The Pastness of the Past: Thoughts about archaeology and its practice in Greece


2017 Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens Visiting Professor

Start Date

12th Sep 2017 6:00pm

End Date

12th Sep 2017 7:00pm


Centenary Lecture Theatre, Grosvenor Crescent, Sandy Bay campus

RSVP / Contact Information

E: or T: 6226 2299

presented by

Professor James C. Wright

American School for Classical Studies at Athens (Director)
& Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania


A Bronze Age specialist, Professor Wright’s primary research is in the evolution of complex societies in the Aegean. This grew out of interests in architecture and urbanism, and led him to explore the social aspects of community formation and maintenance—subjects such as prestige display, mortuary customs, and feasting. He has had a long held interest in ancient Greek architecture, especially as it informed the development of ancient communities and their sanctuaries, the regional character of ancient Greece, and the spread of Hellenic culture.

This lecture illustrates the origins of archaeology in the Renaissance and how, in concert with discoveries in the natural sciences during  the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution, archaeology matured and divided into different branches. From these beginnings it is explained how archaeology has developed into a global practice while still following traditional lines of investigation in Greece.  Also discussed is the need in contemporary archaeological investigation to  understand archaeological context, and how archaeological deposits are formed.  In conclusion is a consideration of how studies in climate variability in the Old World are changing the nature of our interpretation of the past.