Lecture Program

AIA Lecturer: Kathryn Gleason

Affiliation: Cornell University

Kathryn Gleason is Professor of Landscape Architecture at Cornell University, and holds her degrees from Cornell, Harvard University (MA) and Oxford University (PhD in European Archaeology).  Her areas of specialization include the archaeology of landscape architecture, Roman and Mediterranean archaeology, and environmental archaeology, and she is the Project Director and Senior Landscape Archaeologist for the “Horti Stabiani” Garden Project at Stabiae, Italy.  Her current publications include (as a co-editor) Gardens of the Roman Empire (2018), and she served as Executive Editor for this volume after the death of Wilhelmina Jashemski in 2008.  Professor Gleason is the AIA’s 2020/2021 Jashemski Lecturer.

Professor Gleason invites all to visit the Gardens of the Roman Empire  website, where, for the first time, information on all of the known gardens of the Roman Empire is available and being added to as an ongoing project.


In the mid-1950s Wilhelmina Jashemski set out to research and write a book on the gardens of the Roman Empire to better understand daily life in the various cultures around the Mediterranean.  The topic, while initially appearing manageable, developed into a major new area of research, not only in classical studies, but as an area of archaeological investigation globally.  This talk surveys exciting new discoveries of Roman gardens around Europe, Asia, and North Africa in the 25 years since Jashemski’s completed her last field season. The speaker invites archaeologists and the public to engage in the newly published book and updatable Gardens of the Roman Empire website project.

Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:

Jashemski, Wilhelmina F., Kathryn L. Gleason, Kim J. Hartswick and Amina-Aicha Maleks, eds.  Gardens of the Roman Empire.  Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2018.

Howe, Thomas N., Ian Sutherland, Kathryn Gleason, Michele Palmer, eds.. The Excavation and Study of the Garden of the Great Peristyle of the Villa Arianna, Stabiae, 2007-2012, Quaderni di Studi Pompeiani VI, 2016.    (Printed & released June 2017)

Malek, Amina-Aïcha, ed. The Sourcebook for Garden Archaeology.  Bern:  Peter Lang, 2013.

Gleason, Kathryn, Editor.  Gardens of Antiquity, Volume 1, Cultural History of Gardens, Michael Leslie and John Dixon Hunt, Series Editors.  London:  Bloomsbury Press, 2013.

Miller, Naomi F., and Kathryn L. Gleason, eds. The Archaeology of Garden and Field. Philadelphia:  University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994

The Nagaur-Ahhichatragarh fortress palace in the Thar desert of Rajasthan, India was built in the 12th c. atop a 5th century AD fort.  By the 18th century, it had become a luxurious compound fed by a desert rainwater harvesting system during the Mughal period.  Excavations on behalf of the Mehrangarh Museum Trust in 2005 and 2006 revealed surprising details about the role of the gardens in this remarkable system, one that used subirrigation to prevent loss of moisture to evapotranspiration while sustaining an oasis of abundant gardens so abundantly represented in Mughal paintings.

Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:

Tillotson, Giles Henry Rupert. Nagaur: A Garden Palace in Rajasthan. Mehrangarh Museum Trust, 2010


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