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Keynote Lecture - April 2, 2016

Dr. Scott Gallimore of Wilfrid Laurier University presented Significant or Insignificant? The Impact of Disasters in the Archaeological Record


Archaeological sites that suffered destruction by some type of disaster are among the most fascinating elements of history to study. Perhaps the most famous example of this phenomenon is Pompeii, an entire Roman city preserved beneath the ash of a massive volcanic eruption. For all of the analysis that is brought to bear for disaster sites, one question is often ignored, however. Were these events significant? This may seem odd to ask given that many of these sites suffered widespread destruction, but interpretation by archaeologists and historians has often bordered on sensationalism. Critiquing the impact of ancient disasters provides a means of refocusing the discussion. Instead of collapse, we can emphasize resilience. Instead of destruction, we can emphasize preservation. In this talk, we will explore the idea of significant versus insignificant by examining a number of sites affected by disaster across a wide geographical and chronological range.

Dr. Scott Gallimore received his PhD (2011) and MA (2006) in Classics with a specialization in Mediterranean Archaeology from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He also attended the University of Toronto where he completed an Honours BA in Classics and Archaeology in 2004. Prior to joining Laurier, he was the Crake Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Classics at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick. He also spent 2 years studying in Athens, Greece, at the American School of Classical Studies - first as the John Williams White Fellow and then as the Edward Capps Fellow.