Off and Running for Spring Events

Dear friends of AIA-Houston,

The annual meeting of the national AIA took place last week in New Orleans, and there were many Indiana Jones-style hats in the lobby of the Sheraton. But what’s important is what’s going on under them, of course, and in fact the dozens of talks and poster sessions demonstrated how wide and fascinating a field archaeology is. One bold graduate student is trying to calculate how many people the food shops and bars of Pompeii could have fed; she hopes ultimately to determine whether both the city’s elite and its plebeians “ate out” at these places, or whether such pleasures were reserved for the well-off.

On Saturday, a team of five scholars, one from the University of North Texas, presented new information on human evolution that they have found in excavating a cave in Dmanisi, Georgia: They’ve radio-dated a number of human fossils that suggest that Homo erectus began to populate Europe and Asia as long ago as 1.8 million years, considerably earlier than the current conventional wisdom of the field.

Egyptian expedition to Punt during the time of Queen Hatshepsut

There were a number of papers presented on the Yenikapi Byzantine port dig that was the topic of AIA-Houston’s lecture in October, and convention-goers were excited by the cover story in the January issue of National Geographic about “Naia,” the woman whose skull found in a flooded Mexican cave. Many of you know about her from a different angle, thanks to the talk we presented at HMNS in November by the co-director of the project, underwater archaeologist Dr. Dominique Rissolo.

AIA-Houston’s next presentation will be by Egyptologist Pat Remler, who’ll talk to us on February 3 about Queen Hatshepsut’s expedition to the land of Punt, a well-documented early example of luxury trade, and perhaps also of souvenir-hunting.

There’s a lot to learn—and I’m proud that AIA-Houston, with your support, helps to pass it on!

Rob Arndt President