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October 20, 2006

Innovative Archaeologist to Deliver 17th Annual Lehmann Lecture at Smith College

NORTHAMPTON, Mass.—Susan E. Alcock, an innovative classical archaeologist, pioneer of “landscape archaeology” and professor of classics at Brown University, will discuss her work as leader of an international collaborative exploration in Armenia at Smith College Monday, Nov. 6.

Her talk, titled “A River Runs Through It: The Vorotan Project, Southern Armenia,” will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Graham Auditorium, Hillyer, Brown Fine Arts Center. A reception will follow in the atrium. Sponsored by the Archaeological Institute of America, Western Massachusetts Society, the event is free and open to the public.

Alcock’s Vorotan Project, which she launched in 2005, explores the topography and trajectory of Armenia’s Vorotan River watershed using a variety of archeological techniques:  satellite analysis, excavation, regional survey and mortuary analyses.

The inaugural director of the Artemis A. W. and Martha Sharp Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World at Brown University, Alcock was a 2001 recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. She  earned her degrees in the field of classical archaeology at Yale University and the University of Cambridge.

For most of her career, Alcock’s fieldwork was located in Greece and typically focused on regional investigations. But the Vorotan Project took Alcock in a new direction.

While conventional archaeologists often dig into the ground to find long-buried clues to past life in an area, Alcock’s method of “landscape archaeology” combines techniques to “comb the surface” of sites.

Among the books that Alcock has written or edited are “Archaeologies of the Greek Past: Landscape, Monuments and Memory,” winner of the Spiro Kostof Award from the Society of Architectural Historians; “Pausanias: Travel and Memory in Roman Greece”; “Empires: Perspectives from History and Archaeology”; “The Archaeology of Memory”; and “Side-by-Side Survey: Comparative Regional Analysis in the Mediterranean Region.”

The Lehmann Lecture honors longtime Smith faculty member Phyllis Williams Lehmann, who died in 2004. Lehmann taught at Smith from 1946 until her retirement in 1978.

For more information, contact Jayne Mercier at (413) 585-3390.

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