Lea Stirling, associate professor of classics, University of Manitoba, will deliver the first Archaeological Institute of America lecture of the academic year on Thursday, September 18, at 6 pm at the Nashville Parthenon in Centennial Park. Stirling will introduce us to her excavations at Leptiminus (Lamta), Tunisia, in her lecture titled Food, Funerals, and Fuel at Leptiminus: Honoring the Dead in Roman Africa.
“Textual sources, inscriptions, and ancient images all indicate that dining and food offerings for the dead were an important element in funerals and commemoration,” wrote Stirling. “These discussions are usually unspecific about ‘menus,’ however, and archaeological evidence of actual food remains has often been sparser still. Thus, during excavations (2004-2006) at the East Cemetery of Leptiminus (Lamta, Tunisia), an important focus of the project was to collect physical evidence of food remains, namely bones, seeds, and residues. Finds related to food preparation and certain architectural features (particularly libation tubes and offering tables) provide further insight.”
Stirling holds a Canada Research Council Chair in Roman Archaeology. She has co-directed excavations in Roman kilns and cemeteries at the ancient city of Leptiminus, Tunisia, and participated in fieldwork at Germa, Libya, Carthage, Tunisia and Roccagloriosa, Italy. She specializes in Roman art and archaeology, including that of the Roman provinces, Late Antiquity, and North Africa. Her art historical research focuses on Roman and Late Antique statuary and its role in society.
“Betsey Robinson, Robin Jensen, and I had the very great pleasure of traveling to North Africa with Lea two years ago,” said Barbara Tsakirgis, associate professor of classical studies and history of art, “and we are eager to have her here so that everyone can enjoy learning about the exciting work she and her team are doing at Leptiminus.”
Free and open to the public, Stirling’s lecture is sponsored by the Nashville Society of the Archaeological Institute of America and Vanderbilt’s Department of Classical Studies. Those who plan to attend the lecture are encouraged to call the Nashville Parthenon at 615.862.8431 to reserve a seat.