MONICA SMITH podcast on archaeological connection between cities and nations

Thursday January 14th, 7pm PST
AIA-LA Society

"Cities and Nations, What's the Connection? An Archaeological Perspective"

Monica Smith
Professor, Navin and Pratima Doshi Chair in Indian Studies, UCLA


The old-fashioned concept of “civilization" suggests that cities and political territories are mutually constituted and emerged at the same time in human history. But the two phenomena are actually quite different: cities are point specific locales that tend to be long lived, while nations and empires continually expand and contract their territories and often are short lived. Given these different configurations, how do cities and states mutually exploit each other to sustain themselves? An archaeological perspective, drawing from examples in India and Europe, places our own experiences of cities and states into perspective as an ongoing dynamic of lived urban spaces counterbalanced by national configurations and identities.

MONICA SMITH discusses archaeology of the feast in IOES magazine

Read the article at

This article was written in conversation with seminar participants Steven Ammerman, Eden Franz, Ariana Gunderson, Zachary Moss, and R.J. Sinensky.

VANESSA MUROS discusses conservation contributions to archaeology in inaugural panel from the Getty Research Institute

Vanessa Muros, director of the Experimental and Archaeological Sciences Laboratory (EASL), will be a panelist in the new Scholars Program series, Conversations on Context, from the Getty Research Institute.

These interdisciplinary panels will feature experts discussing their work in relation to an annual scholar theme. In light of this year's theme, The Fragment, this panel will focus on the manifold ways that fragmentary objects are analyzed, interpreted, and preserved in efforts to reconstruct our understanding of history.

Monday, December 7, 2020
10:30am – 12:00pm PT
Zoom Webinar

To join the webinar, please click the following link:
Passcode: 253062

Speakers Aaron de Souza (Institute for Oriental and European Archaeology at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna), Anna Prentiss (University of Montana), Marian Feldman (Johns Hopkins University) and Vanessa Muros (Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA) will each give a short presentation of their work, followed by a moderated discussion with Ken Lapatin (Antiquities Curator, Getty Villa).

LOTHAR VON FALKENHAUSEN in conversation on Chinese archaeology, moderated by LI MIN

Celebrating the publication of Lothar von Falkenhausen’s collected interviews, a Zoom conversation with the title “What Can Chinese Archaeology Contribute to the World?” was held December 3, 2020, from 2–4 pm. (PST). The discussion was between professor Haun Saussy of the University of Chicago and von Falkenhausen, who is professor of both Chinese archaeology and art history and a core faculty member of the Cotsen Institute. The conversation was moderated by Li Min, an associate professor of East Asian archaeology with a joint appointment in the departments of Anthropology and Asian Languages and Cultures and also a core faculty member of the Cotsen Institute. The volume “Archaeology, Scholarship, and Life: Collected Interviews with Lothar von Falkenhausen” was edited by Meng Fanzhi and published earlier this year by Shanxi Meishu Chubanshe in Taiwan. The event was sponsored by the Center for Chinese Studies at UCLA.

AMR SHAHAT podcast on “Archaeology and Today’s Diet” released by the Semel Healthy Campus Initiative Center

Amr Shahat, a graduate student in archaeology in the Cotsen Institute and visiting researcher at UC Berkeley, has contributed a podcast to the Semel Healthy Campus Initiative Center at UCLA for their series around new perspectives on health and well-being called UCLA LiveWell. In the podcast, “Past to Present: Archaeology and Today’s Diet,” Shahat discusses how scientific analysis of food remnants can tell stories of how ancient Egyptians lived. He explains how racism and gender inequality intersect with archaeology and how the study of what is left in the stomach of mummies can tell us how much fiber we should eat. Shahat previously wrote about his research in the 2019 issue of Backdirt, the annual review of the Cotsen Institute. Additional information on his research can be accessed through ResearchGate.

Getty publication quotes ELLEN PEARLSTEIN on underrepresented conservation students

Ellen Pearlstein, professor of information studies and core faculty member of the Cotsen Institute, was quoted by “The Iris, Behind the Scenes at the Getty” in an article about the Getty Foundation Post-Baccalaureate Internships which benefit underrepresented conservation students. One of the new interns is a member of the Mellon Directed Opportunity for Diversity in Conservation program of which Pearlstein is the principal investigator. Pearlstein teaches in the UCLA/Getty Program in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage and was a major contributor to the creation of the PhD program of the Interdepartmental Program in Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials, both part of the Cotsen Institute.

SONIA ZARRILLO co-authors chapter for Dumbarton Oaks publication

Sonia Zarrillo, postdoctoral scholar at the Cotsen Institute, is co-author with Michael Blake of a chapter titled “Tracing the Movement of Ancient Cacao in the Americas: New Approaches” for the upcoming book “Waves of Influence: Revisiting Coastal Connections between Pre-Columbia Northwest South America and Mesoamerica,” to be published by Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C. The chapter grew out of an invited presentation held in October, 2019 during the Dumbarton Oaks Pre-Columbian Symposium and the Joint American Anthropological Association/Canadian Anthropological Society Annual Meeting. These annual meetings provide a forum for the presentation of advanced research and the exchange of ideas on the art and archaeology of the ancient Americas. Zarrillo is the director of the Ancient Agriculture and Paleoethnobotany Laboratory at the Cotsen Institute.

WILLEKE WENDRICH presents a lecture at Harvard on ancient apprenticeship

On Wednesday, September 16, Willeke Wendrich, the director of the Cotsen Institute, presented a remote lecture for the Harvard Museums of Science and Culture Program. She discussed the transfer of cultural knowledge in ancient Egyptian society, the social history of learning in ancient Egypt, and what these can teach us in the present.