Societies News

December 9, 2022

Spotlighting the Western Massachusetts Society

The Western Massachusetts Society kicked off the 2022/2023 season strong! They hosted one of their most well attended National Lectures ever in September, and followed that up with their first archaeology fair in October to celebrate International Archaeology Day 2022. Shannon LaFayette Hogue, President of the Society, shares a full update with us below.

“The Western Massachusetts Society welcomed the fall semester with great enthusiasm for the new school year and our first in-person events since pre-covid times. Professor Fiona Greenland (University of Virginia) visited on September 27 for our National Lecture and delivered her talk on “Operation Demeter: What Italy’s Largest Antiquities Bust Reveals about Archaeological Looting Today.” We hosted Professor Greenland’s lecture in a hybrid format, which afforded opportunities for Society members to engage in person as a community and to enjoy her wildly popular talk by tuning in remotely from locations throughout the region. The combined turnout was our best in recent years. Hot on the heels of our successful National Lecture and in celebration of International Archaeology Day 2022 on October 15, the Western Mass Society hosted its first-ever Archaeology Day Fair in the Bromery Arts Plaza at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass). With interdisciplinary volunteers from among our Society members at UMass, Mt. Holyoke College, and Smith College, as well as colleagues and students in the UMass Anthropology and Classics departments, it was a smashing success, even garnering press in the UMass Daily Collegian. Tables at the fair provided visitors the chance to learn about archaeology from our local scholars through fun, interactive activities. Visitors could make a paper mosaic, write their name in an ancient script, investigate historical archaeology in the nearby Quabbin Reservoir through LiDAR data, view a Bronze Age settlement reconstructed in Minecraft, get a glimpse of famous faces captured in ancient coin replicas, imagine ancient life by matching vase replicas to modern objects that serve similar functions, make a curse tablet, and reassemble a replica human skeleton. After a very successful fall, the Western Mass Society is planning for an equally exciting spring. In February, Dr. Catherine Baker (Mt. Holyoke College) will deliver a talk sponsored by the AIA’s Ellen and Charles S. La Follette Lecture Grant, and later in the semester we’ll organize a guided tour of the archaeological remains at the Quabbin Reservoir.”

Bravo to the Western Massachusetts Society for organizing such wonderful events this fall! We hope their spring events will be equally successful!

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