The first Canadian Institute lecture of 2014 will take place on Wednesday, February 5th at 7:30 p.m. in the Library. The speaker is the Institute’s 2013/14 Neda and Franz Leipen Fellow, C. Myles Chykerda (Costen Institute of Archaeology, University of California – Los Angeles). The title of the lecture, “Structuring Thessaly: Working Towards Finding Patterns in the Prehistoric Landscape”, reflects the subject that he will investigate in his doctoral dissertation.

To quote Myles, “Pre-Classical Thessaly has largely remained a historical enigma, a fact recently highlighted by Emma Aston who states that in an attempt to piece together a vivid narrative of an ambitious Archaic Thessaly, the historian engages in a futile search for an alluring, yet intangible, illusion created from semi-mythical accounts recorded by later ancient historians.”

“In light of such a basic lack of recorded details, is it possible to further comment on the nature of early Thessaly? Indeed, a thorough study of the region’s landscape and human settlement patterns may reveal early human structures that will allow us to consider basic questions concerning the period’s distinct cultural form. What social factors were at play? Was the environmental situation of Thessaly a leading cause in the formation of a social order unique in Greece? Did settlement patterns and associated social memory of early periods, such as the Late Bronze Age, affect developments of the Early Iron Age and Archaic periods? These are all questions potentially addressed by a study of the archaeological landscape.”

“Nested within the recent theoretical paradigm shift towards the ethnos as a unit of analysis, developed by authors such as Morgan, McInerney, Hall, and Graninger, this lecture aims to consider the means of addressing these questions and represents the theorizing which occurs at the beginning point of such a study. In proposing to investigate the early periods of Thessalian settlement, I shall investigate potential means of analyses, such as Geographical Information System methods, potential theoretical frameworks, comparative foils for a diachronic analysis, and suggest potential findings.”