an International Symposium on the Oplontis Project and Exhibit
September 30 | 8:45am-4:00pm | MSU SUB Ballrooms | Free and open to the public
To the ancient Romans, “genius loci” was the protective spirit who had the care of
a particular place. Under the influence of modern poets, landscape designers, and
architects, the idea of a genius loci expanded to include those distinctive environmental
qualities of a place that must be recognized and reconciled to any man-made design
placed within it.
This symposium is intended to embrace both the ancient meaning and the modern one concerning the “spirit of place” of two archaeological sites at the ancient Roman seaside town of Oplontis. The presenting scholars are part of a decade-long international collaborative study to preserve and publish the material record of this extraordinary joint site, and so keeping it alive for future generations of scholars. In doing so, their inter-disciplinary, contextual studies illuminate how the physical setting influenced the culture and economics of this playground for Rome’s rich and famous on the Bay of Naples.
Schedule of speakers with lecture topics:
8:45am: “Leisure and Luxury in the Age of Nero: Presenting New Research Horizons for the Villas of Oplontis near Pompeii.”
John R. Clarke (Annie Laurie Howard Regents Professor in Fine Arts, University of Texas at Austin, and Co-director of the Oplontis Project)
10:00am: "Leisure and Luxury in the Age of Nero: The Making of an Exhibition."
Elaine Gazda (Professor of Classical Art and Archaeology and Curator of the Hellenistic and Roman Collections, Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, University of Michigan)
11:00am: “Bricks to Bits and Back Again: the modern incarnations of an ancient Roman villa”
Timothy Liddell (Architect, Liddell Projects LLC, and graduate student in Product Design for Innovation, Politecnico di Milano)
1:10pm: “A.D. 79: Pompeii, Oplontis, Positano: In Search of Lost Landscapes.”
Giovanni Di Maio (Geoarchaeologist for the Archaeological Superintendency of Pompeii
2:10pm: "Reaching Before the Eruption: New Excavations at Oplontis"
Ivo van der Graaff (Assistant Professor of Art History, University of New Hampshire, and Field Director of the Oplontis Project)
3:10pm: “A Tale of Two “Villas”: Luxury, Wine, and Water and the Last Years of Oplontis”
Michael Thomas (Director, Center for the Study of Ancient Italy, University of Texas at Austin
Co-Director of the Oplontis Project)