Public Lecture by leading Classical Archaeologist, Professor Jean-Paul Descoeudres from the University of Geneva
6pm on Wednesday 15 August 2007
The School of Humanities and Social Science are delighted to announce a public lecture which will be presented by one of the world's leading Classical Archaeologists, Professor Jean-Paul Descoeudres on Wednesday 15 August 2007. Professor Descoeudres, Professor of Classical Archaeology from the University of Geneva, is visiting the University of Newcastle on 15 and 16 August 2007 to meet with University of Newcastle PhD student Gina Caddies, whom he is co-supervising with Dr Elizabeth Baynham from the discipline of Classics. As part of the visit, Professor Descoeudres will be presenting an informative free public lecture on the 'Last Days of Pompeii' on Wednesday 15 August from 6pm in the Pacific Room at Noahs on the Beach.
The author of Pompeii Revisited: The Life and Death of a Roman Town (Sydney, NSW, Meditarch, 1994) and Initiator and Director of the first Australian Expedition to Pompeii in the late 1970s to mid-1980s, Professor Descoeudres is internationally renowned and highly respected for his research and fieldwork in the area of Pompeii in particular. His public lecture will provide the rare opportunity for students and staff of the University and local high schools, and the wider community with an interest in the ancient world, to hear from a world expert in the field.
Professor Descoeudres' public lecture will compare the traditional view of Pompeii's final hours with recent observations by both vulcanologists and archaeologists. According to the traditional view, which is largely based on Pliny's letters to Tacitus, the city was buried under a huge layer of ash and pumice stone, but this happened rather gently, without causing great damage - almost like a mountain village that slowly disappears under winter snow. Professor Descoeudres refers to this aspect as the "sleeping beauty model." However, recent vulcanological and archaeological discoveries, some of them made by Australians, suggest a rather different picture; one of a violent destruction that caused a large number of deaths, a final blow to a city which had already suffered heavy damage during the months and years preceding the eruption of 24-25 August AD79. The School of Humanities and Social Science invite you to join them for this unique event.
Professor Descoeudres holds an Honorary Professorship from the University of Sydney, where he held academic positions from 1973-1997. As well as being Director of excavations on numerous other Australian and Swiss expeditions to Pompeii and other areas of Southern Italy, Professor Descoeudres is also the Founder and Chief Editor of Mediterranean Archaeology: Australian and New Zealand Journal for the Archaeology of the Mediterranean World.