University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Eleventh Annual Kolb Junior Fellows Spring Colloquium

2:00 Professor C. Brian Rose, Kolb Society of Fellows Faculty Coordinator

Welcome and Introduction

2:10 Mandy Chan (EALC)

Reassessing the Socio-cultural Landscapes of Early Bronze Age China: a Case Study from the Middle Yangzi River Region

Middle Yangzi River Region
Middle Yangzi River Region

Bronze Artifact

Sophisticated bronze casting techniques are one of the defining features of Bronze Age China. It is believed that centralized control of metal sources is required for the manufacture of bronzes. The quantity and quality of the bronze artifacts unearthed at the many Bronze Age settlements, such as the well-known site of Yinxu, testify to the scale of organization involved in the production process. Recent archaeological discoveries from the central Yangzi region yield new evidence for bronze production dating to the Erligang period—the pre-Yinxu phase that is often identified as "Early Shang." This presentation discusses what inferences can be made about this new evidence and how it has provided archaeologists with valuable insight and new contexts through which to understand the nature of Early Bronze Age societies of China.

2:45 Daira Nocera (AAMW)

Domitian in the Imperial Fora: A New Look at the So-called Domitianic Terrace

Domitianic Terrace

The second largest building intervention in Rome after Augustus', Domitian's construction program contributed substantially to change the city's topography and the way it was experienced. Almost every corner of the city was touched by a restoration, modification or new construction undertaken by Domitian. This paper looks at the centrally located region of the Imperial Fora, where Domitian's presence can be identified almost everywhere. The forum Domitian built between the Forum of Augustus and the Templum Pacis is representative of his vision for Rome's architecture and topography, yet he never saw the completion of this project. The only remaining testament to the forum as he originally envisioned it are some stretches of foundation in the area now occupied by the Forum of Trajan and the monumental fountain known as the Domitianic Terrace. This paper presents a detailed analysis of the Domitianic Terrace, the impressive remains of which still tower over the square of the Forum of Trajan. The scholarship about the fountain has failed to correctly interpret the remains. A different approach to its architecture and its relation with the topographical context is presented here.

3:20 Break
3:35 Stephanie Hagan (Art History)

Time After Time: Past, Present, Future, and Eternity in the Basilica of Junius Bassus

Hagan Colloquium
Bassus panel

The so-called Basilica of Junius Bassus on the Esquiline Hill in Rome (331 C.E.) is best known for its splendid opus sectile (marble inlay) decoration. The hall’s surviving panels depict animal combats, the rape of Hylas, and Bassus himself in a processus consularis on his inauguration day, with Egyptianizing tapestries below. My dissertation situates the hall in its wider Esquiline landscape, and in doing so, aims to explain how the city’s elites used art and manipulated topography to configure a significant social hub away from the monumental city center.

This paper treats the basilica’s decorative program with particular attention to the decoration’s formulation of time and its passage. With historical depictions juxtaposed against mythical subject matter, the hall used iconographic and stylistic variatio to conjure up and coalesce present with past and future. Of particular importance is the depiction of the games and ceremonies that would have taken place as part of the consul’s inauguration at the new year. The hall’s imagery of new beginnings and prosperity served to suggest renewal and regeneration, elevating the patron and placing him in dialogue with the ancient line of Rome’s magistrates.

4:10 Thomas Hardy (Anthropology)

Imperialism and Long-term Cultural Change in Cuzco, Peru: New Directions in Understanding the Emergence of the Inca Empire


The emergence of states and empires has been a long-standing question of interest to anthropological archaeology, and has frequently been approached through regional-scale survey projects focused on the time periods immediately preceding full-fledged sociopolitical complexity. Although these types of projects can be immensely informative, they sacrifice a high level of detail for a larger scale, inherently privileging the distribution of material culture and settlements over a finer-grained analysis of changing social and cultural practices that excavations can provide. Research into the emergence of the Inca state in the Cuzco region of south-central Peru is no exception, as a series of regional settlement survey projects have demonstrated that the formation of the Inca state around C.E. 1400 occurred as a long process of political integration during the Late Intermediate Period (C.E. 1000–1400).

However, less critical attention has been paid to the role of sociopolitical conditions in state formation which are external to heartland region, both spatially and temporally – particularly the role of earlier imperialism. The Cuzco region was colonized by the Wari state roughly 800 years prior to the rise of the Inca Empire, which lasted until C.E. 1000 when the Wari state collapsed. Scholars have generally viewed the impact of Wari imperialism on Inca state formation superficially: either as having little or no impact (i.e., state formation was essentially autochthonous), or as a result of the direct inheritance of Wari state practices and institutions. Little effort has been made to investigate the specific practices which may have been preserved after Wari state collapse, or the manner in which they may have been passed down and integrated into the corpus of Inca imperial state practices.

This paper will present data from excavations at the site of Minaspata in 2013, located in the Lucre Basin at the eastern end of the Cuzco Valley. Minaspata has a long history of occupation, dating from the Late Formative Period to the end of the Inca Empire, but was conquered as the final component of the Inca heartland immediately prior to the early imperial excursions by the Inca. The Lucre Basin is also a major center of Wari colonization, thus serving as a locus of imperial subjugation in two distinct eras. I will discuss the long-term culture history at Minaspata and the implications for development in the larger Cuzco region, particularly the transformation of Minaspata and the surrounding Lucre Basin as well as changes in local material culture. I will then close by focusing on the evidence suggested by one example of material culture—ceramics—as a potential vector for the transmission and transformation of state practices.

4:45 Professor C. Brian Rose, Kolb Society of Fellows Faculty Coordinator

Introduction of Newly Elected Kolb Junior Fellows