Collective Report on the First Travel Seminar, May 26-June 15, 2019
The travel seminar, Beyond the Northern Aegean, brings together graduate students and scholars from Bulgaria, Canada, France, Greece, Italy, Romania, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United States in the investigation of ancient Greek, Roman, and Thracian architecture in Thrace and the Black Sea littoral, regions that offer an excellent opportunity to examine the creative dissemination, appropriation, and adaptation of architectural ideas across a wide range of ethnic groups and geographic circumstances.
The team of scholars possesses an extraordinary and highly complementary range of expertise that has made each day as rich and varied as the landscape, monuments, and cultures we investigated. Key discussions centered around the emergence, dissemination, disjunction and confrontation of architectural forms (in function, form, and ornamentation), technologies of construction, use of materials, furnishings and interior painting, stratigraphically datable material, cultural contexts, and historical geography. We examined urban centers, sacred environments, monumental tombs, and funerary reliefs, and fortified manor houses. Although our emphasis has been on Hellenistic and early Imperial architecture, we were also keen to understand the early history of settlements and in their later transformation or abandonment in the Byzantine period. Not one tomb, temple, buchrania or bukefalia, Ionic capital, marble door, Thracian rider, or Thasian transport amphora from Hagios Athanasios to Sofia escaped the fond scrutiny of this group.
To create a collective record of our program, each member of the seminar has contributed a description of one day of our trip, focusing on the way in which the collective travel experience has helped sharpen our research focus and define trajectories of investigation.