RadioCIAMS – Steve Kosiba

On October 14, 2016 University of Minnesota archaeologist Steve Kosiba met a panel of CIAMS students (Kelli Breeden, Andrew Crocker, Perri Gerard-Little, Katie Jarriel, and Sam Sanft) and faculty (Adam Smith, host) to discuss materiality, constructions of value, and placemaking among the Inka.

In preparation for discussion, the participants read:

  • Bauer, A. and Kosiba, S. 2016. How things act: An archaeology of materials in political life. Journal of Social Archaeology 16(2): 115-141.
  • Kosiba, S. 2012. Emplacing value, cultivating order: places of conversion and practices of subordination throughout early Inka state formation (Cusco, Peru). In J.K. Papadopoulos and G. Urton, eds. The Construction of Value in the Ancient World. Los Angeles: Cotsen Institute of Archaeology. Pp. 97-127.

The discussion of about an hour starts below:

RadioCIAMS – Matthew Canepa

canepa-photoOn September 23, 2016 University of Minnesota archaeologist Matthew Canepa meta panel of CIAMS students (Gabby Borenstein, Andrew Crocker, Jeanine Hoy, Jake Nabel, Jessica Plant, Ellie Reppy, Andrew Smith, and Jay Weimar)  and faculty (Ben Anderson and Lori Khatchadourian, host) to discuss iconography, architecture, and the construction of royal identity in the Sassanian Empire.

The discussion of approximately one hour opens below.

CIAMS Lecture Series – Matthew Canepa

canepa-poster-smSpeaker bio:
Matthew P. Canepa (PhD, University of Chicago) is an historian of art, archaeology and religions. His research focuses on the intersection of art, ritual and power in the eastern Mediterranean, Persia and the wider Iranian world. Prof. Canepa’s forthcoming book entitled The Iranian Expanse (University of California Press) is a large-scale study of the transformation of Iranian cosmologies, landscapes and architecture from the height of the Achaemenids to the coming of Islam.







Archaeology Undergraduate Pizza Dinner

Archaeology LunchInterested in studying archaeology, ancient languages, or ancient cultures? Come to a free pizza dinner!


Join students and faculty from Archaeology, Anthropology, and Classics to eat, get acquainted, and learn more about opportunities, courses, and events at Cornell!

Monday, September 19
5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
G24 Goldwin Smith Hall

Prof. Caitlin Barrett, Archaeology DUS (
Prof. Courtney Roby, Classics DUS (
Prof. Paul Nadasdy, Anthropology DUS (

CIAMS faculty members receive DCAPS Digitization Grant

A small section of the plans to be digitized under the grant

A small section of the plans to be digitized under the grant

CIAMS faculty members Jeff Zorn (Near Eastern Studies) and Lauren Monroe (Near Eastern Studies) recently received funding from the Grants Program for Digital Collections in Arts and Sciences at Cornell University in order to digitize the architectural plans for the site of Tell en-Naṣbeh, located 12 km north of Jerusalem in the West Bank. Approximately two thirds of this three hectare, primarily Iron Age, site was excavated by a team from Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA, between 1926–1935 under the direction of W. F. Badé. Tell en-Naṣbeh is one of the most broadly excavated sites in the southern Levant, making it of great importance for those interested in studying house construction, settlement planning and social organization. The full set of plans has, until now, only been available to those able to travel to Berkeley. This digitization project will at last make these important plans available to students and scholars at Cornell and around the world.

CIAMS 2016 Welcome Back Reception

pizza and sushiCome and help CIAMS students and faculty kick off the start of a great academic year! You’ll meet our incoming students and catch up on everyone’s summer adventures. Fare includes the traditional pizza and sushi, as well as cheese, wine, and other libations. 

CIAMS Welcome Back Reception
Thursday, September 1, 2016
5:30 p.m. (please note time change)
History of Art lounge (Goldwin Smith G08).

