Material Culture Fellow Talks

Kristen Mann and Maria Spathi

Date: Wednesday, 7 December 2022
Time: 11:00am EDT

On Wednesday, December 7, 2022, at 11:00am, two Early Career Material Culture Fellows in Hellenic Studies from CHS Greece will be visiting us in Washington, DC and giving a presentation on their research. We hope you can join us in person in House A, or on Zoom.

Speakers and Talk Summaries

Maria Spathi
The sanctuaries on Mount Ithome in ancient Messene. The interrelation of natural space, cult, and politics.

The city of ancient Messene in the southwest Peloponnese was founded in 369 BC and marked the end of Sparta´s long-standing predominance in the wider region of Messenia. Mount Ithome was considered a symbol of Messenian resistance – but also a traditional place of worship since the cult of Zeus Ithomatas on Ithome’s peak can be traced to before the new city’s founding. The sanctuary of Artemis Limnatis and that of Demeter were founded on its southern slope in Early Hellenistic times shortly after the foundation. All three were far from the city center but within the vast fortification wall that also encompassed a large area of cultivated and pastoral land. A key question is how the natural terrain, the cultic traditions of the wider region, and the political circumstances and pursuits of the newly founded city affected the foundation of the above sanctuaries and cults on the south slope of Mount Ithome. In other words, this presentation will aim to present all three sanctuaries and highlight the parameters that promoted the foundation of the sanctuaries of Artemis Limnatis and Demeter shortly after the foundation of the city.

About Maria

Maria Spathi is an Early Career Material Culture Fellow in Hellenic Studies 2022-23. Her research, based mainly on archaeological sources and data, focuses on the material culture and religion of the Greek world. Within this vast field, she has specialized in material from ancient sacred sites: where she teases out their interpretation in relation to the archaeological contexts, with a focus on specific rituals and supporting textual evidence. See Maria Spathi’s bio.

Kristen Mann
The Material Home at Geometric Zagora: Contextualizing social interaction and lived experience.

For decades, Zagora on Andros has been the poster child for social and settlement transformations in the 8th century BC Greece. Earlier theories regarding urban planning, social differentiation, and gendered space have long since become canon. Yet a contextual examination of three case-study houses – enabled by this fellowship – demonstrates that closer interrogation of Zagora’s material footprint not only belies such earlier narrative interpretations of the site but enables a far more nuanced picture of household behavior and inter-household dynamics to emerge.

About Kristen

Kristen Mann is an Early Career Material Culture Fellow in Hellenic Studies 2022-23. She specializes in Aegean Early Iron Age and Archaic archaeology (c. 1200-480 BC), particularly Cycladic settlement archaeology and social ecology, alongside household lived experience and archaeological context. Her interests span Greek social history more broadly, including: changing attitudes to women and identity politics; urban transformation and human-environment dynamics; and social, material, and cognitive approaches to object use and meaning in ancient contexts.) See Kristen Mann’s bio.