There’s a revolution happening today in the way we value, discover, and imagine the past. On the negative side, ancient sites by the thousands—not only in the Middle East but all over the world—are being bulldozed, looted, vandalized, or blown up or merely vandalized. Feature films, bestsellers and specialized cable documentaries hopelessly muddle archaeological fiction and fact. Yet on the positive side, advanced satellite imagery and LIDAR sensors are uncovering complex civilizations in deserts and jungles where none were assumed to ever exist. Virtual reality environments and 3D digital reconstructions are now used both for scientific documentation and immersive museum experiences, and the sheer social reach of Facebook, Twitter, and research-by-crowd sourcing is offering archaeologists unprecedented opportunities to engage the general public in their work.
Neil Silberman, author and heritage interpretation professional with a special interest in emerging trends and techniques for public engagement, will address “Rebooting Antiquity: How Holy Wars, Media Type, and Digital Technologies Are Changing the Face of 21st Century Archaeology” in a lecture scheduled for Thursday, October 27, at 6 pm at the Nashville Parthenon. Silberman will highlight some recent discoveries and ongoing controversies in the Americas, Europe, and Asia that exemplify the dramatic new directions that archaeology is taking in our globalized, internet age.
In 2008, Silberman joined the faculty of the Department of Anthropology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and became one of the founders of its Center for Heritage and Society. He also served as co-editor of its journal Heritage & Society (2008-2014) and is a member of the editorial boards of the International Journal of Cultural Property and the Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology and Heritage Studies.
This lecture, free and open to the public, is cosponsored by the Archaeological Institute of America, the Vanderbilt University Program for Classical and Mediterranean Studies, and The Conservancy for the Parthenon and Centennial Park. Those who plan to attend the AIA lecture are encouraged to call the Nashville Parthenon at 615.862.8431 to reserve a seat.