117th AIA / SCS Joint Annual Meeting – Roundtable
San Francisco, January 6-9, 2016
The roundtable intends to promote a debate on the correct interaction among different typologies of documents – notably material records and textual evidence – in reconstructing the “biography” of objects (single artworks and monuments) and archaeological contexts.
Our current knowledge about Greek artists and monuments, indeed, is based mostly on later sources, but this chronological gap has not been considered in all its consequences yet. As in archaeology layers embody material processes in a chronological sequence, in ancient texts a number of filters – the author’s personality and interests, the period of composition, the literary genre – overlies the subject. All this information has often been neglected because of the tendency of quarrying literary sources without considering its contexts of transmission.
The discussion within this roundtable aims at bringing the attention to these issues and evaluating the impact of such methodological premises on the definition of the cornerstones of archaeology and ancient art history: chronologies, artistic canons, attribution of artworks, artists’s carriers.
The joint AIA and SCS Annual Meetings represent the most suitable occasion to discuss such themes. They offer the opportunity of bringing together archaeologists, art historians, historians and philologists, who can share from different perspectives their first-hand experiences in combining archaeological and literary sources. The aim of this roundtable is to build up an interdisciplinary network for future academic initiatives as well.