Past Event

Bettman Lecture Series: Sheila Dillon, "The Portrait Statuary from the Library of Pantainos Complex in the Athenian Agora: Dealing with Legacy Material"

October 18, 2021
6:15 PM - 7:45 PM
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The Library of Pantainos complex in the Athenian Agora, the earliest dated library in the city of Athens, was first identified and partially excavated in 1939, but was not more fully explored until the 1970s. During that campaign, which uncovered most of the building complex, a wealth of Imperial-period portraiture was found, much of which has since remained unpublished. This paper presents the preliminary results of the study of this material, carried out beginning in 2017-2018. The archaeological contexts in which these portraits were found suggest that they likely belonged to the sculptural display of this building complex, which is unusual for the Agora, where much of the sculpture found in the excavations comes from post-Antique contexts. I reconstruct the sculptural display of the Library and its associated stoas based on the available evidence, while also taking into account the difficulties of dealing with legacy material, particularly from a complex whose architecture and building history have yet to be systematically studied and published.

Professor Dillon received her Ph.D. in Classical Art and Archaeology from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University in 1994. She is considered one of the leading figures in the study of Ancient Greek portraiture. Her books include Ancient Greek Portrait Sculpture: Contexts, Subjects, and Styles (2006), which was awarded the James R. Wiseman Book Award from the Archaeological Institute of America in 2008; Roman Portrait Statuary from Aphrodisias (2006); The Female Portrait Statue in the Greek World (2010); and an edited volume A Companion to Women in the Ancient World (2012). Professor Dillon has excavated in Aphrodisias (Turkey) at the Sanctuary of the Great Gods on the island of Samothrace (Greece), and is currently a member of the American team excavating at the ancient Agora of Athens. She will publish the portrait sculpture from the Excavations in the Athenian Agora and runs a digital mapping project of the history of the archaeological excavations in the Athenian Agora.