Spadoni, University of Central Florida.
Presented by The Archaeological Institute of America, Rockford Society
in collaboration with The Burpee Museum of Natural History
and The Classics Program of Rockford University
in The Burpee Museum of Natural History
737 North Main Street
on Tuesday, October 29, 2019
at 7:30 P.M.
Fire beacon communication is not simply an artistic invention of the Tolkien science fiction universe. Until quite recently in human history, people used systems of fire and smoke to communicate messages at the speed of light. The world’s oldest communications networks, however, originate in the fortress landscapes of the ancient Near East, and this lecture will discuss their invention and use in times of peril.
The Vayots Dzor Fortress Landscapes Project (VDFLP), an archaeological research project in Armenia directed by the speaker, is investigating fire beacon networks and other human responses to danger in a precarious alpine environment. In recent field seasons, the VDFLP team has performed regional survey and targeted excavations at major fortress sites. The ancient fortresses that dot the landscape date to both the Iron Age and the medieval Silk Roads periods, and the VDFLP is investigating the rise and fall of fortress culture during these two periods. Professor Earley-Spadoni, an Assistant Professor in the department of history with a secondary appointment in the department of anthropology at the University of Central Florida, Orlando, holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of Georgia and both M.A. and PhD. in Near Eastern Studies from The Johns Hopkins University. She is currently the Director of The Vayots Dzor Fortress Landscapes Project in Armenia. Other fieldwork experience includes site and survey supervision in Iraq, Italy, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and elsewhere in Armenia. She has published extensively. The Vartan Gregorian Lecturer, chosen by the Lecture Program Committee of the national AIA, visits one local society annually.
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