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For more than three hundred years during the Late Bronze Age, from about 1500 BC to 1200 BC, the Mediterranean region played host to a complex international world in which Egyptians, Mycenaeans, Minoans, Hittites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Cypriots, and Canaanites all interacted, creating a cosmopolitan and globalized world-system such as has only rarely been seen before the current day. It may have been this very internationalism that contributed to the apocalyptic disaster that ended the Bronze Age. When the end came, as it did after centuries of cultural and technological evolution, the civilized and international world of the Mediterranean regions came to a dramatic halt in a vast area stretching from Greece and Italy in the west to Egypt, Canaan, and Mesopotamia in the east. Large empires and small kingdoms, that had taken centuries to evolve, collapsed rapidly. With their end came the world’s first recorded Dark Ages. It was not until centuries later that a new cultural renaissance emerged in Greece and the other affected areas, setting the stage for the evolution of Western society as we know it today. Blame for the end of the Late Bronze Age is usually laid squarely at the feet of the so-called Sea Peoples, known to us from the records of the Egyptian pharaohs Merneptah and Ramses III. However, as was the case with the fall of the Roman Empire, the end of the Bronze Age empires in this region was probably not the result of a single invasion, but rather of multiple causes. The Sea Peoples may well have been responsible for some of the destruction that occurred at the end of the Late Bronze Age, but it is much more likely that a concatenation of events, both human and natural — including earthquake storms, droughts, rebellions, and systems collapse — coalesced to create a “perfect storm” that brought the age to an end. In this illustrated lecture, based on his book of the same title (1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed; Princeton University Press, 2014) that was considered for a 2015 Pulitzer Prize, awarded the American School of Oriental Research’s 2014 prize for “Best Popular Book on Archaeology,” and is being translated into fourteen foreign languages, Professor Eric H. Cline of The George Washington University will explore why the Bronze Age came to an end and whether the collapse of those ancient civilizations might hold some warnings for our current society.

"1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed"

Dr. Eric H. Cline (Professor of Classics, Anthropology, and History at George Washington University)

Friday, November 22nd, 2019 at 7:15 pm in West Commons 220 on the SDSU campus

"An Archaeology of the Bronze Age Senses: Tastes, Smells and Colors of New Finds from East Cretan Excavations"

Dr. Thomas M. Brogan (Director of the Institute for Aegean Prehistory Study Center)

February 7th, 2020 at 7:15 pm in TBD on the SDSU campus

Brogan's lecture reviews recent excavations at Bronze Age sites in East Crete supported by the Institute for Aegean Prehistory Study Center for East Crete (INSTAP SCEC), paying particular attention to new evidence for craft production. The finished goods are not the pots, the metal tools, and stone vases typically associated with artisans at work in the Minoan palaces and houses on Crete. Instead, Greek and American excavations are using detailed recovery methods to record the food and drink of Bronze Age farmers and fishermen and the aromas and the colors of Minoan fashion. This lecture offers an exploration of the Minoan Senses—the tastes, the smells and the sights of Bronze Age Crete. It focuses less on artifact type, provenience, and date, and more on the everyday activities and the lifestyles of the occupants of LM I towns in east Crete. The lecture examines finds from three Late Minoan towns: Papadiokambos (dug from 2007 to 2012), Mochlos (2004-2005) and Chrissi (from 2008-2018). The site of Mochlos is well known, but the other towns are new, only discovered in the past decades. Finds at these sites include unusually rich remains for the production and consumption of food and beverages and much rarer evidence for the manufacture of aromatic oils and deep purple dyes.

"Secret Handshakes, or How to See the Unseeable: Apulian Vases and the Afterlife"

Dr. David Saunders (Associated Curator, Department of Antiquities, J. Paul Getty Museum)

April 23rd, 2020 at 7:15 pm in TBD on the SDSU campus **PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A THURSDAY EVENING LECTURE**

Abstract forthcoming, but in the meantime check out the blog posts written by Dr. Saunders on The IRIS: Behind the Scenes at the Getty.

Society News

Sponsored Student Memberships!

  • At our March and April 2019 meetings, 3 sponsored student memberships were raffled! These students receive a year long membership to the Archaeological Institute of America, including Archaeology magazine and many other perks of membership.
  • At our next meeting, 3 more lucky students will win a sponsored membership to the AIA, courtesy of the donors now listed in the Society Hall of Fame!
  • In order to enter the raffle, students should fill out a raffle slip at the meeting. Previous entries are included in the next drawing! The winner of the drawing must be present to claim their prize!

Other Events of Interest

Hellenic Cultural Society of San Diego

More information on the HCS and its events can be found here.

Center for Hellenic Studies at UCSD Lectures

For more information, visit the CHS Website.

October Lectures on Ancient Egypt that complement a current exhibition, "Journey to the Beyond: Ancient Egyptians in Pursuit of Eternity"

Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art , California State University, San Bernadino, CA

  • Thursday, October 10th, 6-8 pm: Digital Giza: Visualizing Archaeological Archives in Context with Nicholas Picardo, Associate Director of the Giaza Project (Harvard)
  • Thursday, October 17th, 6-8 pm: Revelation of the Mysteries of Osiris, Lord of Abydos, the secret rituals of reviving a murdered body, by Bryn Kraemer (CSASB)
  • Thursday, October 24th, 6-8 pm: A Hero among Cowards: Rameses II and the Battle of Kadesh by Tara Prakash (CSUSB and College of Charleston)

Friends of Ancient History (Southern California) Annual Meeting

Saturday, October 26th at Pomona College. More information can be found here.

Location: Smith Campus Center 201 / 208 at Pomona College


9:30-10 am: Coffee and breakfast

10 - 10:15: Welcome and introductions

10:15 am: Walter Penrose, "Gender Diversity in Classical Greek Thought," San Diego State University

11:00 am: Respondent: Amy Richlin, UCLA, discussion

12 - 12:45 pm: lunch

12:45 pm: Mik Larsen, "Pennies for the Dead," Cal State Long Beach

1:30 pm: Respondent: Steve Chrissanthos, UC Riverside, discussion

Registration for the Fall meeting is $25 for faculty, and $10 for sponsored students

Lecture Schedule

Orange County Society, AIA

More information can be found at their website:

Annual Meeting of the California Classics Association South

Saturday, November 2nd, starting at 9 am at UC-Irvine. More information can be found here.

The Annual Meeting of ASOR (American Schools of Oriental Research) will be in San Diego November 20th-23rd, 2019. The Call For Papers is currently out and the conference will include many sessions on archaeology. More information can be found here.

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San Diego Society Chartered in 1961

A separate entity affiliated with the Archaeological Institute of America