Lecture Program

AIA Lecturer: Catherine K. Baker

Affiliation: Bryn Mawr College

Catherine K. Baker is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Bryn Mawr College, and holds her degrees in Classical Archaeology (Ph.D.), and Classics (M.A.) from the University of Cincinnati; History of Art and Archaeology (M.A.) from New York University; and Classical Archaeology and Ancient History (M.A.) from Brandeis University. Her areas of specialization are Roman archaeology and art history; Roman Republican history; ancient urbanism, imperialism, and colonialism; first millennium BCE Central Italy; the Central Apennines; Pompeii and the Bay of Naples; archaeologies of identity; Greek and Roman pottery and small finds; ancient trade and the economy. Her several forthcoming publications include Excavations at Pompeii (I.1, VIII.7, and the Porta Stabia). The Small Finds (with L.A. Lieberman, S.J.R. Ellis and contributors).

Abstracts:


From the chipped corners of an ancient die to the mortar on a reused inscription, artifacts tell stories. Archaeologists reconstruct these object biographies, tracing the lives of ancient artifacts from their creation to their final deposition. In this talk, I explore the stories of some of the artifacts excavated by the Pompeii Archaeological Research Project: Porta Stabia (University of Cincinnati), including dice and gaming pieces, statuettes, tools of potters, and even nails. These object biographies shed light not only on the way people first used these objects, but on their afterlives – the ways in which objects were discarded, recycled, and reused.  These lives and afterlives of objects, in turn, shape the archaeology of a site, allowing us to trace the complex patterns of use, reuse, and discard which characterized the history of one neighborhood in the Roman city of Pompeii.

 

Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic (for lay reader):

https://classics.uc.edu/pompeii/

Pottery was ubiquitous in the Roman world: amphorae were used to transport wine and other goods, and other vessel types were used for food preparation, serving, and storage.  But once a pot had served its purpose, or could no longer be used for that purpose, what happened then?  These pots often had second and third lives; they were recycled or reused in new spaces, often serving vastly different purposes.   This talk examines the prevalence of pottery recycling and reuse in one sub-elite Pompeian neighborhood, excavated by the Pompeii Archaeological Research Project: Porta Stabia (University of Cincinnati).  Even in this small neighborhood of just two city blocks we find pots reused in a variety of ways, from underground drainage systems to elements of commercial and industrial infrastructure.  The many forms of pottery reuse found in this neighborhood thus allow us to explore the ways in which residents of Pompeii imagined discarded pottery not as refuse but as a valuable resource to meet the needs of an urban populace.

 

Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic (for lay reader):

https://classics.uc.edu/pompeii/

Peña, J.T. 2007. Roman Pottery in the Archaeological Record. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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