AIA Lecture Series- Before the Parthenon: The Architecture of the Archaic Athenian Acroplois

Date: Time: 7:30 pm
Richards Hall Room: 15
Additional Info: RH
The Lincoln-Omaha Society of the Archaeological Institute of America announces the fourth lecture on archaeology for the 2013 – 2014 season. Nancy Klein, a classical archaeologist from Texas A&M University, will present a public lecture on what the Athenian Acropolis was like before the Parthenon was constructed in the 440s BC.

Our modern view of the Acropolis is focused on the magnificent temple of Athena Parthenos, built under the leadership of the Athenian statesman Pericles in the 5th century BC. In the early 19th century AC, the fledgling country of Greece devoted itself to establishing a national identity that reflected its classical heritage. The Acropolis of Athens was central to this vision and became a symbol of the birthplace of democracy and the humanistic arts. While this vision reflects the acme of Athenian culture, it also eclipses thousands of years of human activity before and after the Parthenon. In the 19th century, efforts to free the classical monuments of the Acropolis from the overburden of later history saw the removal of many post-classical buildings and an excavation from modern ground levels to bedrock. An unexpected result of these excavations was the discovery of thousands of fragments of architecture, sculpture, pottery, and small finds from the early history of the Acropolis.

In this lecture, Klein presents the architectural evidence for small limestone buildings whose remains were uncovered in the 19th century excavations, as well as an overview of the development of monumental architecture in the sanctuary on the Acropolis from the archaic to the classical periods. In particular, she examines the ‘life-history’ of these buildings, from formal evidence for their design and construction to an examination of archaeological context of reuse. Her conclusions suggest that the architecture of the archaic and early classical Acropolis introduced a variety of forms echoed in later Periclean buildings. Moreover, the programmatic reuse and recycling of damaged or redundant buildings in the second half of the fifth century suggests a complex approach to the rebuilding of the Acropolis as an expression of constructed memory.

Nancy Klein is Associate Professor in the Department of Architecture at Texas A&M University, where she teaches courses in art and architectural history. She received degrees from the University of Michigan (A.B. Classical Studies and French) and Bryn Mawr College (M.A., Ph. D. Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology). She has participated in fieldwork in England, France, Greece, and the United States. Her research and publications explore the relationship of architecture and society in Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age Crete, the development of the classical orders and the architecture of the archaic/early classical sanctuary on the Acropolis of Athens. She has published articles on the Greek temples at Mycenae, Greek roof construction, and is a part of the publication team for the Late Minoan IIIC settlement at Kavousi Vronda. She is currently studying the architecture and sculpture of the pre-classical buildings on the Athenian Acropolis.

Dr. Klein’s lecture is sponsored by the Department of Art and Art History at UNL, and the Lincoln-Omaha Society of the Archaeological Institute of America.

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