October 22, 2014

Society Spotlight: AIA Lincoln/Omaha Society

by Emily Maskas

Dr. Averett, president of Lincoln-Omaha Society, and archaeology students from Creighton University prepare excavation kits for the Russell Child Development Center Preschool Archaeology workshop.

The AIA Lincoln/Omaha Society was started in 1994 and was chartered in 1995, through the efforts of AIA Society Trustee and University of Nebraska–Lincoln Professor Michael Hoff, along with his colleague Prof. Effie Athanassopoulos and the late Prof. Kathryn Thomas. A relatively young society, Lincoln/Omaha often sees crowds of up to 200 people at lectures. Covering two cities, the society draws members from three local universities, the University of Nebraska Omaha, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, and Creighton University. Lectures are split between the University of Nebraska–Lincoln campus and the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, NE. Lectures sponsored by the AIA’s National Lecture Program are supplemented with talks from local and nationally-known archaeologists, academics and researchers, giving the Society a “very robust lecture series” of six lectures per academic year. Already this year, they have hosted a presentation on “Digitization, Restoration, and Visualization of Antiquities: Medieval Manuscripts and Scrolls from Herculaneum,” by Dr. Brent Seales.

According to Society President Prof. Erin Walcek Averett, “One of our most engaging lecture Roman Dinners and Barbarian Feasts with Dr. Scott de Brestianevents was the lecture in 2012 by Dr. Scott de Brestian – his talk ‘Roman Dinners and Barbarian Feasts: Food and Dining at the End of the Roman Empire’ was amazing and we… had separate tables for ‘barbarian’ and ‘Roman’ food and drink and the attendees absolutely loved this and it sparked very lively discussion after the lecture.”

Prof. Averett describes society membership as “well rounded.” Patrons of the Joslyn Art Museum frequently attend events, as do many interested members of the local community. There are also professional archaeologists in the society carrying out interesting fieldwork projects, including: Michael Hoff at Antiochia ad Cragum (Turkey); Erin Walcek Averett at the Athienou Archaeological Project (Cyprus); Effie Athanassopoulos at the Sanctuary of Zeus at Nemea (Greece); and Dr. Philip Sapirstein at the Digital Archaic Heraion Project at Mon Repos, Corfu (Greece).

For the past two years, the Society has hosted a weeklong series of events to celebrate International Archaeology Day, including a special lecture, a student workshop, a child-friendly workshop and a movie night. They plan to continue their Archaeology Day celebrations in the coming years. You can check out their 2012 schedule here:



The Lincoln/Omaha Society’s next lecture, through the AIA’s National Lecture Program, is “The Un-Heroic in Archaic Greek Art,” presented by Dr. Thomas H. Carpenter at the Joslyn Art Museum on Sunday, Nov. 2 at 2:00pm. If you are in the Lincoln/Omaha area, we urge you to check it out.

We wish the Society and its members the best over the 2014-2015 academic year, and are interested to hear about the unique lectures they are planning to host.

Current AIA members in Nebraska who would like to become more involved with the AIA Lincoln/Omaha Society can contact Michael Hoff at for further information.

If you have any questions about membership with the AIA or your local society, please contact Deanna Baker at 617-353-8705 or

If you are a society president and would like to see your society featured, please contact Emily Maskas at 617-353-8703 or

To help support the Archaeological Institute of America’s National Lecture Program, click here now.

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