March 23, 2022
The Richmond Society has remained busy throughout the pandemic. Thanks to active Society Officers, opportunities for collaboration amongst other Societies and universities in the area, and a strong social media presence, they’ve welcomed new friends to their virtual programming and fulfilled their mission to excite and inspire people of all ages. Michael S. Phillips, the President of the Richmond Society, shares a full update on what’s been going on in Richmond below.
“The Richmond Society is one of the older AIA Societies, having been established in 1912. It is amazing to think about the changing times that our Society has seen over the past century, including the recent pandemic. We aim to share archaeological knowledge with our community and raise awareness of the importance of cultural heritage preservation, worldwide as well as right here in Richmond and throughout Virginia. We also seek to bring together community members who share interests in archaeology, art, history, and past cultures. We believe that the study of archaeology can better the human condition.
Throughout the pandemic, the Richmond Society has remained strong and continued to deliver thought-provoking lectures virtually. We felt it was important to continue to come together in spite of not being able to meet in person. I like to think that the opportunity to come together for our lectures and discussion made the pandemic a bit more bearable and helped us through. Our chapter seeks to excite and inspire, something that is needed now more than ever! One advantage of being virtual is increased participation from a number of friends and colleagues all over the country and the world. It is great to be able to share our programs with a wider audience!
We are fortunate in Virginia to have many universities collaborating together including our wonderful partner University of Richmond as well as the University of Virginia, William & Mary, and Virginia Commonwealth University. Recent program topics have included The Image of Africa in Early Modern Vergil Commentaries, Using Ancient DNA to Study Human History, Religious Ritual On Board the Greco-Roman Ship, Lowland Maya Settlement Patterns as Seen through LiDAR, Nubian Queen: How an Ancient African Kingdom Became a Symbol of Feminine Power and Vice Versa, and The Etruscan Helmets from Vetulonia. We were also pleased to partner with the Charlottesville Society of the AIA for a book talk and Q&A with UVA’s Fiona Greenland (Sociology & Anthropology), author of Ruling Culture: Art Police, Tomb Raiders, and the Rise of Cultural Power in Italy (University of Chicago Press, 2021). Our virtual expeditions took us from Africa to Eturia to Guatemala, and even under the Mediterranean Sea!
While going virtual has enabled us to continue to excite and inspire many far and wide, we are looking forward to being back in person again for upcoming lectures. This is one of the great benefits of having a Society in Richmond. In May we plan to be back in person with Jack Gary, Director of Archaeology at Colonial Williamsburg. Jack will speak about all of the recent exciting archaeological discoveries at Colonial Williamsburg. We also plan to take a field trip to the 1714 Fort Germanna and Alexander Spotswood’s Enchanted Castle Archaeology sites. As usual, we invite all to join us whether it be virtual or in person. For more information about our upcoming events, please visit our website at www.aiarichmondsociety.org and sign up for our mailing list.”
Thank you to Michael for sharing this wonderful update from Richmond! It’s great to hear how positive and welcoming the Society has remained throughout the pandemic and how well they’ve adapted to a virtual environment. We hope their transition back to in-person events is just as smooth!