Gabby Borenstein wins Dolores Zohrab Liebmann Fellowship

Gabby BorensteinCIAMS PhD student Gabby Borenstein recently received a Dolores Zohrab Liebmann Fellowship for her archaeological research in Armenia.  The Cornell Graduate School website featured Gabby in a Student Spotlight, which may be found here. During her interview, Gabby had the following to say about her experience as a part of the CIAMS community:

The Cornell Institute for Archaeology and Material Studies (CIAMS) is both an institute and a community. I feel truly lucky to be a part of a scholarly group that transcends classrooms and lecture halls. It is rare to be surrounded by peers who are also teachers, and advisors who are also colleagues and unparalleled support systems. The university promotes a rich, culturally informed approach to archaeology that I knew would train me to be both the type of academic and individual I aspired to become.

Congratulations to Gabby on her outstanding achievement!

Astrid Van Oyen wins Cotsen Excavation Grant

Professor Astrid Van Oyen, who joins the faculty of CIAMS in the 2016-2017 academic year, has been awarded a Cotsen Excavation Grant by the Archaeological Institute of America for her field project at the site of Podere Marzuolo in southern Tuscany (Italy).

The Marzuolo Archaeological Project (MAP) is an international and interdisciplinary fieldwork project investigating the rural craft site of Podere Marzuolo. Professor Van Oyen’s collaborators on the project include Gijs Tol (University of Melbourne) and Rhodora Vennarucci (University of Arkansas).

Professor Astrid Van Oyen (center) at the Roman site Podere Marzuolo.

Professor Astrid Van Oyen (center) at the Roman site Podere Marzuolo.

Preliminary excavations at the site were undertaken in 2012-2013 under the aegis of the Roman Peasant Project. Over the next five years (2016-2021), MAP will investigate how knowledge was shuffled, how a community of practice was formed around ceramic production, and how innovation happened. MAP seeks to challenge the stereotypical view of a Roman countryside occupied by conservative, isolated, and economically underdeveloped farmers, and instead focuses on the changing practices of a crafting community that is highly diversified, well connected, and actively innovating.

In situ pottery at Marzuolo.

In situ pottery at Marzuolo.

Congratulations to Professor Van Oyen on her award and what promises to be an innovative and illuminating research project!

Photographs provided by Astrid Van Oyen.

Bill Mastandrea wins the CIAMS MA Thesis Prize

WJMCongratulations to Bill Mastandrea for winning the 2015/2016 CIAMS MA Thesis Prize! Bill’s thesis is entitled Cupellation at Kea: Investigating Potential Applications of the Minoan Conical Cup. Two of his advisors–Sturt Manning and Lori Khatchadourian–comment that Bill wrote a well-researched, well-written, and provocatively original thesis.

Bill was announced as the CIAMS MA Thesis Prize winner at the CIAMS graduation reception in May. The prize comes with a $250 cash award.

Bill plans to apply to Ph.D. programs in the upcoming year, and he is currently working to have his thesis published.  A synopsis of Bill’s prize-winning thesis may be found below:

Minoan Conical Cup - Boston MFA“An understanding of the coarseware Minoan conical or handleless cup, has long eluded Aegean archaeologists, despite the longevity of their production, use, and prevalence. This small, undecorated, coarseware vessel appears in great numbers at nearly all Minoan and Minoanizing sites throughout the Aegean, first appearing early in the Early Minoan Period (EM; 3100-2100/2050 BCE) on the island of Crete. By the early Late Minoan Period (LM; 1700/1675-1075/1050 BCE) the handleless cup had spread across the Aegean to Kea, Kythera, Melos, Thera, Mainland Greece, and portions of Western Anatolia in staggering numbers (Gillis 1990b, 1). This paper addresses how patterns in the distribution of handleless cups – within House A at Ayia Irini, Kea – and their association with other finds therein can inform the intended uses of and the social practices for which these ceramics were reserved and the degree to which these daily routines conformed to, or deviated from, social practices known from contemporary sites elsewhere in the Aegean. In pursuing the answer(s) to these questions I propose that, in addition to other possible of uses, the handleless cup at Ayia Irini was a vessel well-suited to use in the process of silver cupellation. This claim is supported by artifact distribution and density maps of the Period VI structure that reveal the spatial relationships between objects and features.